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Mars - November/December 2020

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#26 Rutilus

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 07:14 AM

Observation made on the evening of the 6th. Observing through patches of freezing  fog that kept coming and going.

Seeing was average and at times I was having some very nice steady views of Mars.

Syrtis Major and Mare Cimmerium were seen well. The shape of Hellas was visible but no actual detail visible within.

 

A faint finger like protrusion was seen extending down from Utopia towards Libya and Syrtis minor.

Some nice subtle markings visible in the southern region. The SPC was seen well at all times and had a dark collar 

around its outer edge.

Clouds/haze visible at the north polar hood, on the preceding and following limbs.

Filters used were #12,#21,#80A, Baader semi-apo and contrast booster.

The most detail was seen with no filtration. 

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#27 George9

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 08:45 AM

A very nice run of seeing. This in a 10" f/5 with a 3.5mm Delos on 2020-11-08 at 01:00. The southern polar cap was still visible, maybe a little smaller than I drew it. The glow over the northern limb was a little thinner than drawn here. I accentuated the contrast so you can see what I was seeing, but the actual view was much more subtle.

 

George

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2020-11-07 Mars 10inch.jpg

Edited by George9, 08 November 2020 - 04:51 PM.

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#28 TiSaph

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 10:24 AM

Here's last night (Nov 7) from my front yard.  Warm temperatures and steady seeing.  I was using my Zhumell Z8 8" dob and a Pentax 5mm XW for 240X, about the max I can get detail out of planets with.  I was also using my new Baader Contrast Booster (thanks EyePiecesEtc for getting it here so fast!), which is subtle but is definitely my favorite on Mars.  I'm quite pleased with the amount of detail that was visible - I look for the polar cap which is always great and try to get as much from the dark albedo features as I can.  My daughter was buzzing around me eating Halloween candy.

 

 

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#29 Mikoka

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 11:27 AM

Hi at all,

 

very nice scetches here to see - thank you for sharing.

 

Regards  Michael



#30 bblamo

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 09:33 PM

On the 5th of November the seeing was better than average.

I could see the polar cap and another bright area near center and right side.

I have never noticed this bright area before.  I let Mars pass through the FOV several times and when the seeing became very calm this bright spot was visible every time.  It was nearly the same brightness as the polar cap.

The sketch attached is from my iPad during the observation so it is a bit crude.

Stellarium shows an area called "Ophir" as a Geographic area distinguished by amount of reflected light.

I've searched a bit on CN and I have not found anyone describing Ophir.

Has anyone else noticed this bright spot?

Attached Thumbnails

  • Mars 110520.png

Edited by bblamo, 08 November 2020 - 09:34 PM.

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#31 E_Look

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 01:22 AM

Here's last night (Nov 7) from my front yard.  Warm temperatures and steady seeing.  I was using my Zhumell Z8 8" dob and a Pentax 5mm XW for 240X, about the max I can get detail out of planets with.  I was also using my new Baader Contrast Booster (thanks EyePiecesEtc for getting it here so fast!), which is subtle but is definitely my favorite on Mars.  I'm quite pleased with the amount of detail that was visible - I look for the polar cap which is always great and try to get as much from the dark albedo features as I can.  My daughter was buzzing around me eating Halloween candy.

TiSaph, nice drawing.

What you drew was what I saw both early evening tonight and early evening two days ago as well, from 147x up to 288x.  I was able to see that little white dot of a northern polar ice cap, but Hellas I couldn't see, even with a neutral density filter; Mars this season is just too bright for my system.

 

George9 and bblamo, what you guys drew I saw on Mars in the later part of the evenings.  Also nice drawings on your respective parts as well, very accurate.


