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Any tips / advice you can give me please fpr observing M,ars?


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Hello 

I am trying to find ways to observe more detail on Mars.

I am observing him between 35 degrees and 50 degress altitude. He is SOOOO bright that the intensity of the light is washing out any surface detail. 

I can just about make out the Southern polar cap and can see (just) some surface shapes but it's the brightness of the planet that is (ironically) the issue. 

I do have some colour filters which I can use over the eyepiece. Any tips for which colour is best, please?

I have tried observing with various magnification, ranging from 8mm to 32mm. My focal length is 2800mm and focal ratio F10, (CPC1100)

Any tips /advice / help all glady welcomed, thank you. 

Bonus - tonight I got to see Uranus, looking like a little light blue / green ice ball and a transit of Ganymede's shadow on Jupiter! Very cool. 

 

Siouxsie 

Edited by StarGazingSiouxsie
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I have a Celestron Mars filter which works a treat. As the atmosphere on Mars can kick up some planet wide dust storms sometimes teasing fine detail out of Mars can be a challenge. Best thing to do with your coloured filters is use them all one at at time and see which one works best. Sometimes a yellow, blue or green filter can tease out more detail too, but which one works best can vary although overall when I view Mars I use the Mars filter which also tones down the brightness of Mars & gives it a nice red hue to boot. Also, take time when observing Mars as sometimes you get better or steadier seeing conditions later on, especially if viewing Mars above where sources of heat can still be sending heat up in the atmosphere to churn it up, like over rooftops, chimneys, etc.

Edited by Knighty2112
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A strong red filter is a good one for Mars. One problem with wide aperture scopes is that they make the planets super bright. I have the same issue with Jupiter sometimes.

People also recommend Baader Neodymium filter for Mars but in your case I don't think it will cut out enough of the light.

Can try a Moon ND filter, something moderate say 20% light transmission. 

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Hi @StarGazingSiouxsie

I had the same problem - resolved with a 50% transmission Neutral Density filter to bring the brightness down that was washing away detail. It will not effect the tone of Mars at all 👍

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p319_TS-Optics-1-25--Grey-Filter-ND-03---50--Transmission---Neutral-Density.html

 

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2 hours ago, StarGazingSiouxsie said:

Hello 

I am trying to find ways to observe more detail on Mars.

I am observing him between 35 degrees and 50 degress altitude. He is SOOOO bright that the intensity of the light is washing out any surface detail. 

I can just about make out the Southern polar cap and can see (just) some surface shapes but it's the brightness of the planet that is (ironically) the issue. 

I do have some colour filters which I can use over the eyepiece. Any tips for which colour is best, please?

I have tried observing with various magnification, ranging from 8mm to 32mm. My focal length is 2800mm and focal ratio F10, (CPC1100)

Any tips /advice / help all glady welcomed, thank you. 

Bonus - tonight I got to see Uranus, looking like a little light blue / green ice ball and a transit of Ganymede's shadow on Jupiter! Very cool. 

 

Siouxsie 

Hi

What scope do you have, as when I've been viewing Mars with my skywatcher explorer 150p for a change I stop sown the scope by placing the cap back on and removing the small cap on the front to dim Mars down a bit and gave good viewing, I generally use my skymax 127 for planets but fancied using my other scope. 

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30 minutes ago, LeeHore7 said:

Hi

What scope do you have, as when I've been viewing Mars with my skywatcher explorer 150p for a change I stop sown the scope by placing the cap back on and removing the small cap on the front to dim Mars down a bit and gave good viewing, I generally use my skymax 127 for planets but fancied using my other scope. 

I think Siouxie is referring to an 11 inch SCT.

I wonder if the results might be better with one of the smaller aperture scopes in her signature ?

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9 minutes ago, John said:

I think Siouxie is referring to an 11 inch SCT.

I wonder if the results might be better with one of the smaller aperture scopes in her signature ?

Hi John

Sorry I couldn't see her signature as i was looking on my phone and doesn't show up, I agree and think it would look better on the 8 inch newt.

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You could try making an aperture mask to reduce the amount of light coming in perhaps. I had the same problem though with a 6" f/5 Dobsonian last night so it might only marginally improve the situation. Maybe you could image Mars with a webcam and bring the exposure length down and just view it as a AVI movie perhaps? I got much more detail this way last night.

