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First look at Mars


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Hi All,

So I had been itching to view Mars through my new equipment for ages and last night finally got a chance. I used Televue Naglers 13 and 9 mm and then tried both with my new Power-mate 2.5, it was only with the 9 / power-mate combination (332x) that I saw anything remotely resembling Mars, any less combination showed no detail.

I found the experience quite frustrating, it was a very damp night and literally every 3 mins I had to wipe the front of the lens piece glass to clear the mist, the disc was surprisingly large in my field of view so with my 10 inch non tracking Dobsonian i was constantly having to nudge the planet back into view, although I did develop quite a nice technique eventually to allow the planet to initially be out of view and then slowly creep into view, quite exciting to see.

One thing I have noticed with the Naglers which is totally unexpected is that I see quite severe colour fringing on stars on planets, i.e. red and greed colours surrounding points of light, I need to experiment more but I dont think I saw this with the included Skywatcher 25mm Plossl, and I also did not get it with the Nagler/ powermate combination, could this be a fault with the scope or something to do with the amount of water vapor around? Note that I had collimated twice prior to this so don't think that was the problem.

Anyway all said and done, with an aching back, the fleeting blurry views did reveal an ice cap and some minor detail, so I packed up for the night feeling quite pleased with myself, I think Mars is a work in progress so look forward to trying again soon.


Skywatcher 250PX Truss Tube Dobsonian

AstroZap Light Shroud

Skywatcher supplied 25mm Plossl

Televue Nagler 13mm

Televue Nagler 9mm

Televue Power-Mate

Hotech cross hair collimator

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I got my first proper look at Mars the other night too. Sounds like a similar experience to your own, lots of dew. I just about saw some dark patches, but I was only at 250x so it could easily be that I thought I saw them rather than actually saw them. Will definitely have to try again. The best bit for me was that it was so close to the open cluster in Cancer - the one I can never spell, beehive :)

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I had to wipe the front of the lens piece glass to clear the mist

Wiping is not a very good idea as it may damage the coatings and it still makes the image worst. It's a bit like wiping the mirror on the bathroom after a shower. The most effective way to remove dew is to use a hair drier for a few seconds, lowest power and from a distance of about 10 cm. Just a few seconds removes the dew very well. You can either use a portable 12v drier or just plug a water prof extension cord and a regular hair drier.

I see quite severe colour fringing on stars on planets

My guess would be the dew drops ware causing diffraction and separating the basic colors in white light (similar to a rainbow). It's just a guess though. You should try then, hopefully on a less damp night to see how the EPs behave. The atmospheric conditions can cause completely distinct viewing experiences so you shouldn't reach a conclusion till you give them more use.

Edited by pvaz
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