Zodiacal Motion: Outer Planets

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  1. List the three outer planets visible to the naked-eye.

  2. What is the direction, roughly eastward or westward, for direct and retrograde motions?
    1. Direct motion is roughly ______________ against the background of fixed stars.
    2. Retrograde motion is roughly ______________ against the background of fixed stars.
    3. Outer planets spend most of their time in which motion, direct or retrograde?
  3. Define opposition.
  4. Are the outer planets ever visible at midnight?
  5. When an outer planet is in the middle of retrograde motion, is it closer to conjunction or to opposition?
  6. When does an outer planet appear at its brightest?
  7. In which direction (east or west) does Mars move...
    1. Prior to its first stationary point?
    2. At opposition?
    3. After its second stationary point?
  8. Record the length of the synodic cycle of Mars, from one opposition to the next:
    _________ days
  9. Rank the following from shortest to longest:
    ___ Tropical (seasonal) period of the sun
    ___ Sidereal period of Mars
    ___ Sidereal period of Jupiter
    ___ Sidereal period of Saturn

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