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2003/12/24, 00:45 UT, CM=318 Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 212x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Cold, but not freezing. Light wind. Cold front with rain moved through today. Only 9 arcseconds! Amazing that any markings are visible, but they are, with some detail. Two brighter areas - view is too dim in this scope to use a filter. The one near the center could be dust in Hellas, or it Hellas could just be bright. Rare early evening observation since the kids are in bed early awaiting St Nick.
2003/10/14, 01:15 UT, CM=283 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. Calm, high clouds, incoming frontal system. Cool. Somewhat moist. No weather, small South Polar Cap. Northern Hellas is still bright, but not as bright as a week ago and the bright area doesn't appear to be as extended south as before. 20-inch (TJ) stopped down to 17-inches.
2003/10/10, 01:00 UT, CM=316 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. Calm, warm, slow, rolling seeing, often bad, but providing for good views lasting several seconds. The news here, of course, is the dust cloud in Hellas. Brighter, perhaps somewhat larger and perhaps has moved south somewhat. Appears to me to be moving out of Hellas. No other weather and no sign of North Polar Hood.
2003/10/08, 01:45 UT, CM=346 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. Cool, very calm. Pretty good seeing, good moments. Quite transparent, Moon in the sky. Nice late summer evening. Bright area in northern Hellas seen well. Following side of bright area appears to extend outside and slightly south of Hellas. This area was bright in white and red (w25) light. It was not bright in blue (w47). No North Polar Cap. Very fine detail across the disk. 20-inch (TJ) stopped down to 17-inches.
2003/10/07, 03:15 UT, CM=19 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10, but moments of 6 and 7 out of 10. Pretty unstable air. Warmer, no wind, very calm. Temps in the 60s. Mars was very close to the Moon. Much detail seen in the moments of good seeing. Most note worthy is the brightness of Hellas on the preceding limb. Most of Hellas was bright in both white and red (W25) light, but the southern section of Hellas was also bright in blue (w47). Gotta suspect there might be some dust stirring in the Hellas basin. South Polar Cap is small, with little or no detail. It is now clearly detached from the southern-most limb of the planet. A good amount of North Polar Hood, quite blue in color. Follow limb was very clearly under phase. Mars is down to less then 20 arcseconds.
2003/10/02, 03:30 UT, CM=67 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 240x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 3 out of 10. Very cool (frost warnings are out), crisp, very transparent. Ever since cold fronts started to move through the area, the seeing has been awlful. At least 30 degree deltas between day and night now. Difficult observation, low power only. White light and W25 (red). South Polar Cap small, not oval in shape. A small area of brightening in both white and red light on preceding northern limb. Possible North Polar Hood. Very light surface detail. Disk size has really shrunk.
2003/09/26, 03:30 UT, CM=121 Bowie MD, 6-inch f/15 refractor 270x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. A very quick observation. Cool, nice fall evening, hazy, thin clouds. First post Hurricane Isabel observation. Haven't pulled the 20-inch back out yet. Mostly observed with the w25 (red) filter. No apparent weather, nice detail in Solis Lacus. South Polar Cap was much brighter and more apparent then my last ob on 9/17. Just the start of seeing the phase on the following side. Center of Solis Lacus was the darkest marking and caught the see first. Very apparent. Almost striking how this drawing looks almost like a drawing of Jupiter!
2003/09/17, 04:20 UT, CM=214 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. On the eve of Hurricane Isabel, the calm before the storm. Cool, extremely transparent... perhaps the most transparent sky I've see in two years. South Polar Cap was tiny, almost difficult; even more difficult to make out any detail in the poor seeing. Just a hint of a North Polar hood. Blue haze on following side, seen well in white light.
2003/09/11, 05:15 UT, CM=282 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. Wonderful, cool, dry weather. Seeing had been better in the evening, but got worse over the course of the night. Careful observation to pick up details on the surface. Northern section of Hellas is bright and slightly yellow. Very bright in the W25 (red). It also appears larger then it did on 9/7, so I believe this is dust. Cloud has drifted southward, mostly in the following side of the basin. Mt. of Mitchel seen by th South Polar Cap. Lots of other detail on surface. Darker features were pretty easy to see through the w47 (blue) filter. Is this possible blue clearing?
2003/09/07, 05:30 UT, CM=320 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 43k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Some thin, high clouds drifting over Mars. Cool, calm, classic DC start of fall weather. Surprisingly good seeing since a cold front only recently passed through. Much better detail then on 9/6 (as good as that was!). South Polar Cap showed both pieces broken off, dark "shadows" under the pieces as well as the main cap. And, the "remains" of the dark collar that was so visible two months ago was clearly seperated from the SPC. Otherwise, no real sign of weather. Normal brightness in Hellas, and off Sinus Meridiani. Very nice collar around northern part of Hellas and very good detail in the southern part of the basin. Ismenius Lacus in the far north seen in moments of good seeing. Dark markings were suprisingly visible in W47 (blue)filter, but no apparent clouds.
