Saturday, May 26, 2018

Racing Towards Mars!

Yet another weekend promising clouds and rain.

Friday morning from just after midnight 'till dawn looked good, however.

So, I thwarted the forecast by taking yet another unplanned vacation day from work. I had the equipment out and set up by 0130 and stayed out long enough to greet the sunrise.

Afterward, I had a good long post-astronomy nap.

The moon was brightly shining, meaning that deep space objects (DSO) were washed out by the skyglow.

So, what did I do while waiting for Mars to rise, this time?

Played with the newly constructed Mars Mobile Observatory, of course!  

Mars Mobile Observatory, Aka CubCadet Lawn Tractor with the Grab-n-Go Scope

Well, okay.  As much fun as it might have been to zoom around the yard in the wee hours of the morning with the Grab-n-Go scope strapped to the lawn tractor, I left the neighborhood to its sleepy slumber and kept the tractor nestled quietly in its corner of the garage.

While waiting for Mars, I actually played with the equipment and prepared for the next blog post, tentatively titled, "Focus on Mars."  

Newest image of Mars ahead!

I captured seven videos of Mars in SER format, with the first at 0230, and the last at 0459.  I hoped to catch a time when the column of air between me and Mars was most stable.

I post processed each afterwards with AutoSakkert!3 and RegiStax.  It turns out that the 0452 capture of Mars had the highest quality data.

This is the resultant image:

Mars, May 25th, 2018 at 0452

 And the Virtual Planets Atlas predicted:

Mars is showing more and more detail.

We are racing towards Mars.  Only two more months until opposition.


  1. Haha, yeah, I don't the the sleeping neighbors would be very happy if you raced around the yard in the wee hours of the morning with your lawn tractor! Thanks for posting.

    1. With the varmints that traipse through our property after dark, I think the desire to avoid collisions with them is the greatest deterrence to nocturnal zooming with the Mars Mobile Observatory. The lawn tractor has no headlights. ;-)

  2. We need to make PVC / Tarp screens to hold in mosquito detergents and keep wind and varmints out! I intend to use a fan and motion sensors as well. Beary Scary!

    1. I bought a Thermacell mosquito repellent gadget a couple of years ago. It's still in the box, unused. Mosquitos largely leave me alone when I'm out with scope.


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