Mars OR

by Marc Lichtenberg

Did not make it to IHOP on Saturday or Sunday. The clouds did not look too favorable looking up that way.

Sunday night I set up at home in Shingle Springs and did some casual observing with family. The seeing was excellent but with the Moon being up and and light pollution I was getting about Mag 3.9 skies. Later when the Moon went down I was able to see about 4.5.

The fuzzy stuff like nebulas were terrible. On M51 I was just able to make out 2 dim little fuzz balls on my 8". The Globulars looked pretty good.

What was worth the wait was Mars.

WOW, It is really starting to look great! I was surprised on how much bigger Mars has grown since Shingletown. Bigger than what Jupiter usually is. The image was hardly "swimming" at all. The Southern Cap was strikingly bright. Just above and to the left Hellas was a large tan oval. Across the middle going E/W was a dark region in kind of a bowtie shape. That I believe was Syrtis Major to the upper left with Mare Tyrrhenum in the lower. Iapygia Viridis was in the center. Moving to the right was Sinus Sabaeus forming a dark wide line. Below that to the right I believe it was the Mare Serpentis, Hellespontus, Noachis area. In the upper center region above the "bowtie" you could see the Moab/Arabia region in a nice light tan color.

I was quite amazed at what I just saw. Never had I seen Mars in such detail before.

8" SCT @ 160~266x