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I've also had an excellent session on Mars this evening - some of the best views I've ever had. I was using my 10" F/4.8 newtonian at 240x with the occasional foray to 300x just for fun ;)

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I had a similar experience with Mars this evening using the 4" refractor at 200-250x magnification.

Quite a lot of the surface was disernible.

Can't remember the features name but it looked like a triangular shaped dark area rising up from the southern pole to the equator ;)

Edited by MjrTom
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.....Can't remember the features name but it looked like a triangular shaped dark area rising up from the southern pole to the equator ;)

I think that was Syrtis Major ;)

It was so nice to actually do some astronomy rather than just type about it ! :)

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Thanks John, That sounds about right to me ;)

Yeah it's been a while since I have had some decent time at the eyepiece well over due ;)

Mars is a decent size at the moment.

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Can't believe it. I was out last night and the seeing was terrible. I could see the GRS and main belts/bands on Jupiter , but Mars was a blurry red ball with a polar cap. Should have stuck at it longer.

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I only did a short bout of observing last night but still managed to see much detail on Mars. The seeing was rather steady aside from the odd severe wobble and the dark surface markings of Syrtis Major could easily be seen 171x with the 7mm ortho and a 200x with the 6mm SPL. I suppose the planet could've taken slightly higher magnification but as of yet I do not have a shorter FL eyepiece to take advantage of good seeing. A BST would suit me fine I think ;)

This year has already given much more pleasing views from the previous opposition when I could only make out a very small disk with the faintest hint of the ice cap and nothing more. Back then I was only armed with the supplied 10mm eyepiece whereas now I have a much broader range of magnifications to choose from, yet somehow still not enough ;)

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Was also looking at Mars last night, but mine was for the first time. Was probably doing a few things wrong though as it didn't give any decernable detail. Also just looked yellowish. Did use my barlowed Hyperion 24mm and also tried out my stock 9mm ep, but with little or no detail. Perhaps it could partially be down to my lack of experience at the eyepiece. Also while trying to focus the whole rig kept wobbling so that was a pain as well. I considered a while ago getting some Celestron anti vibration pads. The high price tag initially put me off, but if they work then they could be a worthwhile investment.

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Detail on Mars is very subtle and it takes me a good 5-10 minutes at the eyepiece to pick out the detail.

Once I realise what I am looking at its far easier then to see it each time ;)

Edited by MjrTom
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The comments so far pretty much mirror my own last night. I was using my 6" f5 which I bought recently as I has promised my neighbour and his youngsters a look at the moon and Jupiter and the kids cannot reach the eyepieces if my big dob or planetary newt! As I observed Mars for a bit I quickly realised I had the wrong scope out! despite this I also got the best views of Mars I have ever had. up to about 200x the view was intermitently excellent and like John I wound the nagler zoom to 3.5mm occasionally giving about 230-250x but the image was more stable at about 180x.

this image shows pretty much what I was seeing. http://stargazerslounge.com/imaging-planetary/178244-first-attempt-mars.html

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Similar experiences here tonight. The seeing seems quite good even though there is a fair bit of hazy cloud around.

Using the nag zoom all the way up to 3mm, even tried the 2.5 t6 in the 106mm and it held up very well. Best at between x200 to 230.

Polar cap quite clear, plus some dark markings in the surface. Best I've seen for quite a few years. Shame Sirtis Major doesn't seem to be on show tonight.

Stu

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Same here Stu, currently using the Nagler zoom around 200x-250x with some great surface detail. The transparency is not great but the air is steady.

Syrtis Major is just starting to come into view. It's sitting on the eastern limb of Mars ;)

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Great, just popped in for a little sit down so will go back out and have a look in a little while, haven't seen Syrtis Major this time around. Thanks for the spelling correction too!

Really need to get the mak out and have a look at Mars with it, should be pretty good!

Stu

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Lol I cut and pasted from John's post earlier ;)

I would say that the Big Mak would be perfect, well once it cooled down to ambient temps ;)

Edited by MjrTom
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Shame Goonrdolly. It's really quite stunning here now. Syrtis Major now coming in to view and it's very clear. Lots of detail to be seen.

Main problem is dew. Haven't got my dew strips on so will have to call it a day soon. Work tomorrow anyway ;)

Stu

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Wow. Despite getting completely dewed up at the end, those were some of the best views I've ever had of Mars. Seeing was pretty good, Syrtis Major really clear, as were the other darker markings. It's amazing how it takes magnification better than Jupiter, x240 and it was very clear. Even x276 with the 2.5 t6 was good, pretty good for a 4"!

Everything is soaking wet so have packed in for the night, very happy though.

Stu

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I never thought that I would find Mars so compelling but this opposition is becoming quite exceptional. Syrtis Major and other prominent markings now very clear despite a hazy sky. My best views so far have been with a Baader Hyperion 13 mm EP giving a magnification of 215x. There is a very good article about observing Mars in the March Sky at Night magazine which I have found extremely useful.

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Quite agree mike. It's great, we all seem to be having very good viewing with mars, and similar results in terms of best magnification. It's amazing how much detail there is to be seen

Stu

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Agree with the comments on the surface detail showing well, it was my best night observing Mars since I looked though a telescope. ;) Around 10.00pm, by which time the 925 had been cooling down for 5 hours and Mars rising well, I had another long view of it and I was making out Syrtis Major along with some patchy tones of brown with some smaller areas giving off strong dark tones, one line was running along the inside edge of the Western limb. I am surprised how well detail appeared to me after recent observations only showing the Northern Polar region. Stuck with the 13mm ep all night. Dew has put pay to any more observing for me, what a contrast from last Friday when the telescope was out for around 8 hours with no sign of it to be seen.

Am very happy to have observed it showing so nicely, shame we have to wait around 5/6 years for it to get up close and personnel, it will surely be one majestic sight. ;)

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Edit to my post,

I should have also said, I did not find it to be too bright, I prefer not to use any filters when observing most objects, a symptom of using TV eyepieces perhaps. The view given was crisp and well defined once focused well.

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