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Musings over Mars

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Musings over Mars

By Tim Versteegen


Greetings all,


Braved the first frosty forecast of the season Tuesday evening GMT for a couple of hours at the eyepiece under clear South London skies to have a go at sketching the Red Planet before the distance becomes too great.


Although clear, there was a fair amount of high turbulence and sharp focusing was a challenge, but the view was still wonderful to behold through my Mewlon 210 which had a couple of hours outside chilling to ambient before observing. 


Swapped between 5mm Pentax XW and 7.5mm Tak eyepieces as seeing allowed, between 2120 - 2245 as Mars hovered around its highest, well clear of terraced roofs and chimney pots in the South. A Baader contrast booster filter was screwed into the barrel. 


Of course it’s just my perception, amateur art over pure science, but it's satisfying to see a couple of obvious details I interpreted (Syrtis / Hellas) vaguely matching the maps with East to the Right.


Apparently we were around 44.8 million miles apart and receding as I sat observing and doodling in the soft glow of a moon a few days past full.


In these unsettling times the usual traffic, sirens and domestic clamour of our outer city suburb seem suffocated. 

I have no idea what kind, but a bird somewhere in the low branches kept me company with an occasional lilting chirruping song.

This hobby never ceases to surprise me with such profoundly peaceful, morale and soul-enriching moments - gazing at the features of Mars was a bonus.


One drawback - my daughter reckons I’ve ruined her prized, erasable Crayola colour pencils… oh well... that’s one Christmas present sorted...



Wishing all Clear Skies and Good Health.



  • John Miele, John Huntley, M Schnittker and 11 others like this


Sounds like you had a nice time at the scope! The above looks very similar to what I saw (and felt) a few nights ago behind my scope. Cheers!


Loved the comment from your daughter - sounds like something mine would say.  Haha! You had better get those pencils replaced! 

    • BFaucett likes this

I followed Mars from September when it was quite small using your Mewlon's little sister. Had some very good views all along the way and it seems to be getting smaller now faster than it got bigger.

Thanks for this nice report and sketch!



Magnus Ahrling
Dec 04 2020 06:02 PM

Thanks! Wonderful report. Here I am out in the dark observing Mars with good result while I can hear our civilization and birds as Luna shines on me. I like that. No must do that or this or whatever, just enjoying the view in the eypiece.


By the way

The sketch is so fine!



Old Speckled Hen
Dec 04 2020 08:00 PM

"which had a couple of hours outside chilling to ambient before observing."



Dec 06 2020 05:13 PM

Thank you for the article. It is always nice to take a break from the eyepiece, and enjoy the nocturnal "goings on" in the immediate area, and then just relax for awhile and listen. Tim

Very nice! Thank you for your report.


Thank you for the fine report and the beautiful sketch. Where I live there’s not much traffic to hear except an occasional car out on the highway but the night birds sing all night. Sometimes I take a break from the eyepiece, relax in my lawn chair, fall asleep and wake up later under beautiful starlit skies. Not too bad!

    • dickeypjeep likes this

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