Dismiss Notice
New Cookie Policy
On May 24, 2018, we published revised versions of our Terms and Rules and Cookie Policy. Your use of AstronomyConnect.com’s services is subject to these revised terms.

The Journey to Mars Begins...

Discussion in 'Observing Celestial Objects' started by Orion25, Jun 14, 2020.

The Journey to Mars Begins...

Started by Orion25 on Jun 14, 2020 at 5:28 AM

25 Replies 1443 Views 0 Likes

Reply to Thread Post New Thread
  1. Orion25

    Orion25 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Posts:
    1,351
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Georgia
    Nice report, Mak. I was out till the wee hours myself last night with my 180mm Mak-Cass doing some planetary imaging and observing of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. All of them looked magnificent, especially Jupiter which was absolutely brilliant with all of the Galilean moons to one side. Beautiful, distinctive cloud bands were visible through the scope. It will only get better as opposition approaches on the 14th. Saturn was no slouch either, revealing not only the amazing Cassini Division but Encke as well, and beautiful cloud bands. Visually, Mars was a stunning ruddy beacon as it rose with the waning gibbous moon in the East around 2:30 a.m. EDT (very striking). Through the scope, phase was apparent as well as albedo features. It was all too excited to see features on Mars, but I'm cautiously optimistic after 2018's global wind storm. I'm sorting through my imaging data right now which looks promising.
     
    Mak the Night likes this.
  2. Mak the Night

    Mak the Night Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2016
    Posts:
    4,335
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Thanks Reggie. Looks like you had a pretty good session with that 180mm. I had another session this morning, although I took the ED72 out as the ED80 was still a bit dewed. This time I took dew heaters for the OTA and finder. I had a bit of a rich field session then viewed Saturn and Jupiter. As Mars came into view I turned my attention to that. I got to try a couple of different filters on Mars this time. I only went to 168x (TV Powermate 5x plus 12.5mm KK ortho') but I could still see a fair bit of detail considering. The seeing was better than the other day. I used a Baader Contrast Booster and a Sirius CE1 stacked with a single polarising filter. The Contrast Booster is a bit like a Wratten #15. Both filters are basically yellow, although I believe the now discontinued CEI is also an interference filter. They both warmed the image somewhat and seemed to improve darker albedo features.

    PRLxXsZ.jpg

    After a bit of a session with Mars I was going to wait for the Moon to get a bit higher. It was about 02:45. I walked back to the house for a drink of water and just had my hand on the door handle when I glanced to my right down the garden path. Right over the roof of the house in the next road was Comet NEOWISE. It's huge forked tail almost vertically upright. I hadn't noticed it before as I was so engrossed with Mars. I never made it into the house but went back down to the scope. Then ended up going back up again for my Lumicon Comet Filter lol. I got magnifications of around 117x, 60x, 30x and 22x. This thing is bloody spectacular! I could see the nucleus very brightly with the filter and the tail(s) showed definite nuances. As the encroaching daylight dimmed the comet I turned to the Moon. Seeing was a good Antoniadi II and there was plenty of detail. Highlights were Mons Pico and Rupes Recta. Everything was a bit of an anticlimax after NEOWISE though.
     
    Orion25 likes this.
  3. Mak the Night

    Mak the Night Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2016
    Posts:
    4,335
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I got a pretty decent session this morning between around 02:30 & 03:30 BST. I was using the ED80 and a 3mm DeLite again, although this time with a Baader Contrast Booster.

    dew.jpg

    I've finally sorted the dewing problem. This Astrozap is dual channel so I can up the output on the objective heater band while just giving the finder enough juice to stop it dewing. So I'm a happy bunny again lol.

    Mars.jpg

    I was pretty excited about the fact I could see Syrtis Major. It was the first documented surface feature on another planet.
    Christiaan Huygens was the first to draw it on a map in 1659 apparently. Must have been a bit of a conversation piece with him and his mates down the pub at the time.

    mars mirror.jpg

    I saw it reversed though as I was using a Takahashi prism rather than an Amici. I could see the southern pole and the phase not unlike the above picture, except a lot smaller of course. Syrtis Major is always pretty much unmistakable even in smaller scopes. I didn't see any 'clouds' over the southern pole this time, although there was the hint of a bright albedo feature above the northern pole, which may actually have been clouds.

    mars atlas bolloxed.jpg

    What I definitely didn't see at 03:30 is this above. Mars Atlas has finally lost it! I've checked other software like SN8 and they all show Syrtis Major in the same position at 03:30 BST/02:30 UTC. So I don't know what's going on with Mars Atlas. Probably showing the Martian surface as seen from Alpha bloody Centauri or something lol.



    Oh yeah, I saw the Pleiades and a rising Venus as well. I didn't see Venus through the scope as I was just packing up when I noticed it.
     
    Orion25 likes this.
  4. Mak the Night

    Mak the Night Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2016
    Posts:
    4,335
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I got a Mars session this morning from about 03:00 ~ 03:45 British Summer Time.

    uPFacBW.jpg

    This time used the 102mm Altair Starwave ED-R. Seeing and transparency had been below average most of the night but picked up around 02:30. The transparency improved drastically, although the seeing was about an Antoniadi II. I thought with the extra aperture I might get 236x. Although anything more than 200x was pushing it.

    mars.jpg

    I used a Baader Contrast Booster and surface detail was visible. The southern pole was still a bit yellow, although that might have been the filter lol. The Arcadia Planitia region was covered in white clouds again, although this time they were unmistakable and appeared more extant than previous observation. Whether this was due to the Starwave's extra twenty two millimetres of aperture or not isn't clear. Mars is getting quite high so I'm optimistic for a decent opposition in forty five days time, when it will be 42° in altitude from my location. I believe Mars is at perihelion on 3/8/20 which is traditionally the dust storm season! So fingers crossed right? lol

     
    Orion25 likes this.
  5. Orion25

    Orion25 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Posts:
    1,351
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Georgia
    Fingers, toes and eyes crossed, lol! Nice report. I'm waiting until Mars rises at a more decent hour before I do anymore serious observing. These late night/early mornings get me some times :p
     
    Mak the Night likes this.
  6. Mak the Night

    Mak the Night Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2016
    Posts:
    4,335
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Thanks Reggie. Yeah it might be time to invest in a lucky rabbit's foot, although not if you're a rabbit I suppose lol. I was so determined to catch Mars as the last time I had the Starwave out I packed up when it clouded over. By the time I'd finished and carried everything back up the garden the clouds disappeared and I saw a naked eye Mars. So I thought this time I'll wait it out. Transparency wasn't great and I switched to some rich field and deep sky. But around 02:30 it started to clear. I had a decent session on some other things as well. Eventually it started to get light. I saw the Pleiades, a sure sign autumn is coming.
     
    Orion25 likes this.

Share This Page