2003/09/06, 03:45 UT, CM=304 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. Following a friends and family Mars Watch party. Calm, cool, recent cold front. No bugs, really a great night, other then the seeing wasn't as good as wished. No weather seen... no NPH, or limb clouds. Just lots and lots of surface detail. Perhaps more detail in Syrtis Major then I've ever drawn before. Interesting breaks on both P and F sides of SM. Hellas basin is clearly "divided" into a northern brighter section and the southern darker section that showed detail within the basin.
2003/08/30, 04:40 UT, CM=19 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. Extremely humid, following T-storm and about a 1/2-inch of rain. Poor seeing, but workable, specially given the size of the planet. Really more detail, specially with the w25(red) filter then can draw. Of note though, was a complete apparent connection between Oxia Palus in the south and Niliacus Lacus in the north. Apparent North Polar Hood and nice blue limb hazes on both P and F sides of planet that clearly interfered with seeing surface details on the limbs. South Polar Cap is broken into a couple of chunk with some area appearing more dusty then in the past couple of weeks. Very ragged edges.
2003/08/29, 02:25 UT, CM=355 Bowie MD, 6-inch f/15 refractor 180-274x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Short observation between trees. Warm, humid, no wind, distant lightning, increasing clouds. Set up the old 6-inch f/15 achromat! Still a very good performer. Who cares about a little color when you are mostly using color filters anyway. For the first time, planet surface seemed to appear on the "other side" of the South Polar Cap. Some detail in the SPC, including the broken off chunk on the preceding side. A very nice amount of detail across the surface of the planet. Sinus Merdiani and Margaritifer Sinus were very dark and very easy to make out. Quick glimpse of North Polar Hood in white light before tree blocked view.
2003/08/26, 04:00 UT, CM=45 Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 225-270x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Recent cold front pretty much trashed the good seeing that had previously experienced... at least for a few days with the big scopes. So to have some fun! Pulled out the trusty 4-inch planetary scope; my original Mars scope, built for the 1986 Opposition. A half dozen oppositions later and dozens of great observing sessions with this little scope and this had to rank up as one of the best. 25 arcseconds for the 4-inch, and tons of detail. For the first time, I was able to comfortably use w25 (red) and w47 (blue) filters. Mars looked quite clear with little happening other than some North Polar Hood action. Very nice detail in the Mare Erythraeum area. This area was nicely framed by Solis Lacus (following) and Sinus Meridiani (P). Niliacus Lacus, north of ME, was quite dark and very apparent, perhaps the darkest northern feature of this opposition.
2003/08/22, 03:05 UT, CM=111 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 260-480x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. Calm, warm, humid, no dew. South Polar Cap had much detail, even through the seeing was only average. Extention on the following side, break (Mt of Mitchell?) on the preceding side. Solas Lacus is clearly the treat here, almost too much detail to draw. Three next extensions connecting the "eye" with the "eyelid". Some very faint grey areas to the north with very difficult lighter areas that could be one of the volcanos, but it is difficult to tell. This was right at the very edge of detection during the moments of the best seeing.
2003/08/20, 07:15 UT, CM=146 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 260-480x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Calm, warm, no dew, quite dry. Hazy, no wind. The Mt. of Michell area on the South Polar Cap was very extended and almost detached from the rest of the SPC. The following side of the SPC is gray and very mottled in texture. Much detail across the rest of the surface, but not very much apparent detail in the north. Pretty quick drawing made just before the planet moved behind a tree. Observing session in company with Washington Post reporter. 20-inch stopped down to 17-inches.
2003/08/18, 06:15 UT, CM=149 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 260-480x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 4/5 out of 10. First Mars observation in weeks under completely clear skies. Cool, dry, no dew. Very fast seeing that improved over time. Over all impression was that the markings were faint and pretty difficult to see. Required a good amount of effort (specially at 480x) and time to see details. The South Polar Cap seems to be more broken up and smaller. Following side of the SPC almost appears to have greyed out completely. Of more interest (to me at least) were very, very faint and very fleeting hints of detail north of Mare Siremun area... (for want of better seeing!), especially in the area of Olypmus Mons. However, I did not see any bright clouds in the Amazonnis/Tharsis regions, even in blue light. North Polar Hood continues to be bright in both blue and white. No following limb haze this morning.
