Old 19-03-2016, 11:03 PM
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Location: Long Island, New York, USA
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Observation Report - Mars and Saturn

3-19-16 - Long Island, New York, USA
Mars and Saturn - All reports are as seen in the eyepiece.

Orion XT8i used manually, Celestron 8-24 zoom, Meade 4.5 mm HD60, Daytson 2X barlow, mix of filters

Clear sky, approx 35 degrees F. 0-3 mph breeze, clear sky. seeing good, transparency less than optimal.

Mars - 5 am.

At all magnifications between 50 and 300X Mars was a red/orange ball with a whitish glow at the lower right area.Perhaps just uneven lighting or perhaps polar ice cap. Hard to tell.

A glow appeared around the planet and 4 points of glow emanated out from the planet. Chalk that up to less than transparent atmosphere and a bright object. Could not get a sharp image at any magnification.

Crystal view moon filter cut some of the glow but did not help on sharpness.

Wanted to try the Orion ND 25% moon filter but put in DGM Nebulae filter by mistake. Produced a well defined orange ball with no glow around it. Better image than before but still no details. Whitish area no longer visible.

My neighbor came out to leave for work and was startled to see me there, in front of the scope. When I said good morning she was relieved to see it was me.

Saturn - About 5:30 am

Using the zoom at 50X you could easily see the rings and the gap to the planet. Fairly clear image but lots of glow around it. Seeing looked pretty good. When I zoomed to 150X the image quality was good but no details to the planet itself.

HD60 4.5 mm/266X Image good but no planetary details.

Added 2X Daytson barlow - larger image but softer focus.

Back to HD60 alone - Adding filters

23A - a hint of cloud bands on the planet

56 - green image but no additional detail

21 - Orangish - no help

82A - no help

12 - slight hit of planetary cloud bands

Just for fun I tried my OIII filter - no help

6:10 am - East is starting to light up. Clouds are rolling in from SW. Time to pack it up.

All in all, a good session.

Last edited by AEAJR; 21-03-2016 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 21-03-2016, 04:09 PM
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Hi Ed, nice report mate. I take it that 35 deg is in Fahrenheit. Nice effort there on a frosty morning. Here in Western Australia we will be getting similar temps in the early morning around June/July and I really need some motivation just to get out of the bed sheets.

On your observing, we win some we lose some don't we Ed. Not everyday we get perfect conditions and if not then just the challenge alone of teasing any slight detail out as you did makes the observing enjoyable. Sounds like you had a little fun with your filters and why not if they are there.
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Old 21-03-2016, 10:49 PM
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Thanks for the comment on the temperature. I need to remember to mark that in my reports.

Yes, some days are better than others but they are all worth the time.

We got snow last night. Have to go shovel out.
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Old 22-03-2016, 08:01 AM
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Rick Parrott

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A great report! You are obviously spending some decent time observing each object; a lesson I am only learning now (rather than trying to find 20 objects in the 1 session and only looking at each for a minute! )
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Old 22-03-2016, 09:20 AM
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The planets are not always conveniently visible.

Jupiter is at opposition so I have been focused on that.

Mars will be in opposition this summer so I want to see how it changes.

Saturn, well Saturn is always a joy to see.

When they go away I will go back to the DSOs.
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Old 28-04-2016, 07:20 PM
Bombardon (Eugene)
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Hi Ed,
A very honest report as usual. My hazy planets are exactly like yours I am hoping to try a home-made occulting bar to try to see Phoebus and Deimos in a few weeks when Muddled Mars gets up a bit and draws closer...
Good viewing, Eugene
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Old 29-04-2016, 04:50 PM
75BC (Brendon)
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Enjoy reading your reports on the planets Ed as they are favourites of mine.

I recently had my first decent view of Mars ever. Could actually see features instead of just a red dot.

Using 106x, 140x, 186x, 280x in a less than well collimated SCT, under average conditions, and looking through a lot of atmosphere, I was surprized that the image became soft going from 140x to 186x but didnít deteriorate further when pushed to 280x.
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mars, observation, saturn

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