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

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#51 BillP

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 07:16 PM

Not to be a killjoy, but Mars  IME is  one  of the most disappointing Planets to view (compared to say Jupiter or even Saturn)

 

If the seeing is very good and there are no storms on Mars, then for me Mars is way more interesting to observe than Jupiter!  When you observe the gas giants all you are looking at is atmospheric features.  On Mars however, you can spot land features which for me is way more interesting.  With a 4" in good seeing I can see quite a bit with a 4".  Note - the size of the planet in the sketch relative to the size of the FOV is not to scale, but much smaller.  Needed to show planet larger to render the details in the sketch properly.  Bottom line for me is that Mars is definitely my favorite planet to observe!

 

6175546-Mars4.JPG
4647665-Mars 2010-02-07 (TSA-UWA).jpg

 


Edited by BillP, 14 March 2020 - 07:24 PM.

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#52 Steve Allison

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 07:30 PM

The best image I have seen of Mars (so far) was during a 1980's opposition while using my Celestron C100, 4 inch f/13 achromatic refractor. For a few seconds the air became absolutely still and features such as the polar caps, Syrtis Major and other features unknown to me were sharply defined. Just beautiful, and I recall no intrusive chromatic aberration.

 

By the way, during the last opposition I was able to glimpse detail on Mars with my little Unitron 40mm refractor. The image was small but the detail was there- a faint polar cap and a bit of shading.

 

From my experience, a good quality apo or long-focus achro of 3 inches or larger can give memorable views, just like my Celestron 4 inch did some 35 years ago.


Edited by Steve Allison, 14 March 2020 - 07:31 PM.

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#53 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 08:56 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

My best views of Mars have come with large aperture reflectors under excellent seeing. 

 

As Thomas says, being bright allows for higher magnifications.  I calculate that the surface brightness of Mars at opposition is about 3.9 mpsas, Jupiter at opposition is about 5.3 mpsas.  The full moon is about 3.4mpsas.  If I use filters on Mars, they're color filters rather than brightness filters.

 

Jon


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#54 Astrojedi

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 11:54 PM

 

If the seeing is very good and there are no storms on Mars, then for me Mars is way more interesting to observe than Jupiter!  When you observe the gas giants all you are looking at is atmospheric features.  On Mars however, you can spot land features which for me is way more interesting.  With a 4" in good seeing I can see quite a bit with a 4".  Note - the size of the planet in the sketch relative to the size of the FOV is not to scale, but much smaller.  Needed to show planet larger to render the details in the sketch properly.  Bottom line for me is that Mars is definitely my favorite planet to observe!

 

 

 

 

Those are some excellent sketches...


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#55 Bill Barlow

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Posted 15 March 2020 - 09:58 AM

I saw a lot of detail last year on Mars with my Tak 76DCU.  I expect I will see even more this year since the planet will be much larger.  Going to use the new 8” Meade ACF, which should reveal even more.

 

Bill


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#56 t.r.

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Posted 15 March 2020 - 10:04 AM


If the seeing is very good and there are no storms on Mars, then for me Mars is way more interesting to observe than Jupiter! When you observe the gas giants all you are looking at is atmospheric features. On Mars however, you can spot land features which for me is way more interesting. With a 4" in good seeing I can see quite a bit with a 4". Note - the size of the planet in the sketch relative to the size of the FOV is not to scale, but much smaller. Needed to show planet larger to render the details in the sketch properly. Bottom line for me is that Mars is definitely my favorite planet to observe!




Hey Bill can you post the montage you did of other people’s Mars sketches with small aperture to illustrate what is possible?! (a few years back)

#57 laedco58

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 12:56 PM

I’ve never tried to sketch what I observe before. I’m going to give it a whirl.


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#58 Steve Allison

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 04:20 PM

Me, too.



#59 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 06:01 PM

I’ve never tried to sketch what I observe before. I’m going to give it a whirl.

 

I have..

 

Some people are not good at math. I'm good at math.

 

Some people have no sense of humor.  I have a sense of humor.

 

Some people are good at drawing..

 

My sketch attempts are a joke.. :)

 

Jon


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#60 Scott in NC

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 06:34 PM

 

If the seeing is very good and there are no storms on Mars, then for me Mars is way more interesting to observe than Jupiter!  When you observe the gas giants all you are looking at is atmospheric features.  On Mars however, you can spot land features which for me is way more interesting.  With a 4" in good seeing I can see quite a bit with a 4".  Note - the size of the planet in the sketch relative to the size of the FOV is not to scale, but much smaller.  Needed to show planet larger to render the details in the sketch properly.  Bottom line for me is that Mars is definitely my favorite planet to observe!

 

 

 

 

Beautiful sketches, Bill!
 



#61 John Huntley

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 05:03 PM

I think it's worth having a go at sketching planets at the eyepiece because the process forces you to observe more carefully.

 

I don't any post sketches when I do them because they never get beyond coarse representations and I don't even keep most of them but when I do them I find that the process of trying to sketch does help pick out the more subtle and fine details that otherwise you might miss.

 

I'm looking forward to observing Mars (sometimes with a pencil and sometimes not) with this scope later this year smile.gif

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • P1090008.JPG

Edited by John Huntley, 18 March 2020 - 05:26 PM.