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#32 Abhat

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 06:58 AM

Here's last night (Nov 7) from my front yard.  Warm temperatures and steady seeing.  I was using my Zhumell Z8 8" dob and a Pentax 5mm XW for 240X, about the max I can get detail out of planets with.  I was also using my new Baader Contrast Booster (thanks EyePiecesEtc for getting it here so fast!), which is subtle but is definitely my favorite on Mars.  I'm quite pleased with the amount of detail that was visible - I look for the polar cap which is always great and try to get as much from the dark albedo features as I can.  My daughter was buzzing around me eating Halloween candy.

Nice sketch. I had similar views in my Zhumell Z8 dob yesterday. Seeing was very good and I was able to reach magnification of 300X. In fact, despite of reduced size, last night was the best view I have had due to exceptional seeing. Polar cap is still a very tiny white dot.


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#33 TiSaph

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 09:20 AM

TiSaph, nice drawing.

What you drew was what I saw both early evening tonight and early evening two days ago as well, from 147x up to 288x.  I was able to see that little white dot of a northern polar ice cap, but Hellas I couldn't see, even with a neutral density filter; Mars this season is just too bright for my system.

 

George9 and bblamo, what you guys drew I saw on Mars in the later part of the evenings.  Also nice drawings on your respective parts as well, very accurate.

I think the Baader Contrast Booster was instrumental here.  It's not night and day, but it did what I really felt Mars needed: upped the contrast on the darker albedo features, and they go from "a few hints" for me to "a few clear dark features and some subtle features that can be teased out with time".  Hellas was a marginally observable feature.



#34 Mikoka

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 10:03 AM

Hello,

I have a scetch from yesterday; very good condition until fog closed the curtain for

everything.....

kind regards  Michael

 

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#35 E_Look

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 05:21 PM

I think the Baader Contrast Booster was instrumental here.  It's not night and day, but it did what I really felt Mars needed: upped the contrast on the darker albedo features, and they go from "a few hints" for me to "a few clear dark features and some subtle features that can be teased out with time".  Hellas was a marginally observable feature.

Hmmm, another vote for the Baader Contrast Booster!  I'm leaning more toward one!
 



#36 Special Ed

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 11:34 AM

On the 5th of November the seeing was better than average.

I could see the polar cap and another bright area near center and right side.

I have never noticed this bright area before.  I let Mars pass through the FOV several times and when the seeing became very calm this bright spot was visible every time.  It was nearly the same brightness as the polar cap.

The sketch attached is from my iPad during the observation so it is a bit crude.

Stellarium shows an area called "Ophir" as a Geographic area distinguished by amount of reflected light.

I've searched a bit on CN and I have not found anyone describing Ophir.

Has anyone else noticed this bright spot?

It's possible that you saw the small dust storm that had started in the Ganges/Juventae Fons/Ophir area.  Look at the image and map on the right in this link from Skybox.  Ophir is an area on the classic Mars maps that is just west of Aurorae Sinus.

 

https://pbase.com/sk...image/171194261


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#37 Special Ed

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 11:53 AM

It's good to see all the sketches posted here along with the reports.  Sketching helps improve one's observing skills and it shows here.  smile.gif

 

I had an opportunity to observe Mars Sunday night with decent seeing conditions.  It had been two and a half weeks since I last observed and I was surprised to find that Mars is culminating much earlier now--no doubt partly due to going off daylight saving time and partly to Mars's retrograde motion.

 

Syrtis Major, S. Sabaeus, and S. Meridiani all appeared dark (with some variation in Syrtis).  Deucalionis Regio and Noachis were dull and Pandorae Fretum dusky.  Hellas was ill-defined.  Mist and clouds covered a good part in from the following limb and bluish clouds were on the preceding limb getting brighter north towards Libya.  The SPC was very small but bright and appeared oval shaped.  Even though the disk is 97% illuminated now, it still appeared circular to my eye.

 

2020-11-09-0200-MR-CM330.jpg


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#38 csphere.d

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 10:25 PM

November 11, 2020:  6 - 7 pm  (0100-0200 UT)   

 

After a couple weeks of below average seeing, I finally caught a night of really good seeing.  I had some nice views using my 102mm f/7 ED at 204x to 238x.  Mars was at 28 degrees when I started my session and made it to 40 degrees before the seeing began to deteriorate.  The Almanac has Mars at 18 arcsec and 96% illuminated.  It is still hard to detect the beginning of the gibbous phase, however it does appear to me ever so slightly out of round.  

