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Mars, toilet in the way


alan potts

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At  last I managed to get out last night after what looked a day to forget though I knew the Moon was full and this would ruin any DSO chances with the big scope. Not being put off I set up the 18 inch which needed a dust after being still for so long, I never stop being amazed by the detail this mirror pulls out on Planets and I was hoping to gets on to at least two tonight. I don't consider myself as a planetary man or anything else for that matter but I always enjoy a good look as there is so much detail to be seen on the likes of Jupiter.

I started out with Jupiter having spent about 10 minutes looking for where I thought it would be in the slowly darkening sky, I almost let out a gasp when I finally saw where it was, a good drive and a 5 iron from where I was looking. Detail can be seen on Jupiter no matter how dark it is and it seemed seeing was being a good boy tonight as well, more than I could say for Daniel as he walked over where I had planted courgettes or ticvichski as they call them here.

Jupiter was stunning with more bands than a rock festival and some really distinct details on the belts and even inbetween. I could clearly see a very thin but dark line at the centre of the two equatorial belts the southern one being wider than the the other. I was using the 13mm Ethos which offers X176, I can go much higher with this scope if I wish but was more than happy with the clean and sharp image before me. I was even tempted to switch to the 12.5mm orthoscopic to see if this would bring out any more detail but having tried this once before and getting lost in the very small field of view didn't succumb. Sadly as seems so often to be the case for me the great red spot was away on holiday, it is really strange how many times I miss this crossing the planet. Even though I have not been out for some time it was going to be a short session as I was very tired after rebuilding dry stone walls most of the day, some of the stones weigh as much as 70Kgs and really are not that easy to put into place.

I then turned to some Bootis doubles inspired by Nick (Cotterless45), who highlighted a list some time back which I noted and they were lovely, doubles are of course pretty Moon-proof and it had raised it's head over in the south-east, Mars was not far away. At this point I realised that I had set-up the scope in about the only place where I was not going to be able to see Mars, I remember Sir Patrick using the words "Treed Out", well I was Toileted Out. Very old and outdated for the the UK but an outside Loo here it comes into its own when working the garden and having muddy boots, which after the rain we have had it normal at the moment.

I then recalled a challenge from one of the members on site for Zeta Bootis a very tight double, so set out to find it, not that easy with the Moon knocking out a good couple of magnitudes from that I would normally see and Zeta is only about 4th mag. The 60mm finder scope came to the rescue and I started with the 10mm Ethos and X229, to my surprise I could see two stars, both appeared to me the same magnitude but this I was told is 0.4 " of arc which I do question, it seemed more than that. After seeing what I claimed to be a split in Sigma Orionis at around 0.3, this looked wider. The two stars did seem to split better but this just could have been down to seeing, which was without doubt very good. Later though I was able to find conflicting information placing this double from anywhere between 1.2" and 0.7", on a good night well within the compass of an 18 inch with good optics and probably within the range of a scope a good deal smaller.

So no Mars due to the loo but a nice couple of hours before I dropped into bed knowing more stone wall work awaited me the following day.

Hope some of you had a good sky as well.

Alan.   

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Nice Alan - has the weather changed for the better at last?  Mars does tend to cower behind structures, doesn't it. I even had it lurking behind a huge tractor thingy the other night.

Zeta Bootis should be 0.5 arcsec separation at the moment with mags of 4.5, 4.6 both close to white.

Chris

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I managed to get Mars in my scope for about 10 minutes as it popped over rooftops and before it left my field of view behind more houses, not a lot of detail but still good viewing. I fully agree Jupiter looked really nice even just through the finder scope the last week or two the moons are visible

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As Mars came into view above the distant mountains it was the colour of the heart in the like this box on each post, though this was largely due to the atmostphere and greatly exaggerated, looked pretty though.

Alan

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2 hours ago, Stu said:

Glad you have had a break in the weather at last Alan, very nice report.

Your dob certainly seems to deliver on doubles doesn't it!!

It seems to Stu, I feel it is a combination of gererally better seeing than most places and an extremely well made quality mirror from John Nichol, I can't talk too highly of it, everyone should have one. I know I was only using just shy of x180 but the sharpness on Jupiter was outstanding, I am at a bit of loss now as to why I didn't go higher.

BTW forecast for the next 4 days is thunderstorms and then some, beautiful sunshine at the moment, let's hope they are lying.

Alan

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nice report, neighbour :)

tried jupiter, saturn and mars last night, had to quit around 11pm due to mild sickness, missus was worried. seeing was ok, average i'd say, but the wind kept frustrating me...

mars was mostly featurless, at times it showed bluish shades...but i guess for more detail i would have to wait for 2018...and perhaps a bigger scope.

saturn, on the other hand, is going to be lovely in opposition. it was already good low in the horizon.

 

also, your seeing seems awesome, not to mention the scope. i cannot remember when i pushed mine above 125x

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When I read your opening line and not seen where you are for a split second I though that my neighbour had suddenly learnt English and started up with astronomy.

Just as an after thought I could have stated my problem with the toilet as being Bogged Down.

Alan

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Just now, alan potts said:

When I read your opening line and not seen where you are for a split second I though that my neighbour had suddenly learnt English and started up with astronomy.

Just as an after thought I could have stated my problem with the toilet as being Bogged Down.

Alan

haha, well, bulgaria is just around the corner. sort of. :)

 

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54 minutes ago, alan potts said:

It seems to Stu, I feel it is a combination of gererally better seeing than most places and an extremely well made quality mirror from John Nichol, I can't talk too highly of it, everyone should have one. I know I was only using just shy of x180 but the sharpness on Jupiter was outstanding, I am at a bit of loss now as to why I didn't go higher.

BTW forecast for the next 4 days is thunderstorms and then some, beautiful sunshine at the moment, let's hope they are lying.

