Monday, May 5, 2014

Farewell Mars, welcome Saturn

still a bit of detail visible on mars, but it's fading rapidly
learned this apparition how important the weather/time of day on mars is for imaging
in addition to whether/seeing here:

here's mars at opposition very bright, poor seeing:

guessing it's late summer on mars as the polar cap (upper right) is extremely small
there's not much more detail to see
as this portion of the surface is uniform
through a small scope with mediocre seeing you'll have trouble seeing much more than an orange/tan disc.

here's mars at closest approach:


a bit more contrast, but still not much detail, making this a tough one visually as well.
btw the white dot in the center is a cloud hovering on the left side of olympus mons,
largest mountain in the solar system

and finally, a night of decent seeing
with the low albedo (dark) regions prominently on display:


the surface structure was obvious in the scope on this evening
the mid to upper right dark patch is syrtis major i think.
the dark patches are areas where wind has blown away the tan iron oxide dust
showing darker rocks

after finishing mars on the evening above
i turned the scope on a bright object rising in the east:






low magnification as it was only 30 degrees above the horizon

8"SCT FL ~2000 mm, ASI 120 MC Camera 5ms video exposures
some images barlowed 2.5x or upsampled 2x

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