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Opportunist Mars Mission Between Clouds


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It’s been a while but I got the urge tonight… When parking the car I first noted that it had stopped raining and second that between scudding clouds the Moon, Jupiter and Mars looked quite crisp.  

The Mak 127 has been left set up for just such an occasion and I was quickly out & viewing Mars from around 9:30.  
At first the still-cooling Mak was only revealing the polar cap (or more likely hood) in steadier moments but as things stabilised I got some more detail. 
I started with the Baader Zoom and enjoyed letting the planet drift across the wide (by the standards of my EP stable anyway) field.  10mm - 150x in the Mak seemed doable with some 3 or 4 second bursts of decent seeing revealing darker shading in each hemisphere with a lighter area to the NW. 

Switching to the slightly crisper 10mm Baader Classic Ortho with a Neodymium filter confirmed the features and gave better definition.   

A thicker bank of cloud intervened so I switched SW to Jupiter for a few minutes and enjoyed the 4 moons all strung out to the West and some good texture in N&S equatorial bands - the South in particular looking more contrasty than it often does. At times I was getting a view of the Temperate bands too & darker grey tones at the North pole. 
Shredding cloud allowed me another 20 minutes or so on Mars. Everything nice and cool now and these were my best views of the session. Definitely seeing Mare in both the N & S hemisphere, the S being the larger of the two. The white line of the polar region better defined.  

Tried stepping up to 6mm - 250x, but the sky wasn’t having it so back to 150x. This time I played with a UHC which although making everything a dim green, really made the polar region pop and sharpened the boundaries of what I assumed to be Mare.  
Seeing the cloud rolling back in, thicker this time and threatening another shower, I enjoyed my last couple of minutes filterless and retreated having grabbed the best part of an hour of really enjoyable discovery. 
 Back inside with a cuppa I was chuffed to check Stellarium and a couple of books and recognise the shapes I’d seen as, I think, Mare Acidalium in the North & Mare Erythraeum to the South, my first Martian features identified beyond the pole! 

Glad I popped out… 





Edited by SuburbanMak
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