2003/08/15, 06:40 UT, CM=181 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 260-480-680x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. Very humid, very hot. Hard to tell if it's dew or just left over rain from a late evening thunderstorm. Seeing actually pretty poor. Some interesting weather... bright North Polar Hood. Pretty bright cloud in south, near Elysium, perhaps activity over a volcano. There was also a faint, blue hazyness along the north following limb that appeared to extend into the planet a good amount, mostly over Mare Tyrrhenum. Otherwise, a nice amount detail. The Thyles Mons region in the South Polar Cap was extended away from the rest of the SPC and was much brighter. 20-inch scope stopped down to 17-inches.
2003/08/12, 07:55 UT, CM=226 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480-680x: 46k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10, with moments of 8 out of 10. On the heels of a late night thunderstorm, very humid, quite warm. Scope wasn't uncovered until right before observation. Still air, high, thin clouds drifting in front of Mars. Observed until the planet was blocked by the Silver Maple tree. Very much struck by how dark Mare Cimmerium and Mare Sirenum were... the darkest markings I've seen this season. Much, much detail in both MS and MC. Especially looked for and saw the two northward pointing dark markings from MC during moments of good seeing. Sytris Major and Hellas on the following limb had a surprising amount of detail. Marking in the following north might be Nodus Alcyonius. Other northern marking is Elysium. South Polar Cap was loaded with detail; the most detail I've seen in a Martian polar cap. Mostly done with W25 (red) filter. Bright North Polar Hood; brighter then last week, but about the same size. 20-inch (TJ) stopped down to 17-inches.
2003/08/07, 06:50 UT, CM=255 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480-680x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Somewhat cool... temps in the 70's. No wind, poor transparency (3 out of 10), moderate to heavy dew. Very, very steady seeing. Used 680x (12mm erfle + 2.4x barlow). Overwhelming amount of detail, especially in Syrtis Major, Mare Tyrrhenum and Mare Cimmerium. Mare Hadracum, around Hellas, was loaded with detail, with faint twists and lines. Around the edges of Syrtis Major, there was much detail. The notch between SM and Syrtis Minor was very clear and easy, with a faint extention that almost completed the north-south connection on the preceding side. Hesperia, the gap between MT and MC showed some very faint markings that were difficult to render on the drawing. Mare Cimmerium also showed much detail and many features, especially on the south end. Only a bit of North Polar Hood action, didn't appear to see any other atmospheric activity. 20-inch (TJ) stopped down to 17-inches. First break in weather in about two weeks.
2003/07/26, 08:45 UT, CM=32 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Moderate dew, cool, no wind. Very calm. Great seeing. Hugh amounts of detail with the W25 (red) filter. Great view of Mare Erythraeum, Chryse and Niliacus Lacus. Plenty of detail in ME. Pyrrhae Regio was bright, easy to see, not round with dark ares around it. Oxia Palus showed nicely, with pointed tip. Very sharp edge on following side. South Polar Cap clearly shows the Depiessio Magua gap. Bright area on SPC that projected down into the (now) light colored band appears to be Mons Argenteus. Certainly the best over all view of Mars so far this opposition. W47 filter (blue) showed an almost even disk with no bright areas, including in the North.
2003/07/25, 07:45 UT, CM=32 Bowie MD, 12.25-inch f/5.4 reflector 200x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10, sometimes better for quick moments. Cool, no wind, moderate dew, a very pleasent morning. A very nice morning for Mars. Over all dark features faint and difficult to see (as normal for this opposition). Dark markings mostly seen with W25 (red) filter. A very fine view of Mare Erythraeum and some very quick views of the dark markings that are attached to it to the North. Pyrrhea Regio to the south of ME, was actually pretty bright, specially in red. Sinus Meridiani was on the P limb and seen very clearly during moments of good seeing, with some detail and was quite dark. The very fine, curving dark ring around SM was quite easy to make out. One bright area in red light on the P limb, another on the following limb. Solis Lacus on the far, following limb, just made out. Very faint, but clearly seen North Polar Hood visible with the W47 (blue) filter. South Polar Cap was not even in shape, with notches, and dips out of it. It's the most odd shaped polar cap I've seen. Less dark area seen on the SPC then over the past month, but what there was, was above the South Pole, on the following limb. Over all plenty of detail for the patience observer here.
2003/07/20, 07:45 UT, CM=73 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Very nice morning, moderate dew. Had to undew the secondary mirror. For the first time, Solis Lacus actually looked like Solis Lacus! Plenty of detail around the center and surrounding areas. Bright area on South Polar Cap, along with a notch and the bald spot. Very faint North Polar Hood. Blue filter showed almost no detail. 20-inch stopped down to 17-inch. Casual glance for moons, but didn't see any.
