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Anyone else observing Mars?

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#26 payner

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 05:26 PM

Great rendering of Mars so long before opposition. Thanks for posting.

Best,
Randy

#27 Ed D

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 08:34 PM

Rutilus, that's really awesome! Stan, good observations, too. Thanks for posting.

Ed D

#28 mark8888

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 09:12 PM

In good seeing, I was able to view Mars at 340x for around 20 minutes over the weekend. It looked similar to urassner's photo above. Although small, very worthwhile viewing! It was a much better view than I had 3 weeks ago. Happy that there's so much to see yet there's still several months until opposition in April.

Awesome sketch, Rutilus...

#29 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:25 AM

Excellent sketch. Thanks for the view.

Rich (RLTYS)

#30 Rick Woods

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 11:21 AM

This is so cool that so many folks are already seeing detail!
A good omen.

#31 wfj

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 07:03 PM

Been watching Mars 7 or 8 times this fall when seeing allows, which is important for a 5" object where significant detail starts in the 300 - 500x range.

Yes, you can make out the polar cap with 3-4" telescope at upwards of 120x, and sometimes hints of more.

Rutilus, that's a great sketch. With a 12.5" f/4.8 newt at 300x, one gets teased with detail like that, although more commonly it smears into a dark "Y" or "V" for me.

When we start getting more "map like" detail with a 10"+ Mars above 40 degrees altitude, that's when it seems less like a random orb and more like a planet.

Had a patch of good seeing the morning I left to travel to Canaveral for the MAVEN launch (daughter works on Mars atmosphere sims for Berkeley's MAVEN sensors), and at 450x/32degrees I had no trouble with Mare Acidelium.

BTW, was a perfect launch of a crackly sounding Atlas V. Post apparition, in ten months it will arrive as it's on a type 2 Hohmann transfer.

Can't wait for the current cloud mass and jet stream to pass so I can see Mars again now knowing another spacecraft is inbound.

#32 Asbytec

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 07:55 PM

I agree, it's a really nice sketch given it's apparent diameter and (since I haven't observed it, yet) it does seem to be a good omen...of things to come.

#33 Rutilus

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 08:41 AM

Latest outing with the scope, seeing conditions were generally poor. I fitted a 5 inch aperture mask to the scope (f/17.5)
and tried to pick out as much detail as the seeing would allow. Magnification was 225x.

Most noticeable (after the NPC) was a slender dark feature extending northwards (Syrtis Major?). At around the 5 o'clock position
on the drawing there was a large bright area, as large as the NPC but not as brilliant white in colour. I don't think this was Hellas,
could it have been the Noaches region of Mars?.
Still giving the rather poor seeing, I was pleased to pick out some detail.

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#34 Ed D

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 09:50 AM

It has been too many weeks since I last observed Mars, primarily due to the onslaught of clouds and rain that has lingered on and on. This morning it was clear, not the best for down here in Miami, but close. I set up at 5:00am Eastern Time (UT -5) and began observing. The polar cap was evident but other features were elusive. Then it happened again - TWILIGHT! As the sky began to lighten I started observing dark surface features coming in and out of view. Not having to work today I continued observing until the sky was bright and the view began to fade.

I have read on line about twilight being the best time to observe planets and previously have had success observing cloud bands on Venus during evening twilight. I started observing Mars this year when it was under 4.0" and had a star-like appearance, and have been following its approach. I find it amazing that during twilight the ability of our eyes to observe detail increases. I have a book on order that covers this but it hasn't gotten here yet.

It would be interesting if anyone else observing in the mornings is experiencing this.

Ed D

#35 azure1961p

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 12:40 PM

You nailed that desert color - superb! Well told account. Hang in there with the seeing -lol- you are not alone.

Pete

#36 azure1961p

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 12:43 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.


We've been inundated with garbage seeing - Pickering 5 or less.

Pete

#37 Rutilus

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 06:14 AM

The view this morning. Seeing conditions still poor, less than average but better than previous 24 hours.
This was at 250x magnification with the 6" f/15 Achromat.
This morning parts of Utopia visible, also clearly defined shape to the Syrtis Major, brighter arc area seen underneath SM,
I think that this was Hellas. Still a bright area on the limb at 5 o'clock position.
Detail is there to be seen, just need better seeing conditions.

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#38 Special Ed

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 04:16 PM

Rutilus,
Very nice observing and sketchwork, especially given Mars's 5.7 arcsec apparent diameter. What was the UT time of these observations?

In the Dec 1st sketch, Hellas would appear small because the De is +24.4° right now. That means that from our POV the center of Mars is 24° north latitude so we see significantly more of the northern hemisphere and less of the southern.

That bright area on the south following limb is intriguing. It could be a morning limb cloud--can you see it with a blue filter? Or it could be (dare I say it?) dust. Dust appears bright in a red filter. And localized dust storms are known to appear in the Serpentis/Noachis region.

#39 Rutilus

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 05:53 PM

Michael - I have been starting at 05:00UT and observing for around 2 hours. I've not used any
filters for the observations. But next observing session I will have the red and blue filters handy.

#40 Special Ed

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 07:53 PM

Rutilus--those times check out with what you've been identifying. Try the filters--hope you have clear skies and steady air. The forecast here is no good for the next few days.
Good luck!

#41 Special Ed

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 07:58 PM

...Then it happened again - TWILIGHT! As the sky began to lighten I started observing dark surface features coming in and out of view. Not having to work today I continued observing until the sky was bright and the view began to fade.

I have read on line about twilight being the best time to observe planets and previously have had success observing cloud bands on Venus during evening twilight. I started observing Mars this year when it was under 4.0" and had a star-like appearance, and have been following its approach. I find it amazing that during twilight the ability of our eyes to observe detail increases. I have a book on order that covers this but it hasn't gotten here yet.

It would be interesting if anyone else observing in the mornings is experiencing this.

Ed D


I have experienced this seeing improvement during morning twilight many times in the past.

#42 buddyjesus

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 11:48 PM

awesome sketch.

even with bad seeing conditions, there are still pockets of stable air that can every minute or two clear up details. I consider most of my time observing planets is watching and waiting for moments of visual clarity.






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