 

Syrtis Major was front and center as it made its familiar "Y" shape along with Mares Tyrrhenum and Serpentis.  As the seeing improved, I could make out Hellas along with other surrounding dark albedos.  The SPC was very distinct and appeared as an irregular shaped white oval with dark edging.  The overall color appeared pale orange without the use of filters.  When the seeing began to regress, I added the use of a Baader Contrast Booster that helped keep the image sharp.  

 

I did not notice the NPH, but there was an accumulation of limb haze and brightening along the southern preceding limb.  There was limb brightening along the entire following limb.

 

Nice evening with prime time Mars!  waytogo.gif


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#39 M Schnittker

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 05:02 PM

On 8 November 2020 night around 9pm EST I viewed Mars in my 6" f/10 refractor.  I used Brandon 16mm and 12mm eyepieces with Dakin 2.4X Barlow.  So powers were around 92 and 122 and 240 and 300 when Barlowed.  Seeing was what I call in and out, magnification held up well at those higher powers, the image improving as Mars rose higher in the sky and the more I looked, as commented by others taking time to look for several minutes adds a lot.  Everything was some shade of orange it seemed. The polar cap was an oval pearl, quite obvious.  The main shading was a triangle in middle that I think was Syrtis Major.  There were moments when seeing showed more detail but very fleeting.  I was viewing straight through without a diagonal and it was a literal pain in the neck as the mount is about 5 feet high off the ground and the tube long even at "only" f/10.  The scope is on an old Criterion German equatorial mount built for 6" reflectors but held up well and the clock drive well kept Mars in the field of view for 5 or more minutes of time once aligned, I was pleased.  I am now shortening the tube to accommodate that diagonal and will be ready I hope after the rain stops, perhaps tomorrow night 13 Nov 20 will be clear.  The inside is heavily baffled which I think helps.  I will try filters next opportunity. This is a real opportunity for folks who've never seen anything on Mars, the polar cap at least should be obvious even in a smaller scope.  All the best! Clear skies!


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#40 jmccown

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 09:57 PM

Even though Mars is shrunk down to 17 seconds of angle, I'm getting the best views tonight (Nov 16 at about 02:45 UT) of the entire opposition. The seeing at my location has improved drastically. 

 

Syrtis Major, Mare Tyrrhenium, and Mare Cimmerium are easy to make out. The South Polar cap sometimes shows itself and sometimes not.

 

It's easy to discern the gibbous shape now. The fact that much of the following limb is no longer illuminated makes the gibbousness more obvious. You can see the usual bright haze on the preceding limb, but not the following.

 

This is amazing detail for an 80 mm refractor.


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#41 mikemarotta

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 10:54 AM

My refractors are more modest.

1: Explore Scientific 102mm (f/6.47) 

2: National Geographic 70 mm (f/10)

Celestron Lens and Filter Kit.

 

Mars 3-3.png

12 November 2020 1948 hrs CST (UTC-6).

25 mm with 2x Barlow (52x) plus Orange-Yellow 12 Filter.

(Best of 6 sketches since 11 October)

 

 


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#42 Special Ed

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 03:38 PM

Good sketch, Mike.  You saw Syrtis Major and Mare Tyrrhenum.  waytogo.gif


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#43 NorthernlatAK

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 05:32 PM

I was finally able to get out and observe a couple nights ago after a few weeks of bad weather.  Mars is definitely fading but good details are still seen. Meridiani was front and center and Hellas was close to the limb. Limb clouds obscured Syrtis Major. The spc was miniscule and the NPH was seen with a slight blue tone. On the southwest limb on the terminator was a bright blob, more easily seen than Hellas, and a bit larger. Most of the western limb seemed washed out. I believe I was seeing the current dust storm that started by Vallis Marinaris around the 11th or 12th of Nov.  Quite a nice surprise after not observing for several weeks and lucky to get the dust storm swinging into view. 

