Mars OR 9/6/03

by Stacy Jo McDermott

Saturday night turned out to be a fine observing night for looking at Mars. I observed in two places. First at the Randall Museum where Jane and Mojo were helping out with Mars night and second at my own place in Pacifica.

The Randall Museum event had on hand quite a number of people. A friend and I had gone out to dinner beforehand and when I mentioned the event, he was up for seeing Mars in its historic context. We were not disappointed with the views through the Jones' 7" refractor and get this, their 4.5" starblast from Orion. In both telescopes, the polar ice cap was visiable as well as the Syrtis Major Plain.

At home, with Mars a little higher in the sky, I got steady views. Using my 120mm with a 15mm eyepiece on a 2x barlow, I was able to make a good sketch of the red planet. Even though my artistic talent was a bit lacking, it ended up being an accurate redintion of Mars. I'll be saving it for future generations of McDermotts. ;-)

So after waiting out the fog for almost a week, I finally was able to relax and enjoy my Mars views over the course of the weekend. While I missed it's closest approach due to the fog, I'm happy that only a mere 2 million miles (give or take) have passed and had the opportunity to see it closer than I've ever seen it before.