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Mars 2018

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Mars 2018

Postby Aratus » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:43 pm

A few nights ago, I tried to look at Mars, but the top of a Leylandi got in the way. The next day I lopped a couple more inches off the top, and last night (23rd July) I was ready for it. Mars gets close to the earth about every 2 years, but the actual distance varies. This year is particularly close, but it is also very low down from the northern hemisphere. Mars came into view at about 11:15pm local time, and was around 8 degrees above the SSE horizon. I expected the contrast to be low - being down in the murk - but this was exceptionally bad. It turns out that Mars is having huge dust storm! This image was taken at 2340UT. ISO 400 and 1/400sec. 800 images and stacked best 80.
Image
The size of the disk is pretty large by Martain standards, about 24 arcsecs. The south polar ice cap is just about visible (at the bottom). Some clouds are visible on the eastern (left) edge. The darkish feature on the western side is Mare Erythraeum and Solus Lacus. It is a real shame that this dust storm is spoiling this opportunity to see the features of Mars close up.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby Graeme1858 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:45 pm

It's a good time for naked eye planet spotting. Mars is almost as bright as Venus at the moment, I've never seen it so bright. Shame about that dust storm at the moment. Is there an estimate on how long it is likely to last? I get my new telescope in a few weeks!
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby Aratus » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:22 pm

You may be fortunate, the dust storm is clearing, and features should start to appear over the next few weeks. Hopefully these Earth-bound thunderstorms we have been having will clear our atmosphere too and give us a better view from our end! Martain features are well placed for UK observers until the middle of August. (The 'boring' side of Mars is then turned towards us!)
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby Graeme1858 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:37 pm

I was just sat playing with Sky Safari and noticed it was reporting an ISS fly over. So I rushed out and had a look. Spotted the ISS, can't miss it when it's clear! And spotted Mars too, which is good because there was no sign of it on the 27th!
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Celestron Nexstar Evolution 9.25"
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby Gfamily2 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:07 am

Graeme1858 wrote:I was just sat playing with Sky Safari and noticed it was reporting an ISS fly over. So I rushed out and had a look. Spotted the ISS, can't miss it when it's clear! And spotted Mars too, which is good because there was no sign of it on the 27th!

And Saturn too, further west and a bit higher.
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby Graeme1858 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:48 am

Gfamily2 wrote:
Graeme1858 wrote:I was just sat playing with Sky Safari and noticed it was reporting an ISS fly over. So I rushed out and had a look. Spotted the ISS, can't miss it when it's clear! And spotted Mars too, which is good because there was no sign of it on the 27th!

And Saturn too, further west and a bit higher.


Could have walked down the drive to the gap in the trees to see further west to see Saturn but I was in my pants! :lol:
_______________________________________
Miranda 10x50 Binoculars
Skywatcher Dobsonian 10"
Celestron Nexstar Evolution 9.25"
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby Aratus » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:54 pm

I had another go at Mars on 31st July. The conditions were not too good. I couldn't really tell if the features were any clearer. The Sinus Sabaeus should be dead centre, but there is nothing here that I could recognise.
Image

Graeme1858 wrote:Could have walked down the drive to the gap in the trees to see further west to see Saturn but I was in my pants! :lol:

I've heard of using the 'naked eye' in astronomy - but never a naked anything else!
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby Graeme1858 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:10 pm

Well, yeah, it might be ok at home in the back garden but we're in the middle of nowhere in Ireland at the moment staying in a cottage in Tipperary and the southern aspect is out the front door!

Mars doesn't appear to have changed too much over the last week.
_______________________________________
Miranda 10x50 Binoculars
Skywatcher Dobsonian 10"
Celestron Nexstar Evolution 9.25"
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby Aratus » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:19 pm

I agree. The conditions were not very good. With Mars you need to make as many observations as you can in the hope that one of them turns out good. Two years ago I got the best Mars photo I've ever had. This what I would hope we would be seeing now.

Image

Mars was higher then, and no dust storms. It was a particularly steady night too.

There is still time though.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: Mars 2018

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:21 pm

I haven't had a decent photo yet. I've seen a few features on Mars. I think the dust storm is settling.
How can I be one with the universe when we don't know what 96% of it is.

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