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What are reasonable expectations of a 4" apo on mars this year's opposition?

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#26 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 10:17 PM

I'm looking forward to the Mars opposition later this year. I've put together a nice 100ED setup on a driven equatorial and recently acquired a small set of eyepieces suited to planetary observing including 5XW, 4 TOE and 3.4 HR.

What can I expect to see feature wise in steady seeing? for example can Olympus mons be glimpsed? Mars is one planet I have not really observed in earnest. I'll acquire a map of mars before then. Look forward to your comments.

 

Mike

The polar caps, Syrtis, Hellas, & Argyre should be easy in a quality 4" refractor.  I've seen clouds over / around Olympus Mons with my 3" F15 achromatic, and I've imaged Sinus Sabaeus & Meridiani with a 60mm F15 refractor.  But, I've had near-perfect planetary seeing here at The Swamp.

 

This map is good for identifying the features commonly seen:

 

Mars - Visual Features Map.jpg


Edited by Bomber Bob, 07 March 2020 - 10:20 PM.

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#27 m9x18

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 10:58 PM

I love it when people say, you won't see much on Mars with a small scope. Here are some of their comments followed by my notes.

 

They say all you will see is:

 

1) Dust storms.  Note: If you can see this, you can say you've seen dust storms on Mars.

 

2) Light and dark soil differences.  Note: If you can see this, you can say you've seen light and dark soil differences on Mars.

 

3) Polar ice caps.  Note: I you can see this, you can say you've seen polar ice caps on Mars.

 

4) Surface color.  Note: If you can see this, you can say you've seen surface color on Mars.

 

5) Little green men.  Note: If you can see little green men on (or from) Mars, it's time to put the bottle away and hit the sack!


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#28 AstroKerr

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 12:56 AM

If there's anything ta see - you gon' see it. It'll be a custom view - your eyes, your skies, your scope, your location - that's all just for you, by you.

 

E'rytime I head outside, I lower my expectations - grounded, dirt low, trenched mud low - and run my gratitude amp up so I get a half-scale feelin' from a foggy moon or a dim Dawg Star. We only get 6.5" of precip a year here an' 6.5 yards precip wortha clouds. So, when ya rig up - don't expect much - you'll be seldom disappointed an' frequently overjoyed. Roll what ya got with no regrets, don' forget ya small scopes cuz they got views, too & mebbe grab a longish 114~130 flector off SGW, jic - low cost insurance. 

 

Last year, Orange Beachball

Opposition had me chokin',

Brother, I was bleedin' out an' Loc'n

Thought e'ry scope and EP we rolled was broken,

Then TLJ whispered somethin - got me open

 

"Mar-tian Dust Storm, you dipstick,

Baby, are you that thick? 

Honey, is your brain sick?

Mar-tian Dust Storm, you dodo

Everybody else knows,

Baby, where'd ya mind go?

Mar-tian Dust Storm for weeks, dear,

Look it up, ya geezer,

Befo' ya have another seizure..."

 


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#29 mikeDnight

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 03:40 AM

Better res pic's of 2016 apparition through 100mm Tak.

 

IMG_5365.jpg


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#30 mikeDnight

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 03:41 AM

Second set

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_5366.jpg

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#31 mikeDnight

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 03:42 AM

Third set

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_5367.jpg

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#32 mikeDnight

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 03:42 AM

Fourth set

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_5368.jpg

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#33 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 05:38 AM

My 2 cents:

 

Use whatever you have as often as possible and keep your :fingerscrossed: that there are no planet-wide dust storms.  Experiment with filters, with eyepieces, with different telescopes.  

 

There is stuff to see.

 

Jon


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#34 mike bacanin

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 06:52 AM

Thank you for all your very interesting and informative replies. Thank you MikeD for the sketches.

Mike
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#35 25585

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 07:24 AM

I get thrills seeing the white of polar caps and black areas. To see Mars surface well depends on both our own & the red planet's atmosphere and weather of course. 


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#36 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 11:54 AM

There is some good software available for Mars. I don't run Windows anymore (thankfully) but the VPA is pretty good. 

 

http://www.ap-i.net/avp/en/start

 

I do run Mars Atlas on macOS, which I particularly recommend if you run a Mac.

 

https://apps.apple.c...429268403?mt=12



#37 mikeDnight

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 02:47 PM

With reasonable seeing conditions and oodles of patience waiting for those fleeting moments of perfect seeing, its possible to push a 4" refractor beyond what's normally considered useful, or even possible.

The attached Mars sketch isn't of much use, other than to show that it can still be fun to tease out detail on a tiny Martian disc, if you enjoy a challenge.

 

IMG_5369.jpg

 


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#38 mikeDnight

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 06:22 PM

Olympus Mons is shown on the map below as a circular white spot at roughly 130° by 15°

 

583f5cfdf1d05_2016-11-2814_16_39.jpg.030c1cb6f11b988d7a8ecc8e2d768263.jpg

 

And again to the right of the home made globe indicating its relative location on the disc of Mars in relation to Solis Lacus, as seen through a telescope using a diagonal.

 

20170223_122441.jpg.c3e89f17916f0317515d6e1cb5404a55.jpg


Edited by mikeDnight, 08 March 2020 - 06:29 PM.

