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Mars x2


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A couple of drawings made on the 17th. Was very pleased to see subtle brown markings, on the observation made in the evening. Amazonis was on the CM, with Sirenum in the south, with brightening below. Limb brightening was seen on the preceding and following limbs.

Both observations made with a Japanese Towa 339 refractor.


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Great work indeed. Do you mind me asking if you used filters at all to enhance some of the features? You've recorded a lot of detail, some of which i found incredibly hard to see. Would you say some of those features were difficult to record? Sorry for the questions, just trying to get an idea of how your view compared to my own.


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Hi Russ

With me using only small aperture scopes, I tend to find that filters don't really help me. A red filter darkens the view too much for me,

I did try a yellow one but it did not really do anything.

The fainter surface details can be really hard to pick up, only showing themselves when the seeing conditions are right.

On the evening observation, the features around Amazonis were seen as brown patches that were a different colour to the rest of

Mars. The contrast was very low, and they could quite easily have been over looked.

The scope I'm using is very good indeed, it might only be 80mm but I have to say that it is one of the best planetary scopes (in its aperture size)

I have ever looked through. It quite easily shows the faint marking on Venus. The only scope I've had nicer views through was a Takahashi FS-78.,

but the Towa was not far behind.

I also do all of my Mars observing with binoviewers, a cheap Seben pair with plossl eyepieces costing no more than £30 each.

I've found that I can pick out the fainter detail much more easily with the binoviewers. I honestly think that the binoviewers really

have made a difference to the amount of detail I can pick up.

So for me, its been a combination of scope quality, binoviewers and of course the all important seeing conditions on the night.

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Excellent info, thanks Towa. It seems binoviewers could be on the cards for me too. You say the Seben version is okay? I'll scan Ebay later. It also means i can pick up a second 8mm Paradigm (250x in the SCT).

Towa, the scopes look absolutely superb. Real classic refractors and yes i can imagine they are just perfect.

Paul, you are right. I've been finding 250-300x a great magnification for Mars. Reasonable size disk and reduces the glare that swamps the view at 150-200x.

Dweller, what binoviewers do you use yourself?


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Thanks everyone for the nice comments.

Russ / Paul

Just be careful with buying eyepieces below 9mm. With the cheaper Binoviewers you may encounter problems with merging the images

and eye relief will be very tight indeed.

Also if you have to use a Barlow or OCA to achive focus, then using smaller eyepieces will produce insane magnification thats far to

much for anything.

With my binoviewers (the same as the Rev ones) I do use a barlow on my two of my scopes, one of 816mm FL and one of 1,000mm FL.

With these scopes I use a pair of 20mm eyepieces. I put a shorty barlow in the diagonal then use a a couple of extension tubes

in the shorty which I can move up and down to increase the magnification and image scale.

The lowest magnification will be obtained by screwing an OCA or lens off a barlow direct into the nose piece of the bino.

In this configuration I find that the bino increase the magnication by around 3.5x when used with my 2x barlow lens.

So for example my 1,000 FL scope will give a magnification of around 175x with the 20mm eyepieces.


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Many thanks. That's great information and I'll bear all that in mind.

Have a question - Is the barlow element to achieve focus/move focus point out with the refractor/newt? Would the SCT with it's huge focus range need the barlow in the train? Just trying to work out what i could get away with. As you say, with a 2x barlow in there, the mags will be silly with the SCT. I'll also need to make sure the Paradigms aren't too wide (physically) for a binoviewer. Which would mean finding some binoviewer friendly eyepieces. This always happens with this hobby. You have a bright idea and suddenly the costs snowball.....hehe.

Edited by russ
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hmm they look very nice...... a cut above the Revelation jobbies i've just been viewing on Telescope House. Probably best i don't ask the price. The Rev viewers are £75 delivered.


i have the revelation binos from telescope house ,have only looked at the moon with them the veiws were amazing..........kev

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For the drawings I use a set of Ryman professional blendable colouring pencils,

they had them on offer, two packets for £1. The colours I use most are orange, brown,black,

red along with a range of HB pencils. I use a cotton bud to merge the colours together.

The finished drawing is then scanned into the computer, but the scan does not reproduce the drawing

as good as it looks on paper. So I take the scanned drawing into MGI Photosuite, in this programme

I can restore the colours back to the same level as the paper drawing. I then use the Soften/blur tool

to remove any traces of the pencil lines. It's this tool that gives the drawing that nice orange look.

Working in Photosuite does take a bit of getting use to, my first ever e-sketch of Jupiter took me an hour and was not all that great.

Now I can produce a finished drawing within 10 minute of scanning into the computer.


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