Thomas pointed out important points about planetary observing. You want good seeing above all else. I have had really good sessions in twilight, heavy light pollution and through a thin layer of high clouds. I have had terrible sessions on clear, dark nights. Dark sky site - don’t need it. As Thomas pointed out it may even be worse. For the big outer planets opposition is not that important. There isn’t that much difference in distance to the big outer planets based on orbital positions. The planet being high in the sky is good. So watch forecasts of sky conditions. The Astrospheric app and Meteoblue are good. Is the jet stream above your location? If so, you are not going to have good conditions for planetary observing. Observe your sky. Are the stars steady or twinkling? Steady is good, twinkling not. Set up over grass, not pavement. Try not to observe across rooftops or pavement. Both collect heat during the day and radiate it back out during the night. That creates turbulence in the air above them. Mars is one of the tougher planets to observe. It’s orbit is close enough to earth’s that orbital positions make a huge difference in the distance between the planets. Opposition is good, but you want to be observing for several months around opposition. Why? Earth’s weather doesn’t necessarily cooperate. And Mars goes through changes as it approaches and recedes from opposition. It’s fascinating to follow those changes. And there is always the possibility of a planet wide dust storm that can obscure the whole planet. The next opposition in 2022 will not be as close as the last. But Mars will be higher in the sky for northern hemisphere observers. Everything’s a compromise. Some of the “best” oppositions may be obscured by dust storms. Your weather can go sour. You have to make the best of every opportunity. A friend of mine is a very good planetary photographer. He has been getting up early to shoot Jupiter in particular. He doesn’t wait for everything to be perfect. He just works with what opportunities are presented. He has been amazing me with some of his photos that were taken in not very good conditions. How did he get so good? He practiced a lot in not so good conditions so he was ready for those rare times everything comes together. Same goes for visual observing. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. You have to practice observing and build your skills. Wait for everything to be perfect and then observe? No, you will miss a lot. A lot of the features of planets, especially Mars, are very subtle. I observed it for months around the last opposition. I definitely was seeing more subtle features the more I observed. So get out there and observe. Don’t wait for the best time. It may not happen.
Yeah I'm not explaining things correctly. I'm not worried about everything being perfect. I'm using someone else's example of, when Mars was perfect, and asking how they knew that. They must have gotten that information somewhere.
Lets take Jupiter for example: 3 months ago Jupiter rose at 3:58Am where I am. Now 3 months later Jupiter now rises at 12:15Am. At some point its going to rise before sunset. Making it difficult or impossible to see until a certain point. If you go as far as April of 2022 Jupiter then rises at 4:56am near sunrise. How does one predict when it's going rise near sunset again after that? When Jupiter rises just before sunrise, someone like me is not going to get a lot of opportunity to view it before it becomes not visible. So for me it would be nice to have a resource that lets you know when I can get the next opportunity for viewing at better times.
Now apply that same logic to all of the planets.
For me Jupiter rising at 12:15 is much more beneficial to me, because its not an ungodly hour. Sometimes I have to work at 5:45am and sometimes 7, other times 11. Knowing when Jupiter rises again at 12:15 after April of 2022 would be valuable to me. Someone must know.
Mars is going to be really good in Dec 2022, but that is when it is at its peak, but I'm sure months before that it's still going to be good viewing. But until it starts being visible before sunset or before sunrise, clear skies are not even going to factor into the equation, because it would be a waste of time to even try before it is visible. Knowing when Mars is going to be high enough to see again, for more time than it is now, would be useful.
So in Dec 8 2022, mars is going to be visible for roughly 9 hours, right now it is visible for roughly 1. Eventually its going to get better than 1 hour and lead up to that 9 hours of viewing. When does that start occurring? Where do you find out when that is? When will Mars become visible for 2 hours, 3, 4 etc.?