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Light Cup saw Equatorial Cap?



Light Cup saw Equatorial Cap?
11/17/03

Wow, it's been almost a month since I saw my favorite planet last L and it's getting
very small now. The SPC seems brighter than last month, still white. But what is
this? There appears to be a new "equatorial cap" just south of the equator at the
Preceding Rim, white and brighter and much larger than the SPC. There was some
dark markings which I'm so ashamed to admit that I couldn't even identify L. I
later looked up Mars Previewer II program and what do you know? It's Hellas -
and this is the first time the Light Cup has shown it to me as white during this apparition!
Must be a huge frost swirling inside this large basis. Just north of the equation, a whitish
gray arc run all the way north to the NPH regison. The color is now yellowish orange.

Here's the sketch I made at 176x. I'm now using a 21mm circle (instead of the ALPO
42mm) because the size is so small now that it's hard for me to sketch accurately.

Date: 11/17/03 Sketch Time (UT): 05:13 - 05:30
Central Meridian: 18º - 22º Filters: #80A, #21, M&S, no filter
Instrument: 10.2cm f/8.6 TV-102 APO Observation Time (UT): ditto
Magnification: 176x (5mm Radian) Seeing - Antoniadi (I-V): III (IV @times)
Apparent Size: 12.6" Magnitude: -0.8

Both the SPC and Hellas looked very bright under the #80A blue and the Baader
Moon & Skyglow filter. These two features just popped out at me tonight that
got me to sketch them.

Ron B[ee]




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