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Has anyone got a good look at Mars or is it just to low in the sky? I've just got a skywatcher Evostar 150 (which is awesome) and it still just looks like a red fireball, even through that.

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I've seen some details on the planet and the souther polar cap with my refractors (100mm, 120mm and 130mm) but it's vague and has to be teased out. The planetary disk is reasonably well defined even at quite high powers but the dust storm on the planet has caused the face of the disk to seem rather plain compared to what we might have expected. 

One of our more experienced observers and sketchers captured some details recently here:

 

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Mars is half the size of Earth even though it is the closest planet to earth, it is difficult to see details...

You will have better luck with Saturn as you can clearly see the rings!

Even though is far far away, because of his huge size (9.5x Earth), it is easier to spot!

I have attached a photo I took of Mars and Saturn and I am using a Meade Polaris 130 with a 2x barlow and a DSLR camera on x5 zoom!

 

MARS_20180819.jpg

SATURN_20180819.jpg

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Yeah, I wanted to have a look at Saturn, but it clouded over, so not much luck tonight. Through my old power seeker 1000 (127) Saturn looked like your picture but all white and smaller.

 

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1 minute ago, Hairy Gazer said:

Yeah, I wanted to have a look at Saturn, but it clouded over, so not much luck tonight. Through my old power seeker 1000 (127) Saturn looked like your picture but all white and smaller.

 

Yeah, weather seems to be better tomorrow night...

I took 4500 frames of Saturn and stacked the best 5% of them to get that final photo!

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I spent an hour looking at Mars this evening with my 102mm f13 refractor. The disk outline was sharp, the S polar region a well defined white oval and the N polar region a diffuse white zone along the circumference. The disk itself did show quite well defined markings in moments of good seeing (particularly a band across the disk just below the mid line), but clearly not as clearly as we would all like. So, to summarise, some detail is there but you have to look hard for it in moments of good seeing.

Chris

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Looked at Mars last night with my C8 SCT and Mars filter. Could make out some vague markings, but still a lot of dust blowing about up there alas. Could make out flashes of the polar cap occasionally. 

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It sounds like I need to put a bit more time in, I only spend about five or ten minutes an then move on. I did get a lovely view of Albireo and the moon though.

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The other night I could see the south polar cap and some labido markings on Mars with 60mm and 80mm refractors. 

I'd say 5 to 10 minutes isn't enough time. Your eyes will barely be night adapted. I will spend 4-5 hours viewing Saturn and Mars, waiting for all the details to tease in view, especially for those brief magical moments of exceptional seeing. 

Dave

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4 to 5 hours, that's serious conviction time. I normally pick out at least 4 or 5 things I want to look at before I go out. Maybe I should narrow that down bit. I often have a beer or 2 whilst gazing as well, which doesn't help the attention span.

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To see the finer detail on the planets you certainly need to spend time on them. Your eye adapts to the brightness and contrast so you start to pick up more subtle details. After an hour or so you will be seeing more features than you did in the first 10 minutes or so.

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Funny enough, i tried imaging Mars last night with an Evo 925 and a 385c camera. Didn't come out too well but you can see some surface definition.

 

mars.jpg.6fe255d0138412c537e8a371480fce50.jpg

 

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8 hours ago, barkingsteve said:

Funny enough, i tried imaging Mars last night with an Evo 925 and a 385c camera. Didn't come out too well but you can see some surface definition.

 

mars.jpg.6fe255d0138412c537e8a371480fce50.jpg

 

That photo isn't to dissimilar to what I saw and Sketched on the 31st of August. I saw the dark area as a kidney bean area above the south polar cap. 

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