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Victor Boesen

Got myself out of bed to observe Saturn and Mars

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Yesterday I managed to climb out of bed at a little past 3:30AM to get my small portable rig out to a small nearby park and setup to observe Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. I got the Skywatcher Evostar 72ED DS-Pro last summer so I was especially excited to see how it would perform on Mars because of its red wavelengths which many small fracs often have trouble with handling.

At first it was partly cloudy but I persisted and was out and setup on the field at around 4AM. The sky was already surprisingly bright here in Denmark but Jupiter was shining bright and Saturn faintly visible almost right besides Jupiter. Fortunately for me it wasn't too cold, but I was happy I brought some gloves anyways;)

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This picture was taken at 5AM while I was observing Mars.

I remember from last year that my scope didn't perform great on Jupiter for some reason, and the view of the gas giant wasn't anything different this time either. Using my 4.7mm ES 82 degree eyepiece not much detail visible except the two main bands and its moons. I would later return to Jupiter after the scope had cooled down a little and the view was perhaps a little sharper.

Pointing the scope at Saturn, which I was very satisfied with last year, I was amazed of the detail the small scope managed to squeeze out. It doesn't compare to the view I had last year with my 10" dob under great conditions at 255X but I was able to easily spot surface banding on the planet itself, and the Cassini division was also surprisingly stable. I really enjoy the stable and consistent view through the small refractor! I observed Saturn for quite a while until I eventually set out to try to find Mars. At this point I couldn't even see Saturn with the naked eye but I was fortunate that Saturn and Mars were approximately the same elevation above the horizon.

After a few sweeps across where I though Mars would be I finally located the small red speckle, this time with my 6.7mm eyepiece so I had a larger FOV. Switching to the 4.7mm, though still very small, I was surprised that I could pick up a dark surface marking across the disk on the lower southern half of the disk. Furthermore, the southern polar cap was really pronounced and you couldn't miss it. I watched Mars drift through the FOV until about 30 minutes after sunrise where the contrast between the planet and the sky became too low and the dew started to set on the lens element.

Using my small refractor for observing the planets I have always wanted to magnify things a little bit more, and I think the telescope would have no problem doing so. A Nagler zoom 3-6mm has been on my wish-list for a couple of years now, but the upcoming planet season really makes me want to find one second hand:lol:

Here's a video I've made that covers what I've written above with some footage I tried capturing through the eyepiece:

I hope everyone on here is still doing well despite the current situation!

Clear skies!

Victor

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Very nicely put together. I really must get out of bed at that sort of time to have a look myself. But not now, howling wind and rain the next day or two.

enjoyed, Magnus

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Excellent report! Hope the weather stays nice over the summer, and one can - legally - go out to a favourite observing spot to view the planetary spectacle that’s unfolding this year...

stay safe

Frank

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57 minutes ago, Captain Magenta said:

Very nicely put together. I really must get out of bed at that sort of time to have a look myself. But not now, howling wind and rain the next day or two.

enjoyed, Magnus

Thank you Magnus:) The weather here in Denmark has luckily been surprisingly good during the lockdown. I don't mind at all!

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32 minutes ago, Froeng said:

Excellent report! Hope the weather stays nice over the summer, and one can - legally - go out to a favourite observing spot to view the planetary spectacle that’s unfolding this year...

stay safe

Frank

Thanks Frank! Indeed, this Mars season will be quite good for us northern observers. I'm really excited to follow Mars growing in size.

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Were you hand-holding the camera over the eyepiece? Very steady hand if so. When I try that, it’s all over the place.

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2 minutes ago, Captain Magenta said:

Were you hand-holding the camera over the eyepiece? Very steady hand if so. When I try that, it’s all over the place.

Yes I did:) Keep in mind I had to take a couple of videos before I eventually got something useful haha. It really isn't easy but I somehow try to stick the phone camera up to the eyepiece each time:icon_scratch:

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