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Why is Mars such a *&"$(&! ?


BrownClaw
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Is the focuser a bit of a pain to use? There's some tutorials around the web for stripping down the focusers and replacing the grease with a good quality lithium grease. Should make it smoother.

Also, I think the Skywatcher Autofocus unit fits your scope and this transforms planetary viewing. The focus is done with a hand paddle, so don't touch the scope. And the focus motor has enough torque to focus smoothly. That way you have a chance of getting a good focus with no jiggles.

Argh! Not something else to lust after (and spend money on). I think this'll fit my Explorer 150 from looking on FLO ... :)

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It's not the light pollution which is a problem at all. The problem is that most of us are observing from sea level or just above (or even below, here in the Netherlands). It is the amount of air mass above you that hurts. Most of the best pre-space-probe observations of Mars come from observatories high up in the mountains. A place like Pic-du-Midi gets WAY better seeing (especially when the cold air flows down the mountain in certain nights). Nothing can beat that bar going into space. Some of the best views of Jupiter I have ever had was from the (low) mountains in southern France, or indeed on slightly hazy nights.

Good luck

Michael

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Argh! Not something else to lust after (and spend money on). I think this'll fit my Explorer 150 from looking on FLO ... :)

Hehe but fear not, the price is not too bad. :eek: And definitely a fit for your 150P. The latest Autofocus also works with the Crayford, which is awesome!

Russ

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How a pray for a light fog!!! Haven't seen or done any imaging for ages now!!!

For Mars I recommend a cheap web-cam, an IR pass filter, Registax and lot and lots of patience, something I've not got!!!

Neil

Yes indeed, i picked up a Philips Vesta 675 brand new from Ebay for £7 + postage. Plus a nosepiece for £9 delivered. £18 for my planetary imaging setup. :)

I've yet to use it mind!

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All good advice about the sky. What at first looks like a poop sky could well be a good one for planetary crowd but useless for the deepsky lot. While on the otherhand you can have a sky that looks so clear (transparent) but be completely useless for anything planetary.

So nothing wrong with a bit of mist. :)

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Another interesting thread with lots of good points coming out of a straightforward post.

I'd love to get a good look at Mars too, but I'm aware from reading the posts here that a lot of things needs to come together for this to happen. Not least right now is a sky that isn't full of clouds!

Too many things in today's world are instantly available. My 'goto' mount is a bit of a cheat I admit, but it's only one small element of helping me see what I want to see.

Personally, I find the fact that astronomy is a hobby that requires much patience is one of the biggest reasons I've got into it.

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Some great info and tips in this thread! :)

Just wanted to clarify that as the OP I wasn't having a serious whinge about anything; I just wondered if there was a reason for the historical infamy of Mars as regards observations, and its far more realistic personality of being a bit of a sneaky one to see clearly when compared with, say, the ease one generally has with Jupiter.

Apologies if the title caused any offence also, I received a (very friendly) PM from a moderator, and I've read another thread in here which highlights the use of symbols to bypass profanity filters. This was not my intent in the slightest; I used the symbols to indicate a comedic frustration, and didn't intend to come across as potty mouthed.

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This is the Autofocus unit:

Misc’ - SkyWatcher Auto Focuser

Worryingly it doesn't mention the 130P as a supported model. But reading the specs for the 130P AZ Goto and looking at a pic, that model has the bog standard 2" Rack & Pinion focuser which definitely accepts the Autofocus. Have a chat with Steve, i'd be surprised if doesn't fit. It would be the most worthwhile upgrade to your scope. :)

I would be interested to know if this would work with a 130p AZ goto as I find focusing a bit of a pain at higher mag, esp when imaging planets. I am looking at either this or the Orion one, which looks similar to this. Any confirmation on this would be greatful. thanks.

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I would be interested to know if this would work with a 130p AZ goto as I find focusing a bit of a pain at higher mag, esp when imaging planets. I am looking at either this or the Orion one, which looks similar to this. Any confirmation on this would be greatful. thanks.

Me too. I did PM Steve a few days ago but no reply as of yet.:)

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Its worth also remembering when you say astronomers of old got good view they also had substantially bigger scopes than any amateur and were working with darker more stable skies than the average UK amatuer of today.

See the pic of Lowell below and his observatory was halfway up a mountain in stable air with no light pollution- its also worth remembering that no one apart from Lowell ever observed the supposed canals.

post-14805-133877420548_thumb.jpg

Edited by Astro_Baby
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.... its also worth remembering that no one apart from Lowell ever observed the supposed canals.

I thought I read somewhere that Schiaparelli had observed and noted them in 1877 - he called them "canali"

But I agree that Lowell's name is the one most often associated with them.

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Your right John, my memory of this stuff is a bit hazy - Schiaparelli observed them but Lowell was obsessed by them. Lowell did a lot of sketches and became very obsessed with Mars but no one I think since has seen the sort of detail Lowell claimed to have seen.

WIth that said we dont really know if what Lowell was seeing might not have been some aberration thats since gone. After all some planetary features come and go and we are learning new stuff all the time. He might have been observing some transitory phenemonen or perhaps he was simply overly imaginative in his quest.

In any event few amatuers have the sort of kit Lowell had - the one in the pic is ( I think) the Alvan Clarke 24" refractor with a 22' focal length. Thats some tube he had there :)

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no one apart from Lowell ever observed the supposed canals.

Lowell didn't observe them, they don't exist, but he - and lots of other people - thought they saw a network of canals. Lowell wasn't the first - canal type features appear in some of the drawings made by Beer & Madler in the 1840s - and was by no means the last, they were commonly drawn by amateurs with 6-12" scopes as recently as the 1960s - until the space probe images showed the canals to be absent. At which point people abruptly stopped seeing them.

Morals: (1) what you think you see is not necessarily what's there; (2) you're more likely to see what you expect than what you don't expect.

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