Re: [lx90] Mars
- Monte- sounds like your perserverence paid off. Glad you had a good night
with Mars. It truly is a wonderful sight right now.....take it all in and
enjoy it; it will be another 17 years before it is at least this good!
You are correct with the polar caps and that is "what" you were seeing
before: ice caps. As Mars approaches the sun in its highly elliptical
orbit, it is much more prone (for many reasons) to "losing" its ice caps
more readily than is Earth; rarely does the SPC completely dissipate, but
nearly always does the northern cap when closest to the sun (and hence, very
close to Earth). As these caps melt or dissipate, you will see
strengthening of the darker shades as they intensify from the increase in
Martian water vapor; the darker areas you are seeing now are likely
different ones than you observed previously, but also are likely darker than
when Mars still had most of its ambient moisture locked up in ground frost
and polar cap ice.
Keep looking! Mars is NOT a static world; every hour shows a different face
as Dick Seymour has pointed out.....and every day brings some change which
we can observe with our scopes here on Earth.
And keep up that great enthusiasm....isn't that why we're all into
From: Monte L. Caudill <monte33417@...>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Thursday, May 31, 2001 11:37 PM
Subject: [lx90] Mars
>Finally got to use my scope again last night. It's been real
>cloudy here for a while. Last night was again solid overcast.
>I checked the skies one last time at 1:30am, still solid
>overcast so I gave up and was watching TV. Looked out my
>bedroom window at 2:00am and thought I saw Mars so I went
>outside. Unbelievable!! The sky was crystal clear. Out went
>me and the scope (Quickly). When I fired up the Autostar, the
>last date was the 20th. And as I remember that was a very short
>viewing session due to clouds. So, It's been awhile since I've
>looked at Mars. Seeing was real good and good sharp focus seemed
>easier than normal. Mars looked like a totally different planet
>than what I'd been seeing. The only thing that looked familiar
>to me was the color. No large white areas as before but a lot of
>darker areas and details.
>Before, (Using star diagonal, so left/right reversed but up/down
>correct) I could always see at the bottom left, a large white
>area and a smaller one towards the top. Also not a lot of contrast
>between the lighter orange areas and the darker regions of the
>This time (Using diagonal also) there was neither a large white
>area at the bottom left nor the smaller one towards the top. There
>was kind of a circular darker spot towards the top left. And two
>large dark areas which started about 1/4 width from the left edge,
>angled down slightly all the way across to the right edge, covered
>most of the width of the planet, both at the top and bottom with
>only a thinner strip of bright orange separating the two. The
>contrast between the light and dark areas was also much better.
>Please don't laugh at my ignorance, but:
>I thought that the white areas were ice caps. Are they? And the
>planet has rotated a lot? What I mean is, at roughly the same times
>as I've been viewing Mars, its now showing a different face???
>Or were these "ice caps" just clouds and now dissipated? Hope
>not, or I'll feel real dumb.
>PS Sorry to be so long winded (With most of my posts). It's just
>that I have no one here who shares my enthusiasm for Astronomy. No
>one who wants to here too much about my excitement of what I've
>just seen etc. If my posting of my excitement(s) (long windedness)
>is out of line, please tell me to knock it off.
>To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
>Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
One of these days I do want to come and view the southern sky. There is so many targets I have only read about. Friends who have gone describe getting completely lost in unfamiliar territory where if they're lucky to spot a familiar constellation, find it upside down from what they are use to.
We've had a number of large wildfires in our part of the world these past weeks, that isn't helping the seeing. I volunteer at our RASC observatory. We opened on late Thursday night for some Mars viewing. In our 17" reflector it showed just a featureless disc. In our 7" refractor I thought I could make out a polar cap for very brief periods but can't say for sure. I'll be trying again with my own scope this weekend.