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I had exactly same issues last night with my 8 inch reflector! The brightness was insane and I tried all kinds to get the brightness down/details up! I don't own a ND filter but after Venus earlier in year, and now Mars, I'm definitely investing in some specialist filters! Stopping down the aperture with end cap will reduce glare but it also reduces resolution, so I wouldn't really recommend this a s a solution, as one member suggested. Best wishes and good seeing to all.

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3 hours ago, wesdon1 said:


Stopping down the aperture with end cap will reduce glare but it also reduces resolution, so I wouldn't really recommend this a s a solution, as one member suggested. 

Crikey! 11" of aperture or go home hey ;) 

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Don’t some planetary observers look at a bright light for a short time to ruin their dark adaption and also stimulate their cone cells, which see fine detail? I tried it on Jupiter once and it did seem to help with the glare but Mars might be different. Obviously not ideal if you also plan to observe faint DSOs in the same session but worth a try! 🙂

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Hi, 

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread and shared so many great tips and hints.

The observing conditions this evening were absolutely fantastic (see my other thread about what I saw!!)

The great conditions made Mars dazzling brilliance easier to manage at the telescope end. 

I experimented and the best combination I found this evening was: 

What worked best = 12mm 1.25 Celestron Excel with 80A Medium Blue filter stacked to a generic Celestron 'Moon and SkyGlow' filter 

I was able to clearly make out the southern polar cap, and the major geographic features were clearly visible. I was tretaed to all this in a beautiful spectrum of salmon pink / baby blue / fawn / and white.

With my 11" SCT at focal length 2800 that eyepiece gave me  233X magnification. I did push it as far as 350X but I lost detail. (Note - conditions were so great tonight that I was able to observe Saturn and Jupiter in good detail at 400X.)

Siouxsie 

Edited by Cornelius Varley
colour removed
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  • 1 month later...
On 20/09/2020 at 18:05, Kyle Allen said:

Don’t some planetary observers look at a bright light for a short time to ruin their dark adaption and also stimulate their cone cells, which see fine detail? I tried it on Jupiter once and it did seem to help with the glare but Mars might be different. Obviously not ideal if you also plan to observe faint DSOs in the same session but worth a try! 🙂

You know, that seems like a great idea for me to try out!?? Thank-You! Wes, Liverpool, UK.

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On 22/09/2020 at 07:24, StarGazingSiouxsie said:

Hi, 

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread and shared so many great tips and hints.

The observing conditions this evening were absolutely fantastic (see my other thread about what I saw!!)

The great conditions made Mars dazzling brilliance easier to manage at the telescope end. 

I experimented and the best combination I found this evening was: 

What worked best = 12mm 1.25 Celestron Excel with 80A Medium Blue filter stacked to a generic Celestron 'Moon and SkyGlow' filter 

I was able to clearly make out the southern polar cap, and the major geographic features were clearly visible. I was tretaed to all this in a beautiful spectrum of salmon pink / baby blue / fawn / and white.

With my 11" SCT at focal length 2800 that eyepiece gave me  233X magnification. I did push it as far as 350X but I lost detail. (Note - conditions were so great tonight that I was able to observe Saturn and Jupiter in good detail at 400X.)

Siouxsie 

Great to hear ( or should that be "See" !?? lol ) that you found a good way to see Mars in such fine detail my friend! I recall a long time ago, the seeing conditions were as good as i ever remembered, and i was viewing the Moon. Anyway, i decided to see just how far i could push the optics in my Skywatcher 130/900 newt Reflector telescope, and i ended up managing to push her past 400x mag and the views of the Moon, although a bit wobbly, were astounding!! I could not believe i had managed to push the theoretical max mag for my 'scope from 260x all way up to 400x + without the views being a blurry mess!!?? I'll never forget that night! it was so exciting and such a joy! Goes to show, in the right conditions, one can indeed push ones optics wayyy past their theoretical limits! Wes, Liverpool, UK.

Edited by wesdon1
needed to add more text.
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On 20/09/2020 at 18:05, Kyle Allen said:

Don’t some planetary observers look at a bright light for a short time to ruin their dark adaption and also stimulate their cone cells, which see fine detail? I tried it on Jupiter once and it did seem to help with the glare but Mars might be different. Obviously not ideal if you also plan to observe faint DSOs in the same session but worth a try! 🙂

Perversely, that does kinda make sense! 👍

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