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#62 BillP

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 05:35 PM

Hey Bill can you post the montage you did of other people’s Mars sketches with small aperture to illustrate what is possible?! (a few years back)

 

February Faces of Mars (ASOD).jpg
 
These sketches were created by 27 members of the www.CloudyNights.com Sketching Forum. They are based on observations of Mars on and around its opposition, from January 10th, 2010 to March 9th, 2010. Multiple mediums were used from pencil and paper to digital. The community of forum members whose sketches are shown are from the following countries: France, Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, South East Asia, United Kingdom, and USA. The instruments they used and the date of their observation is as follows:

Jay Eads  250mm Newtonian  01/10/2010
Sol Robbins  152mm Newtonian  01/11/2010
MikeSemmler  80mm Refractor  01/23/2010
Kris  203mm Newtonian  01/26/2010
Cpl43uk  203mm Catiotropic  01/23/2010
Astroducky  318mm Newtonian  01/27/2010
Sixela  400mm Newtonian  01/27/2010
CarlosEH  229mm Catiotropic  01/29/2010
Dweller25  203mm Newtonian  01/29/2010
Jeff Young  152mm Catiotropic  01/29/2010
BillP  102mm Refractor  01/31/2010
Uwe Pilz  152mm Catiotropic  01/31/2010
Rerun  102mm Refractor  02/04/2010
Special Ed  200mm Catiotropic  02/05/2010
Jef De Wit  305mm Newtonian  02/04/2010
MarkSeibold  127mm Catiotropic  02/05/2010
Phxbird  152mm Newtonian  02/07/2010
Erika Rix  406mm Newtonian  02/07/2010
Mathteacher  100mm Refractor  02/07/2010
NUNKY  120mm Refractor  02/08/2010
Frank5817  333mm Newtonian  02/13/2010
Tommy5  152mm Refractor  02/14/2010
NerfMonkey  305mm Newtonian  02/15/2010
JayScheuerle  120mm Refractor  01/20/2010
Robert Forgacs  305mm Newtonian  02/02/2010
Roel  102mm Refractor  03/01/2010
S1mas  127mm Catiotropic  03/09/2010
 
And then after I posted that on ASOD (http://www.asod.info/?p=2533), another group copied the idea and did their own a month later on APOD...
 

Edited by BillP, 18 March 2020 - 05:47 PM.

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#63 mike bacanin

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 04:22 AM

Bill,
Thank you for posting the superb montage. It is really interesting to see these observations.

Mike

#64 dweller25

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 10:04 AM

Bill,

You put a lot of work into compiling those drawings - hope you do it again this year waytogo.gif



#65 BillP

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 02:18 PM

Mars was quite sizable for me during the 2010 opposition.  Am I correct that the angular size will be much larger during this opposition?



#66 FlankerOneTwo

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 02:36 PM

Mars was quite sizable for me during the 2010 opposition.  Am I correct that the angular size will be much larger during this opposition?

I think it should be a little smaller but will be much less well positioned

 

 mars.jpg

 

Correction: at the moment it's not great, but by October will be much larger and better positioned as mikeDnight points out! Things are a little wacky in the ER at the moment, I'm a little distracted. Now that I've had a chance to look up the dates per calsky.org:

 

29 Jan 2010 opposition: mag -1.3, size 14.09"

13 Oct 2020 opposition: mag -2.6, size 22.33"

 

sorry for the confusion!


Edited by FlankerOneTwo, 19 March 2020 - 04:17 PM.

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#67 mikeDnight

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 03:23 PM

It's 22.6" arc on October 8th. So it's big!


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#68 BillP

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 04:21 PM

Excellent!!  And seeing should be a bit better in winter (here for me) as well.  I have not sketched in a number of years...better start some practicing smile.gif


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#69 Terra Nova

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 03:21 PM

I’ve enjoyed wonderfully detailed views of Mars with three, four, and five inch refractors over the past fifty plus years, and have even had fun and spent worthwhile time using excellent 60mm refractors when conditions are right. One of my best views ever was during the Great Mars Opposition one early September morning in 2003 using a Stellarvue 80/9D. With incredibly stable seeing an hour or two before sun-up, I was able to push that modest scope to 300X with a Vixen 2.5mm LV and also with a 7.5mm SV Plossl and 3X SV Barlow. Our biggest limiting factor during the  past two oppositions has not been aperture, it has been dust storms (Martian) and the extremely low angle with regard to the horizon as seen from here in the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes. I’m looking forward to turning my two Takahashi and two Vixen refractors once again towards Mars in the coming months.


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#70 Terra Nova

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 03:43 PM

But what can they see of the Earth, from Mars?

 

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

― H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds


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#71 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 04:00 PM

The July 26th, 2018 opposition, Mars was 24.3" and transited at 31.3° from San Diego.

 

For the October 13th, 2020 opposition, it will be slightly smaller at 22.3" but much better positioned at 62.6° degrees at transit from San Diego so observers in the north should get some much better views than the last time around.

 

This is most encouraging.

 

Jon


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#72 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 04:21 PM

But what can they see of the Earth, from Mars?

 

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

― H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

https://www.youtube....h?v=_5oSYlUoI2M


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#73 barbie

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 05:53 PM

For me, the best time to view Mars will be just before opposition (August & September) as October is the start of the cloudy season here in Northern Ohio. I am looking forward to observing it with both my 3"F8 and 3"F12 apos.


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#74 daquad

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 06:57 PM

For me, the best time to view Mars will be just before opposition (August & September) as October is the start of the cloudy season here in Northern Ohio. I am looking forward to observing it with both my 3"F8 and 3"F12 apos.

For me the best times are my waking and not-so-waking hours when the planet is shining in a clear sky.  It is interesting to see its changing aspect and observable detail over the several months that it is in the sky.  Like BillP, I haven't sketched in a while, (planets) but I may give it a go with the upcoming apparition.

 

Dom Q.


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#75 m9x18

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 07:52 PM

Excellent!!  And seeing should be a bit better in winter (here for me) as well.  I have not sketched in a number of years...better start some practicing smile.gif

Me too. To sharpen the eye as well as the hand, I still remember Ken Fulton's advice about sketching an egg.




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