Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

stargazine_ep34_banner.thumb.jpg.28dd32d9305c7de9b6591e6bf6600b27.jpg

urchin

viewing mars at opposition?

Recommended Posts

Hi all

with mars coming round to opposition in May. I'm wondering what eyepiece I might need to make the most of this.

To go with my 250px I currently have the 10mm and 25mm that came with the scope. Also a vixen slv 6mm that gives great views of Jupiter and a 24mm 82 maxvision.

At 55.8N will Mars be high enough for me to see.

Just now I'm leaning towards an es 82 4.7 this is about the budget. Will this be to much mag or not enough? Should I consider a barlow with my slv.

Thanks for reading

clear skies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mars is going to peak at around 13°, so you might need a clear field or hilltop to see it.

I can't see anything wrong with just using the 6mm. But that's just me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the same scope and successful use a Meade 4000 4.7mm UWA as my highest magnification ep. In all honesty the nights I can use it are few but when conditions allow such high (254X) magnifications it performs very well. I should imagine the ES 4.7 would be even better.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect that at only 13 degrees, the views at opposition are unfortunately not going to be that spectacular for any of us in the North. I may be wrong, but I doubt x254 will give great views down so low as you are looking through a lot of atmosphere.

The 6mm should probably be ok, but barlowing it will be too much. Please bear in mind that I'm referring to viewing Mars down low, x254 should be useable on the Moon when it's higher up, plus on doubles and other planets when better positioned.

You can always have a practise on Saturn or Jupiter down low and see what you find. Mars won't behave in exactly the same way but you will get an idea.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whilst it will be very small, even at 120-180x you will see a surprising amount of detail and with these lesser mags you should occasionally get a small sharp disc

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will also help if it is a warm, humid night where the ground and air temperatures are not very different - there's less disturbance to seeing under these conditions.

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the years I have found Mars to be the most difficult, but interesting Planet to observe in any aperture.  From the central part of the UK, when its close (and large) its lower down than usual, so when it further away it tends to be higher (and smaller) in the sky due to its elliptical orbit, some oppositions are closer to the Earth than others - and tend to be lower in the sky - here the atmosphere really does affect the overall steadiness of the Planet.

So when its closer its obviously larger - so bigger in the EP - but much lower down in the sky - so the atmosphere really does degrade observations.  So farther away - smaller in the EP - but much steadier.

The main problem is that unlike the larger gas giants, its bright and small - so to get any real detail you need to up the mag - Mars stands rather better to higher mags than the more subtle low contrast detail - say on Jupiter.  The larger landforms - say Syrtis Major - really do stand higher mags better in my opinion - its like looking back at the Earth in the direction of the African continent - a much similar shape that you can visualise - this is what makes Mars intriguing  for me - on one hand you have the icy white really well defined Polar caps - to the darker/black major land forms - the lower contrast clouds/fog/haze are much more subtle but show very well in web cam captures that can be stacked if you have a look around the web for them - real hard rock/ice features that you could probably discern on Earth - if you were on the surface of Mars looking back at Earth except with no blue oceans.

I think a really hard target  to observe - you really need observations over many nights to build up a picture of all the surface features during one rotation or so - and its around only once every two years so a long wait - but really well worth it - at times even the larger features are very hard to discern and you really do need to spend long periods of time at the EP on Mars, only then will you appreciate how like the Earth it is - so far away ( I think a 7 month rocket journey when its at its closest to the Earth) but - hey - Matt Damion seemed to like his time there !!!

Paul.

Edited by Northern Soul man
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good post Paul - that sums Mars observing up really well :icon_biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses people. Some very interesting points. So Mars this May will be as good as it gets for 2 years. I think at 13 degrees it will be high enough for me to view from the front garden. Your right though the 4.7mm eyepiece will have other uses so may well make it to the top of the list.

Better to have it in the case, if seeing allows rather than wondering what if.

At 82 degrees will it be easy enough to track? I manage ok with the 6mm slv.

Clear skies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having a wider field of view does make it easier to track objects at high powers if you have a manually driven mount. You get more "drift + view" time between the nudges.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your question had been "What eyepiece should I put in my 250px DoB for viewing Mars? My answer would have been Vixen SLV 6mm. 

Happily, you have one of them. I would buy the 5mm as well. Even if the Mag is too high on Mars, it occasionally gives cracking views of Jupiter and Saturn when high in steady air.

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best view I ever had revealed the surface shading (which looked like an outline of Africa), with lighter patches visible at the poles.

I can't be sure - but the detailed view was likely to be at 165x mag.

 

My last view of Mars was on 11th March 2013, at 240x mag.

I can still remember being disappointed at the lack of detail due to the unfavourable seeing conditions.

Size isn't everything. The 6mm should be good enough for Mars.

The 4,7 will come into it's own for the moon, and for the twice a year occasions when the seeing conditions allow.

e.g. Jupiter can be stunning for 2 seconds at 240x if you wait long enough.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.