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WaveSoarer

Jupiter and Mars 18/3/14

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It was clear in South Oxfordshire from about eight o'clock last night, though it took a while for the last of the cloud to clear, and I set the scope up to have another view of Jupiter and Mars. The seeing was poor for quite a while and I only caught fleeting glimpses of the GRS on Jupitet at 300x. I watched it from mid transit until it dissapeared but it was quite tricky viewing. There were tantalising periods where the view improved, and fine detail emerged, but these were very fleeting indeed. As Jupiter dissapeared behind the neighbours' house, Mars started to emerge from behind the trees and so I set up on this without too much expectation. Initially there were no obvious details but after a while some detail started to appear. Syrtis Major had already transited out of view but there were glimpses of dark bands near to the poles. There was a large white patch at the South pole and a very much smaller white patch at the North pole. The small patch corresponds to the melting ice cap while it turns out (from the latest FB post from Damian Peach) that the larger patch is actually a cloud over Hellas basin. I also noticed a white patch on the edge of the disc away from the poles and I reckon that this might have been the cloud over the Elysium Mons volcano that Damian Peach also managed to photograph. The seeing improved as the evening wore on but then Mars dissapeared behind another tree. I was quite pleased with my night's observing after a tricky start.

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Good description - I was caught out by the cloud over Hellas too, although it's more obvious when imaged. The observing here (I must be quite close to your location) has been very variable for the last couple of nights, giving only the odd minute here & there of decent seeing. Let's hope for better seeing when Mars is at its best......

Chris

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Indeed Chris. I'm hoping that we'll get great views in April. You must be close as your username conains the name of my village.

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