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Mars a Treat in Retreat

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#1 frank5817

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 01:21 AM

I just could not get enough of Mars this time around (2009-2010) and observing it in April has been a real frustration.
I spent an hour on this sketch and decided it was time to try a color sketch outside at the eyepiece instead of my usual graphite pencil sketch. I used the shavings from yellow, orange and brown Crayola color pencils blended together and loaded on to a blending stump, then applied after having all the first batch of blended shavings blow away in the wind. Now I know a new use for a blending stump (A little Aha moment in the wind). In addition to frequent telescope vibration, I had to wait for moments of good seeing which only lasted for a second or two but they did appear. For albedo features I used graphite and blue Crayola pencils. When I finished the sketch I put it on a black background using Microsoft Paint.
It is just a lot of fun to sketch this planet but it seems much smaller than even 2 weeks ago.
I could see a much reduced North Polar cap and the large stretch of Amazonis south to Mare Sirenum. Trying to resolve any features was extremely challenging. The Martian disc was 8.3" of arc and centered on the central meridian from 112° - 128°. 90% of the planet’s facing side was illuminated at a visual magnitude of +0.4. Mars is now 1.13 astronomical units from earth and although shrinking is still an exciting target at high enough power (greater than 300x).

Sketching:

Crayola color pencil and graphite sketch.
White sketching paper 8" x 11"; HB graphite pencil, blue Crayola color pencil, blending stumps for blending orange, brown and yellow Crayola pencil shavings.
Date 4/14/2010 – Time 1:40-2:45 UT
Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 4mm eyepiece 362 x, 6mm eyepiece 241x
Temperature: 16°C (60°F)
partly to mostly cloudy, gusty winds
Transparency 2/5
Seeing: 1/5 to 3/5

Frank McCabe :)

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#2 CarlosEH

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 02:27 AM

Frank,

An excellent observation of a shrinking Mars. You were able to detect a good amount of albedo features for the apparent diameter. I have labeled the major albedo features visible. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

Carlos

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#3 Uwe Pilz

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:12 AM

Dear Frank,

nice to see a Mars sketch again. I am waiting for clear sky to see the shrinked polar cap for myself.

#4 Jef De Wit

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 04:21 AM

Frank

Nice sketch and story ("the shaving is blowing in the wind"). I looked at Mars some days ago and couldn't see any detail with my 12".
What light did you use at the telescope? I know that colours and red light doesn't work together.

#5 frank5817

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 10:00 AM

Carlos, Uwe and Jef,

Thank you all for the nice words and Carlos a special thanks for the labels.
Jef, with Mars in my western sky I used my bright outdoor porch light. It was fine because I needed no dark adaption. When I sketch the moon I also use much light.

Frank :)

#6 niteskystargazer

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 11:05 AM

Frank,

:waytogo:, Very nice sketch :).

:thanx:,

Tom

#7 gustymars

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 11:55 AM

Carlos, Uwe and Jef,

Thank you all for the nice words and Carlos a special thanks for the labels.
Jef, with Mars in my western sky I used my bright outdoor porch light. It was fine because I needed no dark adaption. When I sketch the moon I also use much light.

Frank :)


Its the red shift that makes me not observe when Mars in my west :roflmao:

#8 Kris.

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 12:24 PM

i enjoyed your report & sketch Frank :waytogo:

i didn't have a lot of time lately, and surely last week had no less than 3 clear nights in one week! :mad: which may not mean a lot to some of you, but that's pretty rare here lately :grin: too bad i couldn't take advantage of the opportunity. perhaps i'll get a shot this evening.

i (still ;)) look forward to your next sketches!

#9 Tommy5

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 07:06 PM

Very nice last skech of mars, it is getting awefully small, this oppositon season was much better then i thought it would be, thanks for posting and giving mars another shot.

#10 frank5817

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 07:40 PM

Tom, Jeff, Kris and T5,

Thanks gentlemen.
I just want one more chance.
----
Jeff, I did want to say when I think of Mars sketching your name is one that has always come to mind. I did enjoy your exchange over in the other forum with Rich Woods post "Argh! Mars in the Lowell Refractor"
---
Kris, I hope you get some free time soon.
---

T5, We could have used a few more clear nights during winter. Hope to see you and Tom M on the 23rd.

