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Mars Last Day of March 2014

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#1 frank5817



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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:30 AM

Conditions were very poor for viewing and sketching Mars. However, I was prompted to observe because temperatures were above freezing and there were occasional cloud breaks.
Mars is now at 14.65″ of arc and 0.64 A.U. from us. 99.6% of the disk is illuminated and shining at visual magnitude -1.3. The central meridian of Mars was centered at about 227° at the time of the sketch.
The north polar cap is small in size and dim in visual brightness. Utopia and Elysium were also visible in the north. To the south Mare Cimmerium was seen in part as was Mare Tyrrhenum. The preceding and following limbs were mostly covered by haze or clouds. Both the wind and earth clouds made sketching very much a challenge.

Before beginning this sketch I spent 20 minutes looking at Mars through red, green and light blue filters to assist with locating low contrast features. On this evening the filters didn’t help much.

This is an eyepiece sketch made with HB graphite pencils, blending stumps, White Pearl eraser on white sketching paper.
Date 3/31/2014 – Time 05:15-05:55 UT
Telescope: 13.1 inch f/5.9 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 218x and a Neodymium filter
Temperature: 7°C (45°F)
Mostly cloudy, windy
Transparency 3/5
Seeing: Antoniadi IV (poor)

Frank McCabe :)

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#2 Kris.


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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:04 AM

Frank, good sketch of the difficult or boring side of mars!
it's funny that you guys have much colder weather conditions for the time of year, and we're enjoying much warmer weather than normal :grin:

#3 CarlosEH



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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:30 AM


That is still an excellent observation of Mars that shows many interesting albedo features. Observing under such cold conditions is not easy and you made the best of it. Thank you for sharing it with us all.


#4 Asbytec


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Posted 01 April 2014 - 07:00 AM

Frank, still not bad. I was prepared to head up closer to 400x last night, but held at 300x because Mars's angular size shocked me. Seeing was good, but at times it was terrible. Man, seeing is just so important. To have pulled off this sketch is a testament to your patients and skill. And that's what matters, too.

#5 Ed D

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:28 AM

Frank, it looks like you had a very good observing session on the not so boring side of Mars, as your sketch shows.

Ed D

#6 niteskystargazer



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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:57 AM


Nice sketch of Mars on the Last Day of March 2014 :).




#7 kraterkid


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Posted 01 April 2014 - 11:31 AM

A great sketch Frank, and despite the cold, you came away with a lot of detail! But brrr... :coldday:

#8 Uwe Pilz

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:17 PM

Welcome to the bad seeing observers's club! Every observation has it's own value, perfect conditions are rare. Thank you for posting.

#9 JayinUT


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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:48 PM


I enjoyed reading about your observation and I like your sketch of Mars. Thanks for sharing.

#10 youngamateur42



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Posted 01 April 2014 - 05:05 PM

Very nice job, I was out last night observing Mars as well, but the constant clouds kept obstructing the view.

#11 Tommy5



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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:20 PM

Very nice Mars sketch especially in those trying conditions , thanks for sharing.

#12 frank5817



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Posted 01 April 2014 - 10:56 PM

Kris, Carlos, Norme, Ed, Tom, Rich, Uwe, Jay, Justin and Tommy5

Thank you all for the nice words. I set up just after sunset and it looked like it would be one of those fine spring observing nights that we sometimes have in Illinois but it started going downhill a couple hours after twilight.
Kris - We had and old time snowy and cold winter
Carlos - It would have been better with Mars at higher altitude
Norme - Mars should be nice and high for you after local midnight
Ed, Rich, Justin - You should all get great Mars views in the weeks ahead in the southern USA
Tom and Tommy5 - not looking good for Friday night
Uwe- "Welcome to the bad seeing observers's club!" I am card carrying member
Jay - Thanks for doing the work of moderator :waytogo:

Frank :)

#13 Tamas Bognar

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 12:38 AM


Very nice job, and great sketch, thanks for sharing.

#14 kenrenard


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Posted 02 April 2014 - 06:09 AM

Nice work. You caught a good amount of detail.I tried viewing last night and saw a fuzzy orange blob! But, I did see some nice deep sky objects.


#15 frank5817



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Posted 02 April 2014 - 02:52 PM

Tamas and Ken,

Thank you both.

Ken- You are certainly right to move to deep sky when the planetary views are poor and the Moon is absent.

Frank :)

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