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Time to observe Mars is Now

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#51 phillip


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Posted 18 September 2020 - 01:39 AM

Yes the George9 above sketch is close to what I see, as now using an XT10. Finer detail has indeed been challenging even here in midwest. But Mars now high location has still given amazing details. Hope to see more this early AM if sky and conditions Permit, size is amazing largest detail comes in even at 170X. Awesome! 200x is often great as well. 300X with any exceptional Sky! 


Clear Sky



Pentax 7mm, 6mm takahashi I ortho

Edited by phillip, 18 September 2020 - 01:42 AM.

#52 donvegas


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Posted 19 September 2020 - 02:13 PM

The smoke cleared enough for me to get out the refractor last night.  Seeing was not very good.  Got a sense of the polar cap here and there, as well as some dark areas.  No where near as good as my last mars session.  111x was the highest magnification that I could get a way with last night. Seems like the polar cap is shrinking quite a bit.

#53 Rajput



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Posted 19 September 2020 - 02:45 PM

Revisited Mars last night with the XT10. Beautiful at 200x. I've been watching it intermittently since June - back then it was very gibbous (I believe the phase was 85%) and the SPC was obvious.


Last night, the gibbousness seemed to have gone (pretty much round to me) and the SPC was just a tiny white spec. Some additional dark features which I could not identify.

#54 George9


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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:57 AM

I had the most extraordinary Mars night last night. Seeing was predicted to be relatively poor, and I drove a couple of hours for a dark sky in what was to be a pretty transparent sky, now mostly clear of smoke. Seeing turned out to be low average, not quite poor. BUT last night I discovered something that everyone on this forum probably already knows. Low average seeing that is variable is far superior to very good seeing that is constant. Those brief seconds, say once per 10 minutes, where the view crystalizes, were amazing. Mars stood still and it looked like a processed photo. Not just the big structures, but texture on the big structures. It was just right there, briefly. This was the best view I have seen since an unusual night in 2003. I actually got choked up viewing it. Partially realizing that this is probably the last time I will ever see this, especially given I have not seen it in 17 years.


I was using an 18" f/4.3 Zambuto scope with a Denk II binoviewer, OCS, and 21 Denk eyepieces and 11 Delites. With the high-power switch, I was mostly at about 330x. At 450x and 600x, it was nice but revealed no additional detail to me. In retrospect, I am not sure I hit a crystalized moment at 600x. A breeze came in and knocked me around a bit at the highest powers, but I knew it was good news because it cools the mirror and right after a breeze passes is sometimes the best seeing combined with a cooled mirror. I installed fans, but the breeze does it better.


I so wish I could sketch it. I had another epiphany last night. It's not that my fingers are clumsy. My vision part of my mind is not well connected to thoughts and actions. I can copy a sketch fine if I can see both simultaneously, but even just a moment away and it is gone. All I can do is say yes or no, did the previous view match this sketch, so I do remember in a sense. But I cannot say what is wrong. I have learned to describe a view in words to myself. A lollipop. But when I go to draw, I literally draw a lollipop, look back in the eyepiece and say, nope, no match. Then I say, how does the view not match a lollipop, and I say well there's a bump at 3 o'clock. Back at the sketch I draw a lollipop with a bump, as if I never saw it, and then I look in the eyepiece and say no match. So I say, ok, how is this view not a lollipop with a bump. And so on. It is torture, but still a fun challenge. Photography would solve it but I am not going there. (It's funny because I am a great star hopper, but really I have the same problem. I cannot remember the shape of stars beyond a moment, so I have to describe the shape to myself, then look at the atlas or computer and find that shape in words. But I am great at transforming the description of the shape, which helps navigate the sky. Same for music. Given two notes in the same octave, and cannot tell you which is higher but I can tell you if you just duplicated it. It's weird.)


Here is what I could capture of the big structures, but they in no way reflect what I saw. These structures I could see about 50% of the time.


Great views of M82 and Stephan's Quintet last night, too.




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#55 Rick Runcie

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 05:41 PM

Good drawing of Solis Lacus, lake of the sun, commonly called, the "Eye of Mars". I was viewing this last night too. Best regards, Richard

#56 Pcbessa



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Posted 23 September 2020 - 03:42 AM

I happened to have the best view of Mars ever a few days ago. As said I was able to occasionally spot texture in the big structures.

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