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2018 Mars Opposition Thread-Post your observations, sketches & images!

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#176 pcd109

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:05 AM

You know it is not like you can't see anything at all, on good nights I have seen mottling and dark areas - but not at all like a normal apparition for sure.

 

The trick this time is that even when I can see features, I have no idea what part of Mars I am looking at anymore. Normally you can quickly figure out where you are based on three regions; are you looking at Syrtis Major region mostly or more centered around Sinus Meridian - if not then you are on the other side of Mars - the boring side.

 

Now I am lost at the eyepiece - when I can see some dark areas and mottling they don't seem to map to my memory any of those three regions.

 

So it is more like looking at some new planet.  Not sure what the mottling that IS visible represents - its not elevation. Kind of weird actually.

Well, basically we see through storm clouds(or more precisely we see through DUST clouds) . When they are not very dense in nature we could glimpse on some surface features. I think the explanation is that the huge cloud has variable density so we can still see something under the dust storm, but very pale and blurred and not easy to identify as you describe it. Even if everything will settle quickly(witch at this point is quite clear that will not be the case) we will still have blurred features because all this dust covering the surface. It is like a desert sand storm, only with this pale brown/pinkish martian dust.  You can go to NASA site and they have published pictures of the storm from the ground robots. This are absolutely stunning, you really need to check them out.


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#177 Special Ed

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:43 AM

Mars was an awfully bright naked-eye object this morning. I wonder if the dust storm has increased the average albedo of the planet.

According to Roger Venable (Yahoo Mars Observers group/ALPO), Mars may be as much as 0.2 magnitudes brighter due to the storm.

 

You know it is not like you can't see anything at all, on good nights I have seen mottling and dark areas - but not at all like a normal apparition for sure.

 

The trick this time is that even when I can see features, I have no idea what part of Mars I am looking at anymore. Normally you can quickly figure out where you are based on three regions; are you looking at Syrtis Major region mostly or more centered around Sinus Meridian - if not then you are on the other side of Mars - the boring side.

 

Now I am lost at the eyepiece - when I can see some dark areas and mottling they don't seem to map to my memory any of those three regions.

 

So it is more like looking at some new planet.  Not sure what the mottling that IS visible represents - its not elevation. Kind of weird actually.

It's tough right now to be oriented on Mars.  Try using something like Mars Profiler to get your bearings--or find out the CM at the time of your observation and consult a map.


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#178 GEC

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:43 AM

I was able to observe on July 10 with the C8 @ 160x with a  W25A filter also at 340x with no filter.  Seeing was variable with some clouds.  The preceding edge of Hellas was visible and some dark areas around the south polar cap.  Some faint surface markings between the equator and the SPC.   Then I took some images with the neximage 5 at prime focus.  Most of the SPC is dusty.  I don't see much indication that the dust is settling out.

 

Cheers

GEC

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#179 aeajr

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:49 AM

I have been out observing at least 6 times over the last month.  Each time I have had a view of Mars at 16 to 20 degrees altitude.  All I have been able to see is a large bright boiling ball in my 8" Dob.   It is a shame that this opposition is so low and the planet is covered in a dust storm.    

 

Last night I was at a darker site with a friend who has a 14" Dob.   No better results at 21 degrees. 


Edited by aeajr, 13 July 2018 - 10:54 AM.


#180 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:07 PM

I stayed up late to have a look at Mars from my driveway this morning.  I would have done so on a number of other occasions recently where the sky was clear enough for observing the planet and I was at home but the dust storm has put a damper on doing that.

I used the 6" f/8 Orion SkyQuest XT6 Dob that I keep in my garage for quick looks and an 8-24mm Baader Planetarium Hyperion Mark III zoom eyepiece that produces 50 to 150x in that scope.  I also employed Wratten #21 and 80A filters and a minus violet filter.  The best views were with the latter two filters.  I could see a very subdued SPC and the vaguest hints of albedo features in accordance with what semiosteve said earlier in this thread.  Mars was at an altitude of about 25 degrees.  The CM was about 310 degrees at the time, which means that Syrtis Major might have been what I was barely seeing.

