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Rob

Mars with a 70ED.. WOW!

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Managed to get out around midnight for a short Mars session. I'm constantly surprised with this little scope. As we have all seen this past few weeks. Mars beautiful & bright hanging in the sky and an easy target to move to.

The Starwave 70 ED sat on the EQ5 with enhanced drives purring away. Only needed my 2.5Kg small counter weight so the whole rig could be picked up and moved (which I needed to because of tree interference!).

Best views were with my Meade 5000 UWA & GSO 2.5x ED Barlow. So 170x mags being pulled. The disc just snaps in with this scope, subtle dark markings seen + polar cap. I did verify in Sky Safari what I was seeing.. it still seems the dust storm is effecting the visuals, but its sure improving thank goodness!. Took some time to soak in the photons.. I have to say even though Mars is low down the seeing was very steady. It was so enjoyable just spending time at the eyepiece and eyeballing the disc to bring out those subtle features.

I have spent many years learning how to observe Mars. Its a tricky one as so many different conditions make it a hard target. So a message to those starting out. Take your time, swap eyepieces until you find the sweat spot, this may mean it NOT the highest magnification!.. it does not matter. Its about a crisp image in your scope. Once you have that the details should & will become apparent.

Mars observing is about time at the eyepiece.. so get out there and enjoy it. I have been.

On a final note: I'm so shocked how capable this little ED Refractor is. It punches way above it weight. UK skies can be very awkward at the best of times and seeing can play havock  with any size scope. Its shown me that many things are possible with any size Telescope, so do not be put off giving small apature scopes a try on what may seem tricky targets.

Clear Skies & Best Wishes

 

Edited by Rob
typo
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Good advice Rob. Some of the best views I have had have been more with EP’s of 10mm or above range, rather than below it. I have the smaller Altair Astro Lightwave 66ED-R ‘frac which I got recently and that also punches well above its weight for views. 

Edited by Knighty2112
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Great post Rob, and exactly right! Particularly with the low altitude, a smaller scope can cut through the seeing and give surprising results. I had some similar views with a William Optics SD66mm quite some years ago. Nice :)

 

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Excellent report and advice Rob :icon_biggrin:

I'm going to give my TV Ranger another shot at Mars as soon as I can. My first view of this opposition was using this scope and it raised excitement but subsequent viewings with much larger instruments have not been too enthralling so perhaps smaller is the way to go again for Mars this year.

Also these little scopes can be got to viewing spots that larger setups just can't reach !

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Thanks Guys.. This really does rubber stamp how different scopes in type & size, have different applications!.

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Thanks Rob nice write up ?

It was my last target just before midnight and the best views this opposition, used my new Opticstar 7.2 - 21.5 zoom & Baader 2.25 Barlow combination (thanks for the tip John)

As you said a steady atmosphere and a calming storm are key factors in the vastly improved views. PS Saturn looked good as well!

 

 

 

 

Edited by jock1958
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+1 for small scopes. I recently got an 80mm Altair star wave for travelling and also one of the last non wifi star discovery mounts. The goto is simple to set up and has delivered every time. The whole thing is effortless and the views are excellent. I am amazed at the power of these little scopes.  I can get amazing views in the larger scopes too but with more effort! 

Glad you are getting on so well, I plan to view Mars with my little set up from Lanzarote next week, hopefully I'll be as wowed as you have been.

Steve 

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The north of Lanzarote, Haría or Yé for example is a good place for astronomical observations!!

Good Luck!

Paul

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11 minutes ago, pluton said:

The north of Lanzarote, Haría or Yé for example is a good place for astronomical observations!!

Good Luck!

Paul

Thanks for the tip off Paul. 

Steve

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I got the Tele Vue Ranger on Mars tonight and it did do a good job. Best detail that I've seen so far this opposition with the dark Syrtis Major clearly visible as a large roughly wedge shaped darker area against the orange surface. Around 130x seemed to give the cispest image tonight with this little scope.