2003/07/18, 09:00 UT, CM=110 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 280-480x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. No wind, cool, light dew on grass, none on telescope. Fast seeing, similar to the past couple of days that resulted in seeing almost no detail at all. Really nice view of Solis Lacus; almost a double ring affect with a double "eye". Much detail in the SL region, almost too much to draw. Bright area P SL seen only with w25 filter. Limb clouds on south F edge where best seen in w85 adn 47 filters. Very faint NPH activity in 47 filter. 20-inch stopped down to 17.
2003/07/15, 08:15 UT, CM=126 Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 480x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. 20-inch stopped down to 17-inches. Heavy dew, cool, no wind. Fast moving low cirrus interrupted the session several times. Very fast seeing. Lots of detail in the South Polar Cap, dark streak, other dark areas abound. Pointy projection into dark collar around SPC near the CM could be the Mts. of Mitchell that aren't either completely seperated from the SPC yet, or weren't resolved. Good amount of detail elsewhere, including a very fine view of Solis Lacus with the "eye" affect as good I've seen it in recent years. Brighter area on southern following limb was seen both white light and with w47. Brief glimpse early in session of bright area in south, but was not able to repeat throughout the rest of the observation in either white light or with the 47 filter, so no recorded cloud activity over the Tharis region.
2003/07/12, 08:35 UT, Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 260 & 480x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 3 out of 10. Cool, humid, light wind. Cold front just broke hours ago, several days of very hot and humid weather to provide almost spring like conditions. Seeing very poor, mostly 270x. Bright spot in South Polar Cap seen visually, but was brighter with a W47 (blue) filter. Bald spots, bright spots and notches; the SPC steals the show. Bright area on following southern limb was slightly brighter in blue, but not much. Other detail as might be expected, but washed out because of poor seeing. First observation since the birth of John Robert Bunge 7/6/03. 20-inch stopped down to 17-inches.
2003/07/06, 09:15 UT, Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 260 & 480x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Light dew, warm, humid. Mostly clear, but very hazy; 3 out of 10 for transparency. The Hellas region dust cloud was pretty much on the limb and even seemed to stick just above the limb a tiny bit. Preceding areas of the cloud were brighter in the w47 (blue) filter, so perhaps some moisture activity is also involved. Other possible cloud activity across area, with one being in Mare Tyrrhenum. Very much detail - too much to draw - in the South Polar Cap. At least one notch in the SCP rim. North Polar Hood was most noted in white light.
2003/07/05, 09:45 UT, Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 260 & 480x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10 (best). Extremely humid, no wind. Very light dew. Everying is very wet. Generally very poor seeing with only brief moments of steadyness, specially at end of session a few minutes before sunrise. Clearly not seeing the best of details. Interesting notch in the South Polar Cap. Appears that the rim around the SCP is slowly dimming and becoming more defuse. Dust cloud south of Syrtis Major becoming larger, brighter and easier to see. Preceding edge was almost 3D... perhaps the shadow of the cloud? Even more apparent with a W25 red filter. Another, smaller, bright area in Mare Tyrrhenum. Faint marking coming north from the MT region. Very slight North Polar Hood.
2003/07/04, 09:20 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 270x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 9 out of 10. Well into twilight. Very wet, very heavy dew. Very warm, very still air. Seeing very good. Plenty of detail to draw this morning. Bright spot south of Syrtis Major is likely dust storm. Spot is elongated, with the preceding side being brighter. This bright area is slightly oval east-west, but almost round. Following it appears to be a faint "tail" that is more of a streak, or stretched out oval. These spots appeared brighter with a W25 filter when viewed through a 12.25-inch reflector. The red filter was too dim in the twilight with the 4-inch. South of the spots, appeared the rim of Hellas, leading up to the dark collar around the South Polar Cap. A weath of detail in the collar was visible. The bald spot/rift in the SPC was seen without too much trouble. Xanthus was quite dark, with husky details leading south to Tritonis Sinus and Mare Cimmerum. North of SM, Nodus Alcyonius was made out in moments of very fine seeing. Addition far northern markings were just south of the North Polar Hood.
2003/07/02, 08:30 UT, Bowie MD, 12.25-inch f/5.4 reflector 250x: 41k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Very warm, very still. Remains of Tropical storm Bill due in later today. Seeing was very steady, but scope wasn't entirely cooled down. Syrtis Major near following limb, but could still see a good amount of detail. Very smooth curve of edge of SM into the Mare Tyrrhenum area. Mare Cimmerium near termintor with dark patches. Faint connecting detail to the south, leading to a very dark area that was connected to the dark rim around the SPC. Bald spot in the SCP pretty regularly visible. Hellas not plainly apparent from the rest of the reddish disk. Faint bright area just P of SM, and very narrow North Polar Hood. Wasn't able to use w47 filter.