Alan

It may also be a case of "aperture is king"!

Running your scope and Zeta Bootis through Aberrator, it seems to be the aperture which dominates the result, although obviously the seeing must be critical as well. it would be interesting to see what someone with the same aperture, but a poorer mirror makes of this double.

Aberrator simulation for interest.

Chris

 

 

zetabootissim.jpg

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Chris,

Pretty much what it looked like it was very steady last night and I feel I could have easliy knock on the X400 door. Out of interest and i know that you like your doubles, as I pour a large one, Wickipedia has it down a wider in agrement with Sky Map Pro at 1.2" and states an 8 inch could crack it, other sources clain 0.6" but I know they change somewhat over the years.

On the mirror Chris, I know Calvin has a faster one but that is a quality act as well, I feel most that spend these amounts on only a mirror will tend to get at least a 1/6pv, I don't know anyone with less than 1/8 at this size and I think most of them are fron Nichol's.

Alan.

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2 hours ago, cotterless45 said:

I have it down as a very bright .7", but last time in the 150 frac (proper scope !) I had it down as a noted split.will have another shot,

Nick.

Indeed a proper scope. I do not know how many times I have pondered buying a 150mm or 6 inch APO. I even bought the 180mm Mak by SW to stop me dreaming about it, alas it has not worked and there is still a big chunck of me that wants a big refractor, even though I have scopes that are a fair bit larger. I am sure you are much the same, I can never put it into words about a refractor, their magnetisum is difficult to resist.

Alan.

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Nice report and it is always a pleasure to come back to Jupiter. I was in Italy this weekend and managed to observe Mars with a bit more aperture. It's fairly large now, but the featureless side is currently facing on our planet. It was possible to spot some very minor feature in the centre, but no wow in my opinion. This was between 10.30pm and 1am. It should be more interesting later though. A hint of polar cap was also detectable. On the other hand, Saturn was a joy to see. The view was terrific particularly last Saturday! 

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30 minutes ago, Piero said:

Nice report and it is always a pleasure to come back to Jupiter. I was in Italy this weekend and managed to observe Mars with a bit more aperture. It's fairly large now, but the featureless side is currently facing on our planet. It was possible to spot some very minor feature in the centre, but no wow in my opinion. This was between 10.30pm and 1am. It should be more interesting later though. A hint of polar cap was also detectable. On the other hand, Saturn was a joy to see. The view was terrific particularly last Saturday! 

it takes about 40 minutes extra to rotate every day...so yeah, about 10 more days for a different set of features.

2018 should be as good as we get for about next 15 years...

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39 minutes ago, BGazing said:

it takes about 40 minutes extra to rotate every day...so yeah, about 10 more days for a different set of features.

2018 should be as good as we get for about next 15 years...

Not sure I agree with that. It's slightly smaller in 2020 but at much higher altitude so the views should be better I reckon.

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1 hour ago, Piero said:

Nice report and it is always a pleasure to come back to Jupiter. I was in Italy this weekend and managed to observe Mars with a bit more aperture. It's fairly large now, but the featureless side is currently facing on our planet. It was possible to spot some very minor feature in the centre, but no wow in my opinion. This was between 10.30pm and 1am. It should be more interesting later though. A hint of polar cap was also detectable. On the other hand, Saturn was a joy to see. The view was terrific particularly last Saturday! 

Interesting, I managed to observe Mars late last night and early this morning (from about 00:30 to about 02:30) with the baby Tak 60, and despite the seeing being generally quite poor (very poor early on) during steadier moments could definitely see some markings on the center part of the ball of Mars even at 67x and later to 100x.  I could also detect a hint of the NPC during some moments also. Very similar in experience to you I think. I also thought I detected a brightening of the Eastern limb as well...but could be mistaken.

Tony.

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19 minutes ago, t0nedude said:

Interesting, I managed to observe Mars late last night and early this morning (from about 00:30 to about 02:30) with the baby Tak 60, and despite the seeing being generally quite poor (very poor early on) during steadier moments could definitely see some markings on the center part of the ball of Mars even at 67x and later to 100x.  I could also detect a hint of the NPC during some moments also. Very similar in experience to you I think. I also thought I detected a brightening of the Eastern limb as well...but could be mistaken.

Tony.

Nice One! Maybe I should have started later, as 0.30 UK time is 1.30 in Italy! In the next few days we should have a lot of fun as it will show its nice face a bit earlier!

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I always thought Mars was at it's very best every 36 years, a time when it is closest to us. I seem to recall back in the mid 70's was the best and closest approach as I was an avid watcher of the Sky at Night back then and Sir Patrick did a program on the subject. I could be wrong of course as it was a long time ago and one does forget things.

I would be grateful if someone posted the information even if I am wrong.

Alan

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I was dead beat Nick after a long day working the stone walls, it is times like these when I wish I lived in a two up two down in town. I tried Mars during twilight but this time with the Meade from the observatory, not the loo this time but trees. Time to get the chainsaw out!!!

Alan

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I can relate! Much of my early-days (mid 60's) astronomy was accomplished 
over my Grandparent's outside Privvy! Lighting the OIL lamp... melting the
ICE first thing on frosty mornings (don't ask) often fell to me! :p

As I get older, I start to miss the convenience (sic)? Great Report, BTW! :D 

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Mars was reasonably decent at times here last night, although the heat plume from a house gave it the shimmers for 90% of the time. Still, the N ice cap was clearly visible, with some surface detail, even on the boring side! Saturn was nice though - the clearest and sharpest I've seen Cassini with my new scope, even though there was a haze which dulled colours and made Saturn a kind of khaki orange rather than the normal cream. Seeing well above the horizon was good to excellent however, with doubles like Delta Cygni very nicely split.

Chris

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