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  #1  
Old 11-05-2018, 10:01 AM
glend (Glen)
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Mars Opposition in July, Getting Ready

With Mars approaching Opposition at the end of July, time to start planning for this event. As this Opposition will have Mars closer (and thus larger) than recent previous Oppositions, and as it will not be equaled or better until about 2050 (when I will be long gone), I think this one is pretty special. Thinking both visually and imaging, what is your take on equipment, etc to best capture this event in its best detail.

Obviously Seeing conditions will be important, and hopefully the first weekend of Qld Astrofest, will deliver that Seeing.

So what are you dusting off or acquiring, for this event. Interested in your views on boosting magnification with high X barlow, and good visual EPs for long focal length detail delivery. Cameras? Do they have to be high frame rate, lucky imaging variety, Ala ASI but which one? Better detail resolution with mono files but stacking RGB frames - rotation Issues?

Last edited by glend; 11-05-2018 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:00 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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I had my 4” out last week at 170x in binoviewers in so-so seeing and there was still quite a bit to be seen.
When it gets closer I’ll definitely be taking out my Mewlon.

I do plan on getting an AZ-EQ6 for this season to make visual viewing more comfortable.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:30 AM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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This is what I have been seeing and imaging earlier this week. Have been mostly using an 127mm Apo and 203mm newt.
Image was taken with the 203mm f6 newt, EQ6, 2.5x Powermate ZWO290mc. Best 500 of 3000 frames at 640 X 480 res.
Will be using the same gear until I get my 250mm newt finished sometime in the next month and then compare results with the 203mm as to what will be used most of the time. Hope the winter seeing conditions are kind to us, probably the last good opposition for me in my astronomical life so want to make the most of it.

Cheers
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:52 AM
astro744
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glend View Post
With Mars approaching Opposition at the end of July, time to start planning for this event. As this Opposition will have Mars closer (and thus larger) than recent previous Oppositions, and as it will not be equaled or better until about 2050 (when I will be long gone),
No need to wait until 2050 as the 2035 opposition is a little closer than 2018. (Second last figure, i.e. 24.3, 24.5, 25.0)

Mars 2018 Jul 27 15:13 20.54427 -25.49794 24.3 -2.8
Mars 2035 Sep 16 5:39 23.70924 -8.03714 24.5 -2.8
Mars 2050 Aug 14 17:52 21.76552 -20.73001 25.0 -2.9

In 2020 Mars will be 22.3 arc sec. and in 2033 it will be 21.9 arc sec. Every 15 to 17 years is a good opposition.


Data from U.S. Naval Observatory MICA program, Willmann-Bell publisher.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:01 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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I will be using my 2 telescopes last week of July for the Mars opposition down at my holiday house ( good semi dark location )

Viewing ( dependant on seeing conditions)
10” dob with Televue Delos 4.5mm or 6mm, alternatively Delos 10mm with 2 x Televue powermate
6” f6 reflector on HEQ5 mount with Delos 4.5mm or Delos 6mm with 2 x Televue powermate

Imaging
6” f6 reflector on HEQ5 mount with either 5 x Televue powermate ,4 x Televue powermate or 2 x Televue powermate through a stock Canon 600D with 35mm / 50mm extension adaptors

Let’s hope for clear skies that week
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Old 18-05-2018, 12:11 PM
SkyWatch (Dean)
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I had a look last week with my 4" refractor. I didn't stay up late enough to see it high in the sky, but even at 20 degree altitude in average seeing I could make out pretty much as shown by Jeff's excellent shot. Not as sharp of course! Syrtis Major and a polar cap were clearly visible.

A good scope with more aperture will give you more resolution, but a 4" does the job pretty well, even at the current size of around 13".

Worth a look with any scope really..

All the best,

Dean
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Old 18-05-2018, 12:33 PM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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Have been fortunate to have mostly clear skies and reasonable to very good seeing this week. Sleep deprivation is catching up but have to make the most of the good conditions, glad I don't have to work any more.
Been using the 203mm newt and 127mm apo and enjoying teasing out recognisable features such as Syrtis Major visually plus taking more avis'. Still delighted that it is possible to see features on something that is still over 75 Mkm away and only 12 arc sec app dia. July and August should be very interesting if the weather co-operates and Mars doesn't develop major dust storms.
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Old 21-05-2018, 12:57 PM
sil
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I think it'll be very close to its peak size of july 27 for a few weeks either side, not a rapid change in size/brightness, so should be lots of opportunity to try different configurations and settings for photography or just do visual or pray for clear skies. No need to wait until the day. Mars is currently good for late night and slowly moving into evening hours in the coming months so start trying the limits of your gear now with Jupiter in early evening and fine tune and plan for what you want from Mars.
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Old 21-05-2018, 01:22 PM
glend (Glen)
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A wonderfully clear week here. Dedicated last night to the iStar 127mm f12 (1524mm fl) on the three big planets currently overhead. Jupiter and Saturn were wonderfully sharp and stable until I added my 2x Televue Barlow - when things got fuzzy. I had tried the Edge Hd8 the night before ( at 2032mm fl) and had the same result. The iStar certainly gave a better view than the Edge HD8 at native focal length. Mars was the most disappointing of the three but I suspect it had to do with altitude, with Mars being only 40 degrees high compared to observing Jupiter and Saturn above 60 degrees. Think I need to get an Orange filter too.
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Old 21-05-2018, 11:51 PM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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Indeed Mars will be + 20" from late June until early Sept, so plenty of time to aim the telescope at the planet with the disc at an good size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sil View Post
I think it'll be very close to its peak size of july 27 for a few weeks either side, not a rapid change in size/brightness, so should be lots of opportunity to try different configurations and settings for photography or just do visual or pray for clear skies. No need to wait until the day. Mars is currently good for late night and slowly moving into evening hours in the coming months so start trying the limits of your gear now with Jupiter in early evening and fine tune and plan for what you want from Mars.
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