 

Dave Mitsky



#181 wfj

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:08 PM

According to Roger Venable (Yahoo Mars Observers group/ALPO), Mars may be as much as 0.2 magnitudes brighter due to the storm.

It is common for me to be asked about Mars because of this. Average public thinks this means one must be getting a much better view of Mars because of this.

 

A retired couple asked me to help them select a better scope to look at Mars with, and would not accept a "little dust storm" (I kid you not) could get in the way. So I spent time with them instead introducing them to filters so they could make out Syrtis Major (she had no trouble with the magenta, he had better luck with orange, neither did well with more aggressive ones). That and comparing against what a cellphone app would show them was there. They're happy with what they see now.


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#182 wfj

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:11 PM

Oh, almost forgot. http://SpaceWeather.com has an item on observing the "green flash".  (Also checkout http://spaceweatherg...pload_id=146028 ).

 

Peter-RosAcn-Mars-Green_1531416270_lg.gi

 

This looks familiar to me, but I might have classified it as a scope artifact and ignored its significance.


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#183 kdenny2

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:23 AM

I observed Mars for about 20 minutes this morning in my 8" f/6 dobsonian. Seeing and transparency were absolutely excellent, and Mars was 32 degrees in the sky:

 

I can barely see anything. I do not see any evidence whatsoever that this dust storm is relenting. I could see the vaguest hints of Syrtis Major, and the impression of the SPC, but beyond that -- Mars was a perfectly still yellow-orange ball. 

 

Saturn, on the other hand, blew me off my socks. I was able to count multiple divisions in the rings and every major moon, including the ever illusive Enceladus. But baring a miracle, I think it's a good bet to write off seeing any surface detail on Mars until maybe mid-September. 


Edited by kdenny2, 14 July 2018 - 12:32 PM.


#184 n2dpsky

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 11:52 AM

My observation this morning was similar to others.  My seeing was marginal but improved as Mars reached the meridian to perhaps 4/5 at times.  The SCP was distinct and Syrtis Major would pop in and out.   My best views were between 250x and 275x.  My 80a filter didn't seem to be as useful as an ND at lower power, but at 275x none was needed.   



#185 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 01:50 PM

I observed Mars this morning from the Naylor Observatory using a 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain stopped down to 14 inches.  The seeing and transparency were mediocre.  The CM was about 290 degrees, which put Syrtis Major right on the central meridian. 

I used 202x for the most part with Wratten #21, #30, and #80A filters.  Only a small sliver of the SPC was visible.  At times, hints of Syrtis Major could be seen.

 

Dave Mitsky



#186 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 04:59 PM

Will give Mars another go tonight if conditions and transparence is decent.  Will see how much I can push the 150mm SCT for magnification.  It's low in my location in Central Texas and the meridian (I think that puts it at around 35 deg) is around 2:40 am so hoping for a good night.  I'd like to try the 80A and 82A again as well.



#187 ascii

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 05:52 PM

I got my first look at Mars for this opposition season with my roughly year-old 100 mm ED doublet.  This was on Saturday 2018-07-14 at 02:30 EDT, close to the time of culmination.  I know a 100 mm scope is not a strong tool for planets, but it's light and easy to use, and it suits my tastes.

 

Seeing was good.  The limb was pretty stable at 225x.  Certainly, it was my largest view ever of Mars.  However, I saw essentially no surface details, just a bland orange globe.  Like everyone else, I hope there is much more clearing of the dust storms as we approach opposition.



#188 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 07:01 PM

I spent some time with Mars last night with the 150mm SCT until about 2 a.m.  Sky conditions were not great but improved for small periods of time.  I was only able to use 187x to 250x,  not as high as I had hoped.  Mars was big and orange with little discernable features accept for every now and then I could make out a darker central area, maybe Syrtis Major.  But it took a lot of eyeball time to catch the darker areas.  I tried several filters but felt I had the best luck with an 80A.  May try and get out again tonight for a bit but not as late as last night.  


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#189 aeajr

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 11:55 PM

7/16/18 - 12:01 am - 12:30 am  ETX 80, Meade 5.5 mm, 2X barlow Sky was clear, not a cloud to be seen and no moon.