Frank :)

#11 dweller25

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 06:12 AM

Frank, Mars is getting tough now so that's a great drawing. At the moment I find it better to observe Mars at twilight, it helps with the detail a little.

#12 gustymars

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 06:27 AM

Tom, Jeff, Kris and T5,

Thanks gentlemen.
I just want one more chance.
----
Jeff, I did want to say when I think of Mars sketching your name is one that has always come to mind. I did enjoy your exchange over in the other forum with Rich Woods post "Argh! Mars in the Lowell Refractor"
---
Kris, I hope you get some free time soon.
---

T5, We could have used a few more clear nights during winter. Hope to see you and Tom M on the 23rd.

Frank :)


Than is what these discussion groups are about -- exchanges. Keep watching and drawing Barsoom.

#13 markseibold

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 10:24 AM

Frank

Your tenacity and dedication has surely paid off :bow: :bow: :bow:

Amazing that you are still able to observe these details with Mars shrinking now. You have a great set of eyes and artistic abilities. Even with the frustration of wind, you persevered well.

Thanks for posting and inspiring us again with a great report. Also thanks to Carlos for the great albedo indexed labeling.

Mark

#14 frank5817

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 12:00 PM

Dweller and Mark,

Thank you both for your kind words. :thanx:
It was clear here last night and I observed Mars,Saturn and some galaxies but the seeing was below average so no sketching for me.

Frank :)

#15 frank5817

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 12:12 AM

Although the transparency was a little better than average on this mild but somewhat breezy evening, I was anticipating poor seeing. As a result I decided to do something I wanted to try over the past 3 months namely use a smaller scope and see what I could see on Mars.
I have two small table top Dobs. a 2.5 inch and 4.25 inch. With Mars moving away and growing smaller quickly, I used the larger of the two with a 4mm ortho eyepiece at 148x. I was not expecting to see much but then I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to quickly locate the tiny bright North Polar cap set off by Mare Boreum. Mare Acidalium, Chryse, and Mare Erythraeum were all visible when I stayed with the eyepiece. A large bright region (clouds/haze?) was seen on the preceding limb.
I found Mars about 30 minutes before sunset using a single polarizing filter oriented to darken the blue sky coupled to a low power 28mm (21x) eyepiece. Sweeping the altitude and azimuth region of the sky where Mars was located it was easily found. I began sketch after a half hour of looking carefully at the planet. Before putting everything away I took a look at M 44 just to the south of Mars. That pairing is very pleasing and I thought of the fine sketch of that pair made by Michael Rosolina (Special Ed) back in early November of 2009 titled, I believe, “Mars and the Beehive”.

Sketching:

Crayola color pencil and graphite sketch.
White sketching paper 8" x 11"; HB graphite pencil, blue Crayola color pencil, blending stumps for blending orange and yellow Crayola pencil shavings.
Date 4/17/2010 – Time 1:30-1:55 UT
Telescope: 4.25 inch f/5.5 Dobsonian and 4mm eyepiece 148 x
Temperature: 15°C (58°F)
clear, windy
Transparency 3/5
Seeing: 1/5 to 3/5

Frank McCabe :)

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#16 CarlosEH

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 12:49 AM

Frank,

A very impressive observation of Mars at any aperture, especially at 4.25 inches. You have recorded a good amount of albedo features that I have noted. Thank you for this and all other Mars observations during the apparition.

Carlos

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#17 Jef De Wit

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:47 AM

Frank
Very nice sketch of Mars. I find it allways frustrating that other observers see more in Mars with a smaller scope than mine :crazy:

#18 frank5817

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 09:54 AM

Carlos and Jef,

Thank you both.

---
Carlos- Thanks for the labels
---
Jef,
With the very erratic seeing a larger aperture scope would have been frustating to use. I sketched my albedo features a little darker than they were visually but the filter helped greatly with the contrast.

Frank :)






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