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Mars - 1st Oct 2020


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Out observing Mars this evening, the last time was on the night between Sunday and Monday. In the last session I saw the Syrtis Major area in magnificent detail, seeing was stable and in the excitement I forgot I wanted to draw a sketch of it (a neighbour stopped by and we observed together).

Before going out tonight I made a practice sketch from memory based on the session before and saved it in my sketchbook even though it was just a test of sorts. Never done any planetary sketching really.

Tonight I saw an area I hadn’t seen before and this time I gave sketching it a go. After a while I saw a familiar vista rotate into view, the dark patch I had just drawn at the five o’clock position turned out to be Syrtis Major right where I started observing the session before.

Really enjoyed the connection between sessions and the good seeing tonight. Some thin cloud but it didn’t really matter that much.

Here are the two sketches, first the one from tonight’s session, the Elysium region I believe, and then the test sketch of Syrtis Major based on the view from four nights ago.

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Edited by davhei
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I was inspired to sketch for the first time last night too, although I just grabbed a pad and a pencil, I might try colour next time.  When comparing my effort and what I remember seeing with maps and images from last night it all starts to make more sense.  I couldn't really make out anything below the main central belt, very indistinct, except for a few fleeting glimpses of a lighter area (Hellas).

I hastily drew around a 2p coin to make the circles, about 25mm across for reference.  As it turned out I didn't use the second circle on this occasion, just did it in case I messed up the first.

This was through my 8SE with 8mm eyepiece.

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Edited by jonathan
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@jonathan Well done, looks like you got a lot of detail in. I was looking for hazy clouds around the north pole but couldn’t say for sure.

I feel like I am much more familiar with an area after attempting a sketch. It makes you pay attention to detail and how features fit together over the whole field of view. It is nice if the sketch turns out reasonably close to reality but the process itself is the biggest benefit I think.

Edited by davhei
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