2003/06/30, 08:50 UT, Bowie MD, 12.25-inch f/5.4 reflector 250x: 42k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Very warm, very humid, no wind. A classic DC summer morning. First real observation with "Ellie," the 12-inch reflector - a suitcase telescope. Alot of detail, Syrtis Major on the CM. Hellas is actually quite difficult to see - specially compared to past years. Very little brightening compared to surrounding areas. The most apparent edge is on the proceding edge around Mare Hadriacum. Very faint, musky streak north/south through Hellas. Cheronesus region P and south of Hellas is quite dark. A darkening that merges quite nicely with the dark collar around the South Polar Cap. Brighter east/west streak south of Cheronesus is just as bright if not brighter than Hellas. Very faint marking north of SM might be Protonilus. No North Polar Hood seen in white or blue (w47). But a faint bright area was observed in blue on the south following rim in the Hellespontus region.
2003/06/27, 08:30 UT, Bowie MD, 17-inch f/7.8 reflector 408x: 34k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Hot, very humid. Hazy, poor transparency. Light dew. Stopped the 20-inch down to 17-inch, good improvement in contrast. Detail observed on floor of Hellas. Floor markings appeared almost "s" shaped. Bright area seen on 6/26 not observed in either white or blue (w47). Syrtis Major was skinny, long, compared to 2001/1999. Not as dark either. Slight "hook" at north end of SM. Sinus Sabaeus is dark, as dark as Syrtis Major, with difficult/fine detail leading to S. Meridiani. Rift in SPC was very plain and showed more detail then in the past. Slight notch in SPC near Mare Australe. Tramp the faithful observing Golden Retriever was happy to lie in the grass and sample the early morning scents that wandered past.
2003/06/26, 08:00 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 150-408x: 39k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. Detail less clear then 6/25, blamed this on local seeing conditions for now. Very slight darkening seen in SPC, near pole. Small bright area in Hellas, seen with #47 filter after a good look and wait for good seeing. Appeared a bit more North-South/oval then round. This feature was also glimpsed when power was backed off to 150x in white light. Hellespontus area is one of the darkest areas on the surface, almost as dark as Sytris Major's northern tip. Hellespontus neatly joined up with SPC ring/collar. Very faint brightening in far north. Better seen in white light then blue.
2003/06/25, 08:45 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 408x: 39k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Very long observation. Moderate dew, 2nd clear morning in a row, quite warm. A grand sight this morning. With careful looks, a wealth of detail in TJ, the 20-inch. Ring around South Polar Cap is mottled, with dark areas that are slightly wider then the rest of the ring. Very slight notch in SPC, perhaps Mare Australe. Very top of SCP shows dark area just P of the pole. Sinus Sabaeus showed much detail, including a very dark area at the head of the "snake." The body of the snake was mottled, with dark/light areas along it's length. Sytris Major creeping around the terminator, some detail. Nice rim around the following border of Hellas, with faint streaks in the area. Very slight NPH.
2003/06/23, 09:00 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 225x: 39k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. Weak frontal system moved through bringing clearer skies and more summer like weather. Weak/moderate dew, but everything is very wet from record breaking rain over last two months. Sinus Sabaeus most apparent dark feature. Northern "hooks" seen first with #25 filter (red) and then in white light. Lots of detail in the Noachis area south of SS. Mare Erythraeum on following rim, but missing fine detail. General appearence was that large areas of the planet were shaded, but detail only broken out with lots of study. Haze in north seen white light, seemed to extend following more than on the 21st. Dark ring around SCP. Looked for darkening near North Pole, but did not see it.
2003/06/21, 08:45-59 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 212x, 12.25-inch reflector 335x: 39k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. A long and difficult observation. Both scopes not cooled down, only recently brought outdoors after night of rain, wind and falling temps. Very long looks through the eyepiece. 12-inch showed a thin dark ring around the SCP. Darkest area on planet was far north, near the terminator. Tip of Sinus Sabaeus almost as dark. Bright area north of Mare Erythraeum. Another small, sometimes fleeting, bright area on far northern limb, near the terminator.
2003/06/16, 08:45 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 212x: 37k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Warm temps, moderate dew, easy fogging of eyepieces, no wind, thin high clouds drifting over Mars. Plenty of detail in the Mare Erythraeum area, although you got the sense there was a lot more right at the edge of resolution, as might be expected with a 14" disk. Bright area near NPC/terminator seen several times with no filters, but not visible with 47. Bright area following Solis Lacus seen only with 47 filter. SCP appeared large, even, a bit of a dark collar around it.