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#44 csphere.d

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 09:29 PM

I have been out the last several evenings just after dusk trying to catch Mars above 30 degrees altitude before the seeing deteriorates.  With limited success, I have had some decent views.  I agree with jmccown that the gibbous phase is now readily detectable.  Almanac has the disk at just under 17 arcsec and 95% illuminated. 

 

Mars continues to appear pale orange in color to my eyes with the dark albedo features contrasted with detail as seeing permits.  The SPC is indeed small but well defined with a dark edging on most nights.  The NPH has been more elusive in my 4" refractor, detectable only in good seeing.  Brightening along the preceding limb has been consistent.  

 

Still enjoying Mars here on my porch!  waytogo.gif


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#45 Rutilus

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 05:28 AM

I was finally able to get out and observe a couple nights ago after a few weeks of bad weather.  Mars is definitely fading but good details are still seen. Meridiani was front and center and Hellas was close to the limb. Limb clouds obscured Syrtis Major. The spc was miniscule and the NPH was seen with a slight blue tone. On the southwest limb on the terminator was a bright blob, more easily seen than Hellas, and a bit larger. Most of the western limb seemed washed out. I believe I was seeing the current dust storm that started by Vallis Marinaris around the 11th or 12th of Nov.  Quite a nice surprise after not observing for several weeks and lucky to get the dust storm swinging into view. 

I observed Mars last night at 19:45 UT (CM 147 degrees). On the preceding limb towards the south I observed a large bright 

semi-circle feature, at first I thought it was the hellas basin.  Going further north on the preceding limb were some white clouds/haze.

The large semi-circle feature was brighter than the limb clouds. Without filters the feature looked white in color to me, other

observers are reporting a more yellowish color.  Looking on a map the feature I observed would have been around the Solis Lacus region.


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#46 Mikoka

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:53 PM

Hello Rutilus,

 

it is a dust storm 

 

Michael


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#47 Rutilus

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 03:38 PM

Just been observing the dust storm again this evening. 19:00 - 20:00 U.T. with the C.M. at around 134 degrees.

Seeing conditions were very poor, but the dust storm was easily seen.  It did not appear to me to be as bright

as last night. Again a Hellas like feature seen on the preceding limb with a finger like extension extending at an

angle pointing towards the center of the planet.  Tonight the storm had a slightly yellowish tint to my eyes.

Best views were obtained without filters. 


Edited by Rutilus, 19 November 2020 - 03:39 PM.

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#48 John Huntley

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 04:06 PM

Just been observing the dust storm again this evening. 19:00 - 20:00 U.T. with the C.M. at around 134 degrees.

Seeing conditions were very poor, but the dust storm was easily seen.  It did not appear to me to be as bright

as last night. Again a Hellas like feature seen on the preceding limb with a finger like extension extending at an

angle pointing towards the center of the planet.  Tonight the storm had a slightly yellowish tint to my eyes.

Best views were obtained without filters. 

I've been observing this feature this evening as well. Your description is very good. I described it as a pale corridor though the darker terrain in my notes.

 

Paul G Able in the UK produced two excellent drawings of this feature about an hour apart last night which I've reversed to show the refractor view and I've arrowed the feature that I observed:

Attached Thumbnails

  • Mars_2020-11-18_1841UT_visual_PAbel.png

Edited by John Huntley, 19 November 2020 - 04:06 PM.

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#49 davidc135

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 03:39 AM

PB201527a.jpg

 

Here's a drawing taken 2 days ago at x160 with an 8'' sct in so-so, below average seeing.

 

David


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#50 JOEinCO

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 05:38 AM

Here's a drawing taken....in so-so, below average seeing.

That's what I've got lately.... crazyeyes.gif  


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