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Underwhelmed by Mars


The Warthog
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I put my scope on Mars last night without a lot of hope for a great view, and I wasn't surprised.I put in my 4.8mm Nagler, and carefully focused, but the disk I was able to resolve (208x) was about the size of a mustard seed, and looked about the same. With a little time and a yellow filter, i was able to discern a hint of the polar cap, but nothing else.

Mars never fails to disappoint, and it didn't this time.

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It has certainly been a "toughie" this time around Warthog. Doesn't seem to take magnification well either unless conditions are exceptional unlike, say, Saturn.

It's been hard work to see details though all the apertures I've tried on it. I can completely understand newcomers to the hobby being somewhat deflated when the tiny salmon pink dot floats into view.

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That's a shame, WH. Recently I've been very impressed with Mars, and managed to get quite a lot of detail. Admittedly, I haven't tried in the last two weeks, but even a few weeks after opposition, I got the best detail from the surface I'd ever seen on Mars. I have pushed the magnification to 300x without problems.

In the 2007 apparition I remember my disappointment night after night, never seeing even an ice cap, but my opinion of Mars has somewhat turned around in 2010. Maybe it's just my scope (ED120)?

Andrew

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I dunno ... half the charm of Mars is that good views are so darned elusive. At least this opposition has been a whole lot better than the last one, at any rate in the UK - Mars atmosphere has been fairly clear & the jet stream has been running across Spain leaving us in cold but mostly stable and occasionally clear air.

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I've had some reasonable views of Mars but it can be a let-down.

Of course , when it was at its closest a few years back the altitude for us Northern observers was hopeless, so you can never win.

I sometimes wish that the silly Internet rumour about Mars that surfaces from time to time was actually true. In case you don't know about it, this is the sort of thing:

snopes.com: Mars Close to Earth

Would make viewing and imaging a lot easier!

Geoff

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Love the story in the link Geoff - if only!

I can't wait to see the salmon pink smudge when I get my scope - afterall, seeing anything at x million miles away is an achievement in itself!

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I too was still getting a good view of the Red planet on Sunday and Monday evening. Found it best just before full darkness set in. As with D25, i was still pulling plenty of detail at 200-300x.

For me, it's been one of the best Mars oppositions, certainly better than either 2003 or 2005. I think the difference is those two oppositions promised so much and there was so much hype (especially for 2003). But from the UK it was awful. Where as 2009/2010 promised little and delivered lots.

Russ

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Mars has been magical for me this time around. Had the most detailed views ever in my 8.5" scope. With my added aperture through the 16" it has been truly awesome when the air has been steady.

What I have found is that a good combination of aperture, magnification, seeing and patience pays dividends.

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