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Who here has seen the canals?


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Question-now that Mars has just passed opposition and he have had spectator views. And given the equipment available to the average back yard astronomer (granted there is increased light pollution). Who here has seen features that could be confused with canals? (We all know where I'm going with this 😁😁)

Edited by popeye85
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There are a couple of features that do look a bit linear and I've seen those a few times this opposition when the seeing has been at it's best. They are among the more challenging features to spot visually I've found. This great image from Pete Presland shows them:

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Edited by John
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I cannot fathom exactly what martian features Lowell could have confused for canals, i have wondered about this since i was a boy watching  Sagan's Cosmos way back in the early 80's.

Good topic for a thread.

Edited by Sunshine
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1 minute ago, Nik271 said:

Here is the proof! Our man on Mars reported flying machines back in 1918! :) (Hardly mentions any canals)

Gods_of_Mars-1918.jpg 

That takes me back...I read all his Mars and Venus series when I was a kid.

 

As for canals I thought the consensus was he was seeing blood vessels in his eyes?

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What is interesting is that it was not just Lowell, many astronomers in late 1800s and early 1900s saw  the canals. Maybe it was  a case of staring for long hours and seeing what you believe at the end.

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I think it is more of a case, that when you sketch you are likely to draw lines with your pencil, then others use your sketch as a subconscious reference when they draw their sketches with a pencil, also drawing more lines. It is not until we turn to photography, with a bitmap model rather than a line plotting model that the canals cease to exist.

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14 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Ah yes John Carter. 😁

4AA49259-0A8F-47B2-A92F-93D0648AFEE8.jpeg

Not read the books, but the 2012 movie (John Carter) with Taylor Kitsch was pretty good. Seemed to have got panned by critics, but I enjoyed it never the less. Pity they never made any further sequels of the film of the series of books. 

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I saw the canals nearly 40 years ago in a 26 inch refractor. My memory isn't the best but I do remember fleeting glimpses of linear structures. No, I don't believe they were really there and it was of course some kind of cool optical illusion.

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47 minutes ago, Knighty2112 said:

Not read the books, but the 2012 movie (John Carter) with Taylor Kitsch was pretty good. Seemed to have got panned by critics, but I enjoyed it never the less. Pity they never made any further sequels of the film of the series of books. 

I too liked the film. Not a great film but enjoyable never the less. đŸ‘đŸ»

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1 hour ago, Nik271 said:

What is interesting is that it was not just Lowell, many astronomers in late 1800s and early 1900s saw  the canals. Maybe it was  a case of staring for long hours and seeing what you believe at the end.

My understanding is that they only did so after Lowell got them started and that Lowell's brain probably primed itself to see them from Schiaparelli's observations of 'canali.'  This merely means channels in Italian but possibly planted the canals notion in Lowell's mind. It would seem that Lowell had a mind which went a long way with a little evidence, hence his assertion that Martians were right wing Republicans like himself because only such a political system could organize civil engineering on a global scale. While the patrician Lowell was sending astronomers off on this wild goose chase the greatest telescopic observer of all time, the humbly born E.E. Barnard, quietly said, 'I can't see 'em...'

Take more water with it, Perce!!!

😄lly

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ERB's Mars books were my first encounter with sci fi, I still have my tattered paperback copy of 'Princess of Mars' (price : 2'6 ) The film made Deja Thoris a rather more modern princess than the book did, it was written in 1912, so no surprise really . I watched the film with trepidation, thinking the update might trample on my childhood joy for the book (which I dare not re read as an adult, some things are best left as happy, innocent memories ...) but it was good fun. I was impressed with the special effects which did a great job on the more alien looking Barsoomian inhabitants and creatures .

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5 minutes ago, Ags said:

Surely that's gotta be Galileo?

Galilleo was the first (or possibly the second) to observe the sky telescopically and that's his medal. We must give him another one for his grasp, theoretically, of what he had seen. (Phases of Venus, an alternative centre of rotation in Jupiter, the stellar nature of the Milky Way, terrestrial-type features on the moon...)  But for the sheer volume of his discoveries, his knowledge of the sky and his incomparable visual acuity, I think we should recognize Barnard. When two colleagues were unsure of whether or not they were seeing a new double they called him to the eyepiece for his opinion. He excitedly confirmed the new double and added that one of the components was itself a double, something which would only be confirmed later via spectroscopy.

Olly

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9 hours ago, Mr Spock said:

Sometimes people see what they want or expect to see. 

I think this is quite common for example, spitting double stars when you know its there/finding structure in some feint fuzzys when you have seen an image of it..

Alan

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