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John

Mars: Syrtis Major on show

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Despite it's small apparent diameter (9 arc seconds) Mars is showing an interesting face tonight with the prominent dark area of the Syrtis Major nearing the centre of the planets disk at the moment. It's a distinctive dark "promontory" that projects northwards towards, but not reaching, the northern polar area. It's southern end widens out into the Mare Tyrrhenum.

My ED120 shows it very clearly just now :)

Edited by John

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I had my most clear view of Mars tonight - but saw two polar caps!

Normally I just see the northern one (at the bottom of the image in my reflector).

Tonight I saw a bright spot at both ends!

Is this really the other polar cap that I'm seeing, or something else?

This was under 340x. Tonight is exceptional - even better than last night.

Saturn was nearly pin-sharp at 340x. No wobbles in the seeing!

I was turning my attention to globulars, but a massive cloud bank just rolled in!

Edited by Codmate

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I agree. I saw both polar caps quite brightly on Friday night (plus SM of course).

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Thanks Moonshane - nice to know I'm not seeing imaginary poles!

Does this mean Mars is moving into its winter, or is it just that we have had better seeing since the cloud cleared?

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ssshhh i have clouds and no ed120 :)

Sorry about the clouds :)

I've no 16" Lightbridge so you will have the advantage on DSO's, when your clouds shift :headbang:

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Thanks Moonshane - nice to know I'm not seeing imaginary poles!

Does this mean Mars is moving into its winter, or is it just that we have had better seeing since the cloud cleared?

I think both, although my knowledge of Martian seasons is minimal.

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I observed Mars on Friday and Sunday nights. Syrtis Major was on the meridian and despite Mars getting noticeably smaller was easily seen. The northern pole cap is now small and dim. Hellas above Syrtis Major (southern limb) was very bright on both nights. Gives the appearance of being able to see both pole caps.

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