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Mars 17th April 2014

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#1 chrisrnuttall


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Posted 21 April 2014 - 03:14 PM

Hi all

I have been extremely busy lately with jobs around the new house, and also long weeks at work, so Astronomy has suffered and I have not done very much recently.

Anyway, on Thursday night I stepped outside and saw a very bright star moving from the west, through the south, to the east, about 45 degrees up from the horizon. I realised straight away this was the ISS and grabbed my 15X binoculars for a closer look.
I wasn't sure because I need to ware my glasses when viewing through binoculars (1 dioptre of astigmatism in both eyes tends to make stars a bit elongated otherwise), but I am 90% sure I could see solar arrays fore and aft of its apparent motion, and they appeared to become more foreshortened as the ISS traversed the sky.
This got me quite excited, but when the ISS almost occulted Mars I decided that I had to get back out with the telescope that night! I'm not sure how close the space station got to Mars, but it was well under a degree, probably about 20 minutes I think.

So a couple of hours later I was back outside in my observatory (folding shed) making a sketch of the Red Planet.

Seeing was average to poor, but my apodizer really did an excellent job of clearing things up and I was able to grab some good detail.

The main thing that struck me was how much mist there was on Mars.

Hellas was bright white as it often is, but the mist extended almost all the way around the limb.
The equatorial region on the morning side of the disc was also very misty, and even obscured my view of Niciliacus Lacus.

The drawing is done is pastels and was completed at the eyepiece.

Hope you enjoy.

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#2 kraterkid


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Posted 21 April 2014 - 04:39 PM

Very cool story about the ISS and an excellent sketch of Mars Chris!

#3 frank5817



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Posted 21 April 2014 - 05:41 PM


This is an excellent capture of Mars.
Very enjoyable to see.

Frank :)

#4 kenrenard


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Posted 22 April 2014 - 05:50 AM

Beautiful Work. Nice details.


#5 niteskystargazer



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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:30 AM


Very good sketch of Mars on Apr. 17th :).




#6 Ed D

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:38 PM

Chris, I really like this sketch. It's very detailed.

Ed D

#7 azure1961p


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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:38 PM

Ha! There again - those extensions coming off of Acidalia - seems people are reporting this consistently. That and that equatorial cloud/haze band. I've not been out with the reflector and my best view so far was with my 70mm which showed a localized cloud spot - but that band you've caught and others eluded me. Here though you have it in all its glory.

Beautiful smooth technique with great control Chris. Superbly done my friend.


#8 dweller25


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Posted 23 April 2014 - 02:28 AM

Excellent detail Chris, are you using the 12" in pull/push Dob mode or is it equatorially mounted ?

#9 Kris.


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Posted 23 April 2014 - 03:43 AM

Nice work Chris, I like the soft realistic colour work!

#10 chrisrnuttall


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Posted 23 April 2014 - 03:44 PM

Hi All

I made myself a stainless steel EQ platform for the 12" dob. It was unusable at hi magnification in Alt Az mode. Too much stiction!

Thanks Re: the colours.
I'm still struggling a bot with my new scanner doing too much automatic unsharp-masking of my drawings, so it is a little bit harsh to my eye.
I need to try and get some alternative drivers for it really.

#11 Asbytec


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Posted 25 April 2014 - 08:24 AM

Chris, brilliant work, as always. Especially at the eyepiece. Well done.

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