2003/06/10, 08:50 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 212x: 37k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Very steady skies. Moderate to heavy dew. Very comfortable temps. Lots of details. Dark area within SPC noticed after long look, slightly south and P of South Pole. SPC clearly circled around to south P edge of planet before terminator did - both the shadow and SPC must be receding. Also, possible slight extention of SPC on the following side, perhaps about CM 125. Dark collar around SPC has lightened and is now more difficult to tell from other dark areas. Solis Lacus near terminator, but was clearly there and was pretty dark. Mare Sirenum extended to planet edge with a good amount of detail. Brighter area north of Solis Lacus at edge of shadow appeared to extend very slightly into terminator shadow. This area also appeared brighter using a 47 filter. Would have to guess to be clouds Another bright area in north is likely clouds over Olympica Mons. Very faint dark marking just to the south of these clouds. Another lighter area near the following edge of the planet.
2003/06/06, 09:00 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 212x: 37k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Many high, sometimes thick clouds. Sometimes had to wait a minute or two for clouds to move past the planet. View often dimmed by clouds. Increasing twilight finally stopped the session. SPC easy, with dark ring round it. Fainter extensions to the south of the belt seen in moments of better seeing. During one moment of best seeing, caught glimpse of faint dark marking to north. No sign of clouds, including on limb.
2003/06/02, 09:00 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 212x: 37k jpg image
Seeing 4 outof 10. Very jumpy, not sharp. Very windy. Difficult to see much detail other then dark markings in the south and the South Polar Cap. Possible bright area near the following limb, perhaps the north of Syrtis Minor.
2003/05/20, 09:00 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 285x: 37k jpg image
Seeing 9 out of 10. 11 arc seconds. First break after a month of clouds. Still air, high thin clouds, heavy dew, Moon about 25 degrees away. Certainly worth getting up for! Used trusty 12mm Veronscope Erfle plus 3x barlow for 285x, abnormally high for the 4-inch. Great view of Syrtis Major coming out of the limb shadow. Limited detail seen in SM during moments of very good seeing. Sinus Sebaeus was visible at times, but with no detail. A good amount of detail in the Hellespontus region. An amazing view for such a small disc with only a 4-inch! Very, very slight NPH. Dark ring around SPC.
2003/04/16, 09:35 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 212x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 5 out of 10. 8.2 arc seconds. Faint dusky markings, limb hazy, dim SPC but possible NPC polar hood.
2003/04/13, 10:15 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 212x, 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. 8.2 arc seconds. Bright twilight, only 28 degrees up. Faint dusky markings, limb hazy, dim SPC. Bright area near NPC, but quite difficult to see.
2001/08/03, 2:05 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Not all that warm, high clouds. The dust storm is still in full swing. Not too much to see. South polar cap is fuzzy without sharp edges. Some hints of preceding limb clouds in the south. Some faint dusty markings on surface that don't appear to match up to any known features.
2001/07/09, 2:25 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 225x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Warm, not too humid. Bright area above Sytris Major, but not the normal "white" color. Many features appear fuzzy, without the normal detail. Dark ring around the North Polar Cap. Preceding limb clouds.
2001/07/07, 2:34 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Cooler, wind guests, passing high clouds. Seeing better than 2 hours ago and the Martian atmosphere appeared clearer. Sinus Meridiaini, though still appeared murky with less detail than normal. Eryhraeum had a good amount of detail, incluindg dark areas to the north. Dark ring/collar arond the north polar cap along with a possible norther polar cap hood. Also bright area following NPC. Preceding limb clouds.
2001/07/07, 1:30 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. Warm, humid, very light wind. Eyepiece kept fogging. Mars low, still twilight. All marking faint, with very little detail. Sytris Major on limb, almost appeared as shadow of proceding limb clouds. Hellas region hazy, slightly brighter.
2001/06/30, 3:30 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Very hot, extremely humid, very hazy. Classic Washington, DC bowl of soup weather. Very dim image due to haze, so didn't even try to use filters. Solis Lacus quite dark, firmly attached to Nectar and Mare Erthraeum. Light area between Erythraeum and Achillis Pons, almost appeared as light/hazy clouds. Very faint markings near Arcadia.
2001/06/30, 3:30 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Very hot, extremely humid, very hazy. Classic Washington, DC bowl of soup weather. Very dim image due to haze, so didn't even try to use filters. Solis Lacus quite dark, firmly attached to Nectar and Mare Erthraeum. Light area between Erythraeum and Achillis Pons, almost appeared as light/hazy clouds. Very faint markings near Arcadia.
