Sunday, October 4, 2020

Mars or Bust

Clear sky last night.

Predicting seeing?  Just average.  Well, that is much better than not being able to see the sky at all, I suppose. Shoo, clouds!

When I pointed the Cat at Mars, I saw the typical, for average seeing, slightly boiling in atmospheric shimmering, face of Mars.  Bright red.  Brighter than Jupiter, now that it is at opposition.

Features were visible, when viewing through the eyepiece.

I put my planetary imager, the ZWO ASI224MC, on the Cat and captured tens of gigabytes of data, hoping to have some success via "lucky imaging."

Here is the resulting image:

Hello, Mars, God of War

Yep. The image captured some surface features on Mars' face, but what are they? To answer that, I like to get a frame of reference by comparing my images with other sources.

Recently, I stumbled across a, new to me, tool that provides a model of what one should expect to see when observing Mars.  I decided to use last night's observing session to test it.

It is a web app provided by the British Astronomical Association and with last night's date and time, it provided this:

The face of Mars, 10/03/2020, at 2306 EST

I think the model and my image line up pretty well with each other!

Now that Mars is at opposition, I'll be keeping a keen eye on the "seeing" forecasts.  It has been months since we've had good or excellent seeing.  We are overdue, aren't we?





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