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#39 barbie

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 07:52 PM

During the last opposition, I was able to see detail at high magnification through a 3" F11 achromat.  I can only imagine what I'll see through both of my 3" apos!!  I'll start observing Mars this Summer since my skies will most likely be cloudy by the time of opposition.


Edited by barbie, 08 March 2020 - 07:55 PM.

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#40 jimandlaura26

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 11:10 PM

I'm looking forward to the Mars opposition later this year. I've put together a nice 100ED setup on a driven equatorial and recently acquired a small set of eyepieces suited to planetary observing including 5XW, 4 TOE and 3.4 HR.

What can I expect to see feature wise in steady seeing? for example can Olympus mons be glimpsed? Mars is one planet I have not really observed in earnest. I'll acquire a map of mars before then. Look forward to your comments.

 

Mike

Lots of good advice and experiences here. I would add that I have also found that a binoviewer, even with modest Plossls can routinely best single eyepiece viewing with premium eyepieces. Two eyes tend to bring out more detail for me. The Baader semi-apo Neodymium based filter also helps tease out subtle features. Mars weather can be a special challenge. I have used both 80 and 102mm apos. Get a comfortable astronomy chair to mitigate fatigue - lots of patience at the eye piece is necessary. 

 

Good luck!


Edited by jimandlaura26, 08 March 2020 - 11:12 PM.

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#41 Sasa

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 01:44 AM

As many said, there is plenty to see on Mars with small apertures. Here is a sketch from last apparition made through slightly smaller aperture of 82mm

Mars_20180912_1915aUT.jpg
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#42 Bonco2

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 03:39 PM

Not sure if this would work so well with a 4 inch but I got the best detail on mars with my 6 inch using an Oxy3 filter. I recommend if you have one give it a try.
Bill

#43 aa6ww

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 06:59 PM

If you can see the polar caps and dark shading on the planets surface, then your doing pretty good for observing Mars.
Even a hot 80mm refractor should be able to see this as the planet gets closer.
Mars never needed large aperture to really come through. For me, it just always worked well in high quality optics.


...Ralph
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#44 daquad

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 07:00 PM

The polar caps, Syrtis, Hellas, & Argyre should be easy in a quality 4" refractor.  I've seen clouds over / around Olympus Mons with my 3" F15 achromatic, and I've imaged Sinus Sabaeus & Meridiani with a 60mm F15 refractor.  But, I've had near-perfect planetary seeing here at The Swamp.

 

This map is good for identifying the features commonly seen:

 

attachicon.gifMars - Visual Features Map.jpg

I measured the size of the Mars images on my computer screen with a ruler; they are about 0.75 inch.  I calculated that I would have to stand about 7.1 feet away from the computer screen so that the mars image appeared about the same angular diameter of our moon -- about 0.5 degrees.  

 

The detail that could be seen on any of the images closely matched the degree of detail that can be seen on the moon.  Of course, the seeing in my den is at least 9.9/10.  But if the seeing is good this gives a fairly good approximation with what can be seen if the image of Mars is magnified to give an apparent diameter of 0.5 degrees.  Try it.

 

Dom Q.


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#45 gwlee

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 11:51 AM

What nonsense is this? 

 

Earth-based amateur telescopes can absolutely show surface features on Mars. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

Yes! Don’t miss the canals. 



#46 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 12:46 PM

Yes! Don’t miss the canals. 

With a powerful enough Barlow you might even catch a glimpse of Dejah Thoris. 

 

https://en.wikipedia...ki/Dejah_Thoris



#47 coopman

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 01:04 PM

Mars is a pretty tough object to observe, IMO, due to its brightness. Don't expect to see much. I've never been able to get much detail when looking at it. You def. need some sort of filters.

Edited by coopman, 14 March 2020 - 01:07 PM.


#48 Astrojensen

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 01:43 PM

Mars is a pretty tough object to observe, IMO, due to its brightness. Don't expect to see much. I've never been able to get much detail when looking at it. You def. need some sort of filters.

On the other hand, the brightness means that you can use high magnifications much more easily than on Jupiter and Saturn. 

 

Filters aren't in any way necessary, though they can certainly be useful. I've seen quite a bit of details without any filters. 

 

Seeing many details on Mars requires four things:

 

 

1: Mars needs to get sufficiently large.

 

2: Good seeing!

 

3. Good optics to preserve contrast.

 

4: Observer experience! This, in particular, is VERY important. 

 

 

If Mars is close, as it will be this year, and the seeing is good, an experienced observer can see a wealth of details in even a 60mm. Limb haze, polar caps, dark markings, large clouds, all of this is visible in a good 60mm. 

 

But don't take my word for it, take a look here: https://www.fzu.cz/~...s/obj/mars.html

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#49 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 01:47 PM

I definitely need filters for Mars!



#50 Tyson M

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 01:51 PM

I had some moderate success for the first time ever with a SV90T Fluorite last year. 

Got hints of details of appears to be Syrtis Major and without the lumicon #23A light red filter.

 

Edit: and polar caps I got views of.


Edited by Tyson M, 14 March 2020 - 08:27 PM.

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