2001/06/20, 3:15 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 160x, 270x and 480x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Warm, transparent skies, no wind, light dew. Steady seeing, but not as good as last night. Mare Sirenum large with some detail. At time, Hyblaeus was a very dark spot, the darkest feature on the planet, but with two faint extensions extending to the south. Clouds over Nix Olympica with very faint dark markings around them. Preceding limb clouds quite apparent, sometimes appeared with a deteched southern section. No detail or haze seen in the north polar cap area.
2001/06/19, 3:50 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 220x and 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 9 out of 10. Warm, transparent skies, no wind. Very steady seeing. Mare Sirenum large and complex, appeared connected to Electris and Hesperia. Hyblaeus, faint, but very complex network with faint extensions appearing at times to connect with other markings in the area. Preceding limb clouds very apparent. Possible haze over the south polar cap region.
2001/06/18, 4:25 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 220x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Warm, very transparent skies (best in months), no wind. Mare Tyrrhenum, Mare Sirenum most apparent and very easy to see. Tritonis Sinus appeared to be separated from both Tyrrhenum and Sirenum. Northern featues were much more difficult and much fainter then the southern features. The Hyblaeus Extension was seen in moments of very good seeing and at times almost appeared to be joined with Lemuria and Uchronia in the north by an extremely faint bridge. The bright area Chaos was not seen. Some faint clouds on the preceding limb.
2001/06/09, 5:50 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. Warm, very heavy dew. Hellas is much dimmer than in past months.
2001/06/01, 7:15 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 230x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Very steady seeing. Warm, still air just before a front moving in. Lots of detail, Sinus Sabaeus very apparent, including the "hooks" coming off the north side. Argue, a bright spot in the south appeared to touch, or come close to touching the south polar cap. Possible clouds in the north following limb, near Mare Acidalium. No additional detail seen with W47 filter.
2001/05/12, 5:45 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 270x: 15k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Warm, humid, clear. Near bright moon. Mare Cimmerium and Mare Tyrrheum. W47 (Blue filter) suggests clouds over Hellas on the following southern limb.
2001/05/05, 7:15 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25-inch f/10 reflector 270x: 80k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Very steady, very slow seeing. Very hazy, much dust and pollen in the air. Many high and thin clouds slowly passing in front of Mars. Hot, quite humid (specially for May!). Sytris Major very dark, with dark and light areas, much detail. Hellas appeared to be broken into two areas, the smaller more south proceeding, perhaps clouds. Some proceeding limb haze. No sign of the north polar cap or Utopia. Because of haze and clouds, planet was very dark in the field, too dark to see any detail with filters.
2001/03/24, 9:01 UT, Bowie MD, 20-inch f/6.4 reflector 200x: 86k jpg image
Seeing 4 out of 10. Very poor seeing. Air temp. of 38 degrees F, Saturday morning, about 4am. 20mm Pretoria. Any more power useless in the poor seeing. Small 9" disk! Hellas easy, some darkening that must be Mare Serpentis/Sinus Sabaeus. Chryse very bright. White clouds over Syrtis Major.
2001/01/26, 9:20 UT, Bowie MD, 4.25inch f/10 reflector 270x: 83k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Pretty good seeing, considering. Air temp. of 25 degrees F, First observation of the season. 5am, before going to work. 12mm Brandon, 3x barlow. Tiny, tiny, 6" disk! Almost no detail other than the north polar cap, which I was thrilled to see. Some darkening south of the cap and some more darkening in the south, perhaps Mare Sirenum.
1999/6/25, 9:30 EDT, Bowie MD, 4.25inch f/10 reflector 225x: 38k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. Pretty good seeing. Air temp. of 78 degrees F, light wind, not very transparent, no clouds. Dark area in the center part of Syrtis Major seen, as well as splits off to Mare Serpentis and Sinus Sabaeus. Hellas region was a little bright, but not much brighter than the rest of the bright areas of the planet. Some detail seen in Utopia and Protonitus.
1999/6/22, 10:00 EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200/270/480x: 39k jpg image
Seeing 9 out of 10. Excellent seeing. Air temp. of 66 degrees F, no wind, very transparent, no clouds. North Polar cap seen under a north polar hood! Small southern extension of the north polar hood seen sticking up into the Ismenius Lacus region. Sinus Sabaeus darkest feature, although at 480x in moments of great seeing, features in Syrtis Major, right on the limb, were clearly seen!
