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Mars Through the Clouds

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The Night
Mars opposition is pretty much upon us, with April 8th being 'the' day, However as is typical of British weather and possibly spring in general - rain, clouds and fog are forecast for my area and tonight there was a brief window of opportunity before the night sky would be blotted out.

I started setting up around 23:30 GMT (April 4th) and noted how bright Mars looked to my housemate (new housemate, so only just getting accustomed to my astronomy endeavors).

As set up proceeded with no technical hitches and I managed to get drift aligned within ten minutes (a rarity for me), I invited my housemate to look at a few objects whilst the scope cooled. Quick views of Jupiter, Mars, M13 and the double cluster ensued, it was her first time seeing anything through a scope, so I went for the easy and ones I could find quickly.

Always makes me smile to see the reaction of surprise!

I noted the distinct sound of a mounts motors whirring away in the distance, a rare happy moment, realising that someone else on my street is also as crazy as me!

Clouds and a thin haze started approaching and after about 10 minutes,  and three videos in to the session, my view was pretty much obliterated. I stuck it out, if only for a few windows of opportunity, knowing all to well that the weather was not going to give me many more chances in the coming week.

The image here is a quick process of my first video from the night, and already is by far the best image I have produced of Mars.

It's not much compared to many I have seen others produce, but I am rather pleased with it.


Object: Mars | Diameter=14.92" | Magnitude=-1.42

Date, Time and Location: 05 | 04 | 14 @ 00:17:13 GMT | Mansfield, England

Conditions: Seeing: Starting 4/5, dropping rapidly to 2/5 | Clouds | High Haze | Temperature 6-7c | Occasional Mild Gusts | Suburban Light Pollution

Equipment: Meade LX90 8" SCT | Meade 2x Shorty Barlow | ASI120mc [5.200ms | 50 Gain | 50 Gamma | 60s Duration]

Software: PIPP [Planetary Mode | Quality Estimation: 2000 Frames] | Registax [best 60% | RGB Align | RGB Balance] | Photoshop [smart Sharpen | High Pass | Curves | Vibrance | Contrast]

Edited by CKemu
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Excellent image and great write up - a shame conditions deteriorated for you as got going. Something we all experience far too often!

I had better seeing, but transparency was all over the place and difficult to maintain an even histogram.

PIPP is superb and much used in my preprocess and archiving!

typed on my mobile with Tapatalk

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Great write up, image is superb too. Well done.

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Decided to reprocess the data based on a friends recommendation, think I am leaning towards this one being the better version, any feedback welcome!

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a very nice imaging log, and both good images. i do prefer the first, i think it shows more subtle surface detail.

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Very nice capture! I agree with Pete, I prefer the original image. The second one is a bit 'bright' for me; the first has a more real feeling to it.

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