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Mars Observation (October 14, 2009)

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#1 CarlosEH

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 04:13 PM

I was able to observe Mars once again on October 14, 2009 using my 9-inch (23-cm) F/13.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain. The red planet displayed a good amount of detail for the relatively small apparent diameter (7.1 arc-seconds). The North Polar Cap (NPC) was prominent. Several albedo features were noted as indicated in the figure with labels.

Date (U.T.): October 14, 2009
Time (U.T.): 08:15
CM: 73.3*
Ls 353.7*, De =14*, Ds -2.6*, phase 88%
Diameter: 7.1 arc-seconds
Instrument: 9-inch (23-cm) F/13.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain
Magnification: 348x
Filters (Wratten): 23, 30, 80A
Seeing (1-10): 7, Antoniadi (I-V): II

Notes:
08:15 U.T. (Wratten 23A and 30): A curvilinear wedge of albedo features was noted over the southern half of the disk towards the south polar limb. Mare Erythraeum was the most prominent albedo feature (3/10) towards the southern limb with Margaritifer Sinus (4/10) at it's north-preceding border and Aurorae Sinus (4/10) over the north-following border. Solis Lacus was visible as a dark (3/10), elongated albedo feature towards the south-following limb. Mare Acidalium was visible as a dark (3/10) wedge towards the north-preceding limb with Nilacus Lacus 4-5/10) over it's southern portion. Mare Boreum was visible as a dark to dusky collar towards the northern limn. The North Polar Cap (NPC) was brilliant (10/10) over the northern limb. An Evening Limb Haze (ELH) was visible over the preceding limb, a Morning Limb Haze (MLH) over the following limb, and a Southern Limb Haze (SLH).

The best of luck in your own observations of Mars.

Carlos

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#2 CarlosEH

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 04:14 PM

08:15 U.T. (Wratten 80A): An Evening Limb Haze (ELH) was visible over the preceding limb, a Morning Limb Haze (MLH) over the following limb, and a Southern Limb Haze (SLH). Light cloud activity was noted over the northern half of Chryse/Xanthe as well as Tempe.

Carlos

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#3 CarlosEH

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 04:15 PM

Albedo features are noted over the Martian disk. Have fun observing Mars!

Carlos

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#4 CarlosEH

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 04:22 PM

I made my Mars observations using a new photo-editing software for the Macintosh computer, Pixelmator. This is an impressive program that is a fraction of the cost of Photoshop (always the industry leader). This is an excellent low-cost alternative for someone who needs a photo-editing program for the Mac.

http://www.pixelmator.com/

Carlos

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#5 JayKSC

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 04:55 PM

This is a great illustration, Carlos - I'm impressed with the amount of detail you've been able to identify and draw. Then, observing Mars at 348x stuns me, too! I'm used to thinking of "high power" as somewhere near 200x with the refractors I'm used to using.

- Jay
South Florida

#6 Sol Robbins

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 05:59 PM

Great observations Carlos. Especially the bright albedo features like Tharsis, Arcadia/Amazonis.

Seems like the program lends itself to portaying these subtleties rather well.

Thanks,

#7 CarlosEH

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 08:48 PM

Jay and Sol,

Thank you for the compliments on my Mars observations. I was impressed with the amount of detail visible over Mars at the current apparent diameter (7.1"). I enjoyed a steady atmosphere (7/10) and was able to see the recorded albedo features easily (especially using the Magenta (W30) filter). The cloud features were easier to detect using the Wratten 80A (light blue) filter. I actually looked at Mars at a magnification of over 600x (~70x aperture) and was able to see the albedo features recorded but the planet was steadier at the lower magnification. Mars can handle a higher magnification than the other planets (higher surface brightness, but I would still try to keep the magnification below 40x the aperture of your instrument.

The new program, Pixelmator, is an excellent one that appears to provide the majority of functions of Photoshop (obviously not all) which should provide anyone with more than they need for most processing. At this time it is only for the Macintosh but Windows has many capable programs available (e.g. Gimp, Paint Shop Pro, etc.).

Carlos

#8 Tommy5

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 09:07 PM

Excellant Mars observation and sketches, you haved captured quite a bit of detail for such a small orb, mars benifits from colored filters more than any other planet and i always use them to tease out the last bit of detail. Thanks for posting.

#9 JayinUT

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 09:38 PM

Carlos,

Terrific observation and sketches of Mars! So much detail there. Now that I've seen Pixelmator and its results I am going to order this.

#10 cildarith

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 10:34 PM

Nicely done, Carlos! :)

#11 asteroid7

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 08:35 AM

beautiful sketches

#12 Jef De Wit

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 12:02 PM

Carlos
Your nice sketches make me want to observe Mars myself. I've never observed the planet with my 12" dobson. But I think it will not be for today. For the moment it's raining in Belgium :bawling:

#13 Jeremy Perez

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 12:33 PM

Wonderful sketches and details, Carlos! I really like the fine application of brush strokes and coloration you were able to apply with Pixelmator. I don't recall hearing about that app before. I'm really looking forward to digging into Mars this apparition, and this is very inspiring.

#14 jayscheuerle

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 01:00 PM

Wow, Carlos, I didn't think it would be possible to see that much detail on Mars! Very nicely done. :D - j

#15 ladip63

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 04:04 PM

Great sketches of Mars Carlos. Only one thing you left out Spirit and Opportunity. LOL;)

#16 markseibold

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 04:54 AM

Carlos

Beautiful Sketchwork as always :bow: :bow: :bow:
And your documentation is always professional and for others to learn from. You have inspired me to look at Mars again but in an old 10.1 Dobsonian, I can only strain my eyes to imagine what your fine Maksutov Cassegrain instrument can do. The details you are rendering with Mars at only 7 arc seconds are amazing. I think I need to relocate to Florida! Portland's wet and cloudy winters won't do it.

I look forward to seeing your next sketches,

Thanks for sharing these,

Mark

#17 CarlosEH

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 12:35 PM

Thank you all for your kind compliments on my Mars observations. Mars is not an easy object to observe but patience and a steady atmosphere allow the observer to detect faint detail. It will be easier to detect detail over Mars as the planet increases in apparent diameter.

Pixelmator appears to be a solid photo-editing program. I recommend this program to anyone that needs such a program.

The best of luck in your own observations of Mars.

Carlos

#18 frank5817

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 02:35 PM

Carlos,

These are fantasic Mars sketches, as good as sketching gets in fact. :bow: :cool: :rainbow: :bow:

Frank :)

#19 CarlosEH

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 03:58 PM

Frank,

Thank you for the compliment on my Mars observations. I always enjoy observing the red planet. It does present a challenge at a small apparent diameter, but if one is patient and the atmosphere cooperates you can detect a good amount of detail. The best of luck in your own observations.

Carlos






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