 

 

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I tried again last night using the Heritage 130P + binoviewers. The image was like jelly and although I think I might have seen darker areas that was all.

I do wonder whether I might get a decent view of the planet this season. In frustration I moved over to Saturn which was very good seeing a number of Moons plus the Cassini division so collimation proved to be OK.

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Cracking little 'scopes the TeleVue Ranger and I think underestimated by some.

The first time I saw the polar ice cap and other planetary disc detail was during the opposition of July 2003 with my then 'new' TeleVue 6mm Radian e/p (80x) and was a definite "Wow!" moment.

Edited by Philip R
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Reading these reports on observing Mars with smaller apertures has prompted me to make a crude cardboard mask to take the Tak down to 70mm aperture.

We shall see ?

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57 minutes ago, kerrylewis said:

Reading these reports on observing Mars with smaller apertures has prompted me to make a crude cardboard mask to take the Tak down to 70mm aperture.

We shall see ?

May try that with the 152 f5.9, tried it a couple of nights ago and didn't get a very good view of Mars.

Dave

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53 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

May try that with the 152 f5.9, tried it a couple of nights ago and didn't get a very good view of Mars.

Dave

Yes Dave, the last time I observed it I  could just about make out some detail but the whole view seemed to be overwhelmed by the planet's brightness. So I thought that I would give it a go with reduced aperture since those with smaller scopes seemed to be getting better views. 

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Despite seeing a little more in the way of detail over the past few days, I've yet to see anything like the quality of views that I have during previous oppositions, even though the planetary disk was smaller back then. Just thought that I ought to add that in case anyone thought that I was getting truly wonderful views of Mars somehow. I'm not.

 

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Fair enough John. I’m also not getting anything comparable to past views. I just thought that anything was worth a try. I’ve tried filters and the ADC with little improvement. We were blaming the dust storm and I’m not sure what effect that  might still be having because it’s still a struggle 

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I had my ED80 out on Mars last night and thought there was little objective improvement compared with a few weeks back. I fear that Mars will be lost in the West before the storm clears......

Having said that, a little more detail seems to appear when Mars is imaged, but I suppose the red sensitivity of the CCD helps there.

Chris

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4 hours ago, John said:

Despite seeing a little more in the way of detail over the past few days, I've yet to see anything like the quality of views that I have during previous oppositions, even though the planetary disk was smaller back then. Just thought that I ought to add that in case anyone thought that I was getting truly wonderful views of Mars somehow. I'm not.

 

Agreed John, nowhere near as good as previous oppositions, only managed to see / image the South Polar Cap so far and I only get a brief view between the trees which doesn't help.

Dave

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I was thinking of getting some sort of filter not sure if it's worth it though especially as visual and imaging seem to require different filters ?

Dave

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Was able to pull off a good view of the southern cap and minimal planetary surface details on Mars last week Thursday using 90mm F11 Achro stopped down to 58mn with a Moon & Skyglow, #8 yellow and a #6 neutral density filters stacked at 160x. Nothing but mush in my 8" dob that night, side by side 58mm vs 200mm but I have played this game before when less is more. Cloud since Thursday last so I hope to try again soon but it rains this moment, comet 21p awaits Me as well.

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Agreed with everything your all saying here, and this what surprised so much with the 70ED performance. That said it all makes sense!. the larger aperture is just increasing the bad seeing element of just how low down it is.

I also mean to mention on the previous observing to my report here. I tried many filters and the only one that helped was the Baader Moon & Sky Glow filter.

Rob

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Mars brightness is also said to have increased a side effect of the dust storm, my guess is this was the reason I had to add a Nd filter this opposition as in 2016 none was needed same setup same scope.

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I also mean to mention on the previous observing to my report here. I tried manyfilters and the only one that helped was the Baader Moon & Sky Glow filter.

Rob

 

A must have...Indeed ?

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