1999/6/8, 9:30 EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200/270x: 39k jpg image
Seeing 6 out of 10. Poor seeing. Air temp. of 79 degrees F, very hazy, high drifting clouds. The North Polar cap was very small and difficult to see. The south polar hood was brighter and limb brighting, perhaps Chryse were both brighter than the north polar cap. Could just make out Solis Lacus coming in the south and Mare Acidalium in the north. Not all that much else to see.
1999/5/30, 11:00 EDT, Bowie MD, 4.25inch f/10 reflector 225x: 33k jpg image
Seeing 9 out of 10. Great seeing for the 4inch scope. Dark rim seen around south polar hood. Cloud/bright marking over the Syrtis Major region. Small dark area on disk appears to be Stymphalius Lacus. Dark rim also seen around North Polar cap.
1999/5/29, 12:05 EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200/270x: 40k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Back after some bad weather and a week and half of vacation! North polar cap seems to be smaller, the dark area surrounding it appears to be darker and easier to see than it was two weeks ago. South polar hood apparent, including a limb extension over Syrtis Minor. Some detail seen in Mare Cimmerum. Much faint, dusky, detail seen north of Cimmerum extending to Alcyonius Nodus and the Elysium areas. Both Alcyonius Nodus and Stymphalius Lacus were visible, but missed the bright Elysium marking. Utopia had a good amount of detail, including a break/light area about 220 degrees.
1999/5/11, 10:00 EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200/270x: 35k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Less detail than May 10. Sinus Meridiani was the darkest and more apparent marking, in moments of good seeing the darkest northern extension looked like the shadow of moon! Appeared to be white clouds on the limb just south of Sinus Meridiani. Clouds over the south pole seemed to have a dark band around their edge sunlight shadow on the planet surface? Whiteblue clouds north of Nilokeras appeared to have spread in the the break between Niliacus Lacus and Mare Acidalium.
1999/5/10, 10:00 EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200/270/480x: 35k jpg image
Seeing 8 out of 10. More detail than last night. The earlier look provides a much better look at Sinus Meridiani with the dark northward pointing extensions clearly seen. Oxus extension was sharply defined and fanned out into faint dark markings that extended to Niliacus Lacus. A couple of dark areas north of Aurorae Sinus were visible in moments of excellent seeing. Chryse still not bright. Whiteblue area North of Nilokeras more blue than on May 9. Nice dark ring around the North Polar cap.
1999/5/9, 10:30 EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200/270x: 35k jpg image
Seeing 7 out of 10. Mare Acidalium (north) and Mare Erthraeum areas are clearly visible. Some detail seen in the Nilokeras extension of Acidalium and the white pink area seen on May 4 has turned more whiteblue. Chryse doesn't appear to very bright it's pretty much the normal pink color of the rest of the planet. Just starting to see Sinus Meridiani. The Oxus extension of Margaritifer Sinus is clearly visible.
1999/5/4, 10:30 EDT, Bowie MD, 4.25inch f/10 reflector 225x: 35k jpg image
Seeing 9.5 out of 10. Very steady seeing between large groups of clouds. Much detail seen around Solis Lacus, including small projections coming off Tithonius Lacus. Noctis Lacus just seen. In the north, the Nilokeras region showed much detail, with a brighter, whitepink area between Nilokeras and Mare Boreum. Chryse was on the limb.
1999/5/1, 10:15 EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 480x: 35k jpg image
Seeing 9 out of 10. Strikingly nice view of the north polar cap and surrounding areas. Clear connection between Mare Boreum/Mare Acidalium and Nilokeras. Various darker/lighter areas in Nilokeras. In the south, Solis Lacus was clearly visible a much different view from when I last saw in 1988, when we were facing the south polar cap. A bright area was seen just following Solis Lacus. A bright area on the following side is either clouds over Nix Olympica or morning clouds.
1999/4/30, 1:15am EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200x: 40k jpg image
Seeing was rated at 6 out of 10. High clouds in sky, but the moon was only two degrees or so from Mars. I suspect that glare from the Moon was reducing the contrast and impaired seeing much in the way of dark markings. However, the cloud near Nix Olympica appeared larger and brighter, with a short "tail" coming off, perhaps wind blown clouds.
1999/4/30, 11:00pm EDT, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 270x/480x: 34k jpg image
Seeing 9 out of 10 very steady, some of the best seeing since early April. One of the earlierintheevening observations I've made. CM=122 degrees perhaps one of the most boring, yet exciting faces of Mars. To the beginning Mars observer, no really easy to see markings just a plain red/pink disk. To the more experienced eye, this is the face of the massive Volancos of Tharsis! New Mars observers should practice patience look not for dark markings, but for light areas that represent clouds over the volancos! The steady seeing allowed an excellent look at the north polar cap it was possible to actually see the shