[Chaos-l] Get Out And See Mars!
md_south at mac.com
Mon Jan 18 21:32:55 EST 2010
Yes, this was the best I have ever seen Mars. The polar cap was the
most amazing feature I have ever seen in any planetary observation.
On Jan 17, 2010, at 10:58 AM, Robert Nielsen wrote:
> I was out last Friday as well as Jorge and Jon ... but I went to
> Medoc Mountain State Park, where I met Bruno Pancorbo, Mark South,
> and Allen Davis. Since Greg Fishel had backed off his forecast
> that clouds would be showing up at 3 AM, I brought my big scope
> (referred to by my wife as "the mistress") and planned to stay the
> whole night. I'm glad I brought the bigger scope, because one of
> the highlights of the night was Mars! That scope does pretty well
> on the planets.
> I guess our view of Mars was better than Jon's and Jorge's for a few
> reasons. First, we didn't have a huge heat sink (Jordan Lake) to
> the south of us. Medoc does have a low light dome to the south,
> probably caused by Rocky Mount, but there is not really any water
> close by. Also, we started looking at Mars after Mark arrived, a
> little bit before midnight. At that point, Mars was very, very
> high in the sky - around 70 degrees in altitude.
> In any case, the seeing right around where Mars was actually was
> pretty good. Allen and I could push the magnification up beyond
> 300x. In fact, I put the 5mm Nagler in my scope, and while the view
> wasn't perfect, it was usable. But I settled in and used the 9mm
> eyepiece, which gave a magnification of 396X. You could *easily*
> see the polar ice cap that is prominent on the planet now (you can
> see it with even a very small scope or binoculars ... it is much
> larger than the last time I really looked at Mars) because there is
> a dark area that borders it. And Friday night, there was a darker
> area on the other pole of the planet (the south pole?) with portions
> that poked up into the middle of the planet along one of its
> limbs. Even better, there were some features you could see in the
> center of the planet and some structure to some of the dark areas.
> What was amazing was the view when Mark let us borrow his "Mars
> filter". Allen mentioned that he wasn't much of a fan of using
> colored filters to look at planets. I tend to agree ... I know
> that people say they enhance certain characteristics of the view ...
> but I've always thought that I could see those features without a
> filter, and it looked more natural. Well, the filter Mark had
> definitely changed my mind. Without a doubt, it enhanced both the
> canali and the polar ice caps and seemed to bring out more detail.
> In fact, it brought out enough detail that we could see the
> structure in the southern darker area and I could see the darker
> "spots" around Elysium Mons. This filter really did seem to work
> and the pinkish hue that it cast on the planet was not objectionable
> at all. Thanks again, Mark, for letting us borrow it!
> For more information about the filter, go to: http://www.astromart.com/articles/article.asp?article_id=597
> And to see what I think is the view we saw last Friday night, go to http://www.marsbase.net/m/mars-from-earth.php
> with a Java-enabled browser and enter the date 2010 1 16 and the
> time 4 15 (this is UTC, so it is 5 hours ahead of our local time).
> I think that is pretty close to what we saw (well, not as detailed,
> obviously) but the northern ice cap was much, much larger.
> Consider it to have covered most of the darker area at the top of
> the map.
> And to see what the features are named on Mars, go to http://www.marsbase.net/m/mars-map.php
> I will try to write up more of the observing session on my blog in
> the next week. But I really enjoyed the time last Friday night ...
> I needed a good, all-nighter under the stars ... with a fire close
> by to warm me up ...
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