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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:13 am 
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Mars beckoned early this morning: "Come. See my north polar cap." And I did, despite poor seeing. It was quite large and bright at 2 a.m. In my mirror reversed image, it appeared at the one o'clock position.
For information on this apparition, see http://elvis.rowan.edu/marswatch/opposition.php and
http://www.alpo-astronomy.org/jbeish/2012_MARS.htm

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:25 am 
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Sorry. I forgot again to sign the last post in this topic...............Matthew McCue (doctorcos)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:42 pm 
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Hi Matthew:

I have been observing Mars at every close approach but the weather and sometimes my schedule has kept me from any observations so far. I hope to get my first view as soon as possible.

Have you ever tried sketching Mars while at the eyepiece? Trying to draw what you observe trains the eye to tease out detail. This skill is very helpful especially with Mars so small this time.

Vic Palmieri


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:14 pm 
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With everything I have going on at home, I haven't had a chance to pull out the telescope but I did see Mars naked eye and it was beautiful.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:08 am 
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Location: Maple Shade, NJ
sparklingstar930 wrote:
...I haven't had a chance to pull out the telescope but I did see Mars naked eye and it was beautiful.

Indeed, to the unaided eye, Mars is getting pretty bright; it's now at magnitude -0.8 and has a distinct ruddy coloration. I had my 12.5-inch dob out in the back yard on Monday night (Feb 6) looking at some double stars, but I did glance at Mars. The northern polar cap was prominent and it had a darkish rim, but otherwise the disc seemed relatively featureless on a casual look (the seeing wasn't that great either).

Last night (Feb 9) after sunset, Venus and Uranus were side-by-side, just a third of a degree apart. Here's a cropped picture I took with a DSLR camera at the prime focus of my 80 mm, f/6 apo refractor at 6:34 pm:

Image

Venus was at magnitude -4.1, 10,000x brighter than Uranus at magnitude +5.9 (the photo doesn't really capture the full brilliance of Venus as seen visually through the 80 mm refractor). Tonight (Feb 10), Venus will be 1 degree directly above Uranus towards the end of twilight, making it fairly easy to spot Uranus with binoculars or a small scope.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:27 pm 
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Hi Joe:

I did have the chance to view Mars on the evening of the 6th-7th. The seeing was very steady with periods of turbulence. The turbulence I attribute to rising hot air from the several chimneys in the area.

I used a 4" f/10 refractor (achromat) and 6,7, and 9mm orthos. I could see the polar cap and the dark edging you mentioned. Despite the Martian longitude at the time of observing indicationg that portion of the Martian disk with few albedo features, at times I could see some dusky markings on the planet's surface but they were difficult to discern clearly. Mars was only 12.5" wide.

The next time I'll drag out my 8" f/6 Discovery reflector.

Vic Palmieri


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