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Mars for the first time ... Confused!


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Hi,

Yesterday I directed my telescope (106mm Aperture - 900mm focal length) to mars for the first time. I started using 17mm eyepiece but all I saw was a red dot. I used a 2x barlow lens and still a red dot !

Then I used 6mm eyepiece and still see a red dot, added the barlow but now I see a bigger red dot :(

I wanted to check if this is normal, as I was reading on other websites that with a refractor same as mine I could see more details of mars including the polar cabs but what I saw yesterday I am sure this will not happen..

Any comments?? 

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Mars needs about 150-200x to see any detail and that's towards opposition when it is closest. It is as far away as it can get pretty much at the minute so even with much more power you won't see much

detail. in spring next year, it will be a lot better you you were using 52x and 104x so will need a bit more power to see much detail. at 104x you may get hints but will be better at say 150x.

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I have the same thing going on. For a couple of reasons. I think Mars is hard for me because at the time it was low on the horizon and I think it is getting farther away. From research and comments from people at the astro club I'm pretty sure I have to wait something like 2 years. I'm not positive about the timing or the reasons Mars was a fuzzy red dot but "I think so".

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Mars needs a lot of magnification and also good conditions to get anything. Also it is at a poor position presently.

Even 150x will show a small red disk and not really a great deal else.

From reports previously 250x is often talked of, and I suspect a 900mm scope is not going the make that.

Most of the good repoerts are from owners of 10 and 11 inch SCT's and 300mm and 350mm reflectors, and even then it is not common or easy.

I just accept that all I will get is a very small red disk and call it a day - I've seen it, it's red. :eek: :eek: :eek: sort of thing.

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Mars needs a lot of magnification and also good conditions to get anything. Also it is at a poor position presently.

Even 150x will show a small red disk and not really a great deal else.

From reports previously 250x is often talked of, and I suspect a 900mm scope is not going the make that.

Most of the good repoerts are from owners of 10 and 11 inch SCT's and 300mm and 350mm reflectors, and even then it is not common or easy.

I just accept that all I will get is a very small red disk and call it a day - I've seen it, it's red. :eek: :eek: :eek: sort of thing.

I was very much of that opinion until earlier last year when I had some reasonable views showing the polar cap and faint (very faint) markings. It obviously isn't easy and we need to have Mars in the best position possible to see any detail.

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I had a brief look at it for the first time in my 250px last night, just because I could. I knew it was completely the wrong time to do so, and at x200 all I could see was a bright slightly reddish disc surrounded by atmospheric turbulence. No detail at all - but I saw Mars for the first time in something other than binoculars so I was happy enough. Roll on next year!

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Mars is or can be fun.

Reading the posts about 1/3 of the people get a good view and are happy, 2/3 seem to get poor views and it is accompanied by much wailing and crying. :eek: :eek:  Some times it gets to Oh no, Mars is becomming visible again. When it was easy last time there were people saying how good it was and more saying how poor, and that was on the same nights observing and often not a great seperation in distance.

Mars is a small object, it is always smaller then Jupiter, with Jupiter at  it's furthest and Mars at it's closest Mars will still be smaller. Depending on the magnification that you can achieve you might find that an IR filter helps see things a little better. It was something I read of, and one or two others have commented on the same.

I think that the first idea is that being closer it will be out perform Jupiter, it will not.

Presently not well positioned, and in reality not good/great until 2016, best in May. So prepare the armoury for then.

I just accept it as a small red disk, feel happy to have seen it and move on.  :grin:  :grin:  :grin: 

At present I do not even look for it, suppose I might if by chance I was observing and it was still above the horizon, but I am not going to go searching it out specifically.

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Mars is an object which I found very underwhelming when I first started viewing it. Remained that way for quite some time, which I believe is common for many people. It's a mysterious little blighter that, even under very good conditions at the right time for best observation, gives up very little when compared to its bigger cousins, Jupiter and Saturn. I think it was when I first realised that this was likely to be the case that I really started to tease some great detail out of it. Since then, I have had some awesome nights with Mars. It's a challenge and one that I find takes probably twice as much viewing patience as Jupiter, which many recommend you need to spend a good half hour with to tease out some real detail. Personally, I can't wait for Mars to be in its favourable 2016 position. I'll be spending plenty of time with it, that's for sure.

In the meantime, bring on the opposition of Jupiter over the coming weeks. This is gonna be a lot of fun!

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Thanks Joves,I think that you have hit the nail bang on the head.Personally,I saw Mars through a scope (130p) for the first time in 35 years or so,last May,and was well pleased when I was able to make out Syrtis Major and Hellas! All the books on observing Mars that I've ever read tend to state from the outset that it is a difficult target and hard work!

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There's a terrific post by Qualia (a pinned thread, in fact) on this very forum about Mars - I'd venture to suggest that it really should be required reading for anyone planning to observe it:

Mars & Observing the Red Planet

The opposition next year should be fairly good from the point of view of the apparent diameter through a scope, but it will be lowish - below 20 degrees, I think (well, from my latitude anyway) - so there could be a lot of atmosphere to look through and observing conditions will play a part. Nevertheless, I'd be hopeful of being able to get some detail out of it. I remember observing it at opposition back in early 2010 with only my little 30x60 spotting scope - it was clearly a disc with the suggestion of some differentiation. I couldn't call it detail, but the planet was smaller in view then than it will be next year - about one third of the apparent diameter of Jupiter.

That 2010 opposition was nice and high up in the winter skies. I'll be having a look next year, but October 2020 is the Mars event I'm really waiting for.

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Last spring when l first got my telescope a celestron nexstar 8 se the first night out with it l used the moon to set up my finder scope , it was a half moon as l remember and l was amazed by the detail l could see in the shadows . l then moved over to Jupiter , that was a WOW moment to see the four moons and the bands quite clearly l spent quite a long time on Jupiter that night. Then l thought l must have a look at mars , the goto found it, a small red dot so l upped the magnification and eventually l could see a hint of the polar caps and some surface detail. To be honest after Jupiter l was a little disappointed , but l now know that was the best seeing l've had of mars and l'm now looking forward to viewing mars next year when my expectations wont be as high .

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