 

Wanted to give Mars a quick try with my 80 mm refractor.  Mars was at 19.5 degrees.

 

At 72 X, just an orange ball.   At 144X  Just an orange ball.  Tried a 12, 21a and 23 a filter.  No help.   Wasn't surprised but just wanted to give it a quick shot.

 

Decided to count all the stars I could see in the sky.  From Polaris on my left to Mars on my right at 152 degrees sweeping across the sky, including the zenith and including stars that required averted vision, I counted 34 stars.

 

Hope your sky was better than mine tonight.


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#190 Edrow10

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 01:53 AM

I spent some time with Mars last night with the 150mm SCT until about 2 a.m.  Sky conditions were not great but improved for small periods of time.  I was only able to use 187x to 250x,  not as high as I had hoped.  Mars was big and orange with little discernable features accept for every now and then I could make out a darker central area, maybe Syrtis Major.  But it took a lot of eyeball time to catch the darker areas.  I tried several filters but felt I had the best luck with an 80A.  May try and get out again tonight for a bit but not as late as last night.  

That pretty much mirrors my experience Saturday Tony, except I used a Baader contrast booster.

Regards,

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#191 Edrow10

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 01:56 AM

Here's the same sketch, but I altered the shading to more simulate a filterless view.

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#192 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:32 AM

Ed, I don't have the Baader contrast booster but I’ll check it out.  I failed to mention that I tried a 23A and it seemed to help as well.  I do have a sky glow filter that I didn’t try.  Thanks for the info about the Baader ... Tony

 

Nice sketching too 👍🏻 and have the Baader filter ordered...


Edited by CelestronDaddy, 16 July 2018 - 06:52 AM.

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#193 Special Ed

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 09:34 AM

Nice sketches, Edrow10.  waytogo.gif   I was just at the Green Bank Star Quest where I observed Mars through a campsite neighbor's 14" hand made dob early Sunday morning.  The view looked much like your sketch with a few additions.  I could see the bright arc on the following limb (right in your sketch) and a yellowish arc on the preceding limb.  The North Polar Hood looked bluish and the South Polar Cap was dull and yellowish.  There was a prominent dark border on the SPC and some duskiness in the center of the disk.  

 

We were looking at 175x and 240x.  We did not employ a filter.  Time was 0500 UT July 15th; Mars was at 24* altitude and the CM was 249*.  Mare Tyrrhenum was on the CM followed by Syrtis Major.

 

Bob Bunge made this observational sketch about an hour after my sketch (CM: 265*).  He had very good conditions.  


Edited by Special Ed, 16 July 2018 - 09:40 AM.

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#194 Edrow10

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 10:51 AM

Ed, I don't have the Baader contrast booster but I’ll check it out.  I failed to mention that I tried a 23A and it seemed to help as well.  I do have a sky glow filter that I didn’t try.  Thanks for the info about the Baader ... Tony

 

Nice sketching too and have the Baader filter ordered...

Thanks Tony,

I just recently acquired the Baader contrast booster, and after a couple sessions, I can safely say, I have my defacto Mars filter through this opposition.

 Interested to hear your thoughts when you've had a chance to use it.

Regards,


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#195 Edrow10

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 10:59 AM

Thank you Michael, and everyone for the likes.

Very nice, detailed report Michael. Enjoyed it.waytogo.gif 

Regards, Ed



#196 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 11:43 AM

Ed,

Awesome work! You outdid me. I haven't stayed on Mars long enough yet. Shame on me! These images remind me of Chesley Bonestell. Amazing considering the dust storm. bow.gif


Edited by Daniel Mounsey, 16 July 2018 - 11:46 AM.

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#197 Edrow10

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 11:47 AM

Thanks buddy, appreciate it.


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#198 Mason Dixon

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 12:51 PM

How does the contrast booster compare to the neodymium filter other than one has a yellow tint and the other blue?



#199 BGazing

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 02:11 PM

How long are planetwide storms expected to last on average?



#200 n2dpsky

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:53 PM

Here was a treat from Petapixel.  Not often you get such a bright reflection of Mars in the water.

 

https://petapixel.co...n-in-the-ocean/


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