Jump to content


Photo

Anyone else observing Mars?

  • Please log in to reply
41 replies to this topic

#1 Ed D

Ed D

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3121
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2010
  • Loc: Sunny South Florida

Posted 30 October 2013 - 02:26 PM

I know Mars is still far away and appears small, and is up in the early pre-dawn hours to boot. Probably not many observers want to bother with it right now. However, I wake up early anyway and what better way to have my morning coffee than observing planets. The rainy season makes it difficult to observe in the evenings, but the morning conditions have been nothing short of stunning down here.

Anyway, I have been observing Mars since it was just visible over the roofs and trees in my line of sight. I thought it pretty neat to see it morph from a tiny star-like object to what is now an unmistakeable planetary disk. When it was star-like I observed diffraction rings, which seemed to slowly vanish as Mars approached 4.5" apparent diameter. I also thought it neat to observe the color and intensity as it subtly changes as the planet gets nearer.

Of course, I'm keeping notes and a few sketches of my observations. I'm looking forward to the mornings I start to observe definitive features on the planet.

So, is anyone else out there doing anything similar?

Ed D

#2 Astrojensen

Astrojensen

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5465
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Bornholm, Denmark

Posted 30 October 2013 - 02:50 PM

I occasionally hear about seeing diffraction rings around planets, but I've never seen them. Two years ago, I observed Mars long before opposition and I was able to see markings on the surface even at just 5" diameter, with my 6" f/8 achromat, stopped down to 125mm f/9.6, which took me completely by surprise.

Must give it another go, if I can get the opportunity.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#3 Asbytec

Asbytec

    Guy in a furry hat

  • *****
  • Posts: 8435
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2007
  • Loc: La Union, PI

Posted 30 October 2013 - 08:41 PM

Yea, Ed, Mars is still too low and too early for me. And it's still rainy season here, too, so I grab any clear night that presents itself and usually cannot stay out till dawn.

As for diffraction rings, I believe if the object is about the size of the Airy disc you can see them but they are on the verge of dissipating. I see them on Jovian moons when the seeing is good, more washed out on Ganymede which is about the size of a 6" Airy disc.

#4 buddyjesus

buddyjesus

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2236
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2010
  • Loc: Davison, Michigan

Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:48 PM

I find it to be at a very observable elevation at about 6am round these parts. I normally am up til 4am even when not doing astronomy, but I check about that time to see if it is clear out. I have only gotten a couple views so far this season though. It has been too cloudy.

#5 mak17

mak17

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 782
  • Joined: 08 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Central Florida

Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:46 PM

I took a peak at Mars a few nights ago. It was very low but the polar cap was clearly seen.

#6 Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 124
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Virginia, USA

Posted 30 October 2013 - 11:46 PM

I caught Mars on the 26th in my 8-inch Dob. At 192x unfiltered, the north polar cap could seen with concentration, along with possibly an adjoining sea on the western limb (could have been Utopia Planitia).

-Nick Anderson

#7 Ed D

Ed D

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3121
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2010
  • Loc: Sunny South Florida

Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:01 AM

Yesterday morning while observing Mars a brownish feature appeared faintly several times below the NPC, very likely Utopia. I have also been observing the NPC for the last few weeks, at first coming in and out of view, but now pretty much a steadily observable feature.

I'm hoping that with the change to standard time this weekend the sky will remain dark enough so I can continue observing Mars while having my morning coffee.

Ed D

#8 aatt

aatt

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 553
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2012
  • Loc: CT

Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:59 AM

I was up until almost 4 last night winding up the session on Jupiter, but I could not even see Mars through the trees.Incidentally, speaking of transient observations, I think I saw a cloud feature on Uranus (around x287) coming in and out of view. Can't say if it was my brain or reality as it was so threshold and seeing was iffy. Oberon was right there intermittently, but definitively.

#9 mark8888

mark8888

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1818
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2010

Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:18 AM

I observed Mars 3-4 weeks ago. It was small and very jumbled-up looking, showing no detail, but clearly a planet and not a star. Thoroughly looking forward to more and more Mars.

#10 Chopin

Chopin

    Canis Insanus

  • *****
  • Posts: 4586
  • Joined: 03 Feb 2005
  • Loc: In the doghouse.

Posted 31 October 2013 - 04:10 PM

Gave Mars a go two weeks ago. The seeing here in CT is so horrific all I could make out was a blurry two-toned copper dot. I'm hoping the seasonal change of fronts this November isn't drawn out.

#11 starcrafter

starcrafter

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 141
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Scranton, PA

Posted 14 November 2013 - 08:37 PM

I've never had any real luck observing Mars. I have an 8' dob, and everytime I've looked at Mars it's just a small red dot with no definition whatsoever. Granted, on the times I've observed, Mars was relatively low in the horizon, so that may well have something to do with it.

#12 azure1961p

azure1961p

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10470
  • Joined: 17 Jan 2009
  • Loc: USA

Posted 14 November 2013 - 09:08 PM

Yeah that did it. Typically you want at least 35 degrees elevation and 45 or better is ideal. The good news is its riding high in the ecliptic so it won't be in the soup as it were. On a decent night though with your 8" so long as its over 10 arc sec in apparent size all the goodies should show - polar cap, Maria and clouds/hazes. Its a quirky object - poor seeing will turn it bald of details - you'll think a global dust storm is underway - but in good seeing with a good 8" its a veritable network of contrasts.

Pete

#13 djeber2

djeber2

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1375
  • Joined: 02 Jul 2004
  • Loc: Cloudy Midwest

Posted 14 November 2013 - 09:16 PM

Mars? Whats that? Is that the thing in the sky between the 2 comets? I will wait until closer to opposition to do my Mars viewing when the image size is greater.

#14 dcornelis

dcornelis

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 66
  • Joined: 09 Oct 2012

Posted 15 November 2013 - 04:55 PM

Mars 15/11 C14 in rough seeing :

https://picasaweb.go...607572285109362

#15 Rutilus

Rutilus

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1889
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2010

Posted 15 November 2013 - 06:05 PM

I've had a couple of goes in the last week. This morning using a 127mm f/17.7 Achromat, I was able to see the
polar cap with a dark band running along its southern edge.Also got a good view of the mare Acidilium, not bad at all
giving the small size of the planet.
Also viewed Jupiter with the same scope and the belt detail was stunning this morning.

#16 urassner

urassner

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 331
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2012

Posted 16 November 2013 - 05:26 PM

Last weekend I tried for the first time to image Mars. Seeing was not the greatest, however some features were maybe imaginable.
Images were taken with a Starfire 152 and ASI 120 MC camera. Best 6000 out of 30000 frames, Stacked with Autostakkert and wavelets with Registax 6.

Attached Files



#17 Rutilus

Rutilus

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1889
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2010

Posted 16 November 2013 - 05:45 PM

Good image. Your image is very much like what I am seeing visually. The NPC and dark band is very easy to see,
while the rest of Mars shows fainter markings.

#18 urassner

urassner

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 331
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2012

Posted 16 November 2013 - 05:50 PM

I did a little more post processing and put a picture of what Skysafari showed me at that time.
I am looking forward to the spring when Mars is a lot closer.

Attached Files



#19 azure1961p

azure1961p

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10470
  • Joined: 17 Jan 2009
  • Loc: USA

Posted 16 November 2013 - 05:55 PM

I find the word Mars and the tick marks require 10/10 seeing.

Pete

#20 Rick Woods

Rick Woods

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14967
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Inner Solar System

Posted 16 November 2013 - 05:55 PM

I looked about a week ago, but all I could get was a soft fuzzy blob.

#21 urassner

urassner

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 331
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2012

Posted 16 November 2013 - 06:10 PM

That's funny. I am glad though that NASA started labeling all the planets. ;)

#22 RTLR 12

RTLR 12

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4581
  • Joined: 04 Dec 2008
  • Loc: The Great Pacific NorthWest

Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:30 AM

The seeing this morning was fairly steady and I could see the polar cap quite easily. Some darker areas around the equator extending to both north and south. Looked to be some lighter area in the southern hemisphere that could have been ground fog in the lowlands.

Stan

#23 aatt

aatt

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 553
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2012
  • Loc: CT

Posted 17 November 2013 - 01:18 PM

I have tried three times in the last couple of weeks and it has been terrible. I can make out the disk in an orange motile halo and no detail. Jupiter last night on the other hand, was fantastic.

#24 Rutilus

Rutilus

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1889
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2010

Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:11 PM

My most recent observation. Telescope was 6" F/15 Achromat at powers 225 - 450x. Things of interest, was the dark
band running benith the NCP was darker in sections.
Shape of Acidalium well seen with some darker sections with-in.
Bright patch seen on the following limb. Extremely pleased with the view giving the tiny size of Mars.

Attached Files



#25 azure1961p

azure1961p

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10470
  • Joined: 17 Jan 2009
  • Loc: USA

Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:43 PM

Very nice indeed from such a minute orb!!!! You can be proud of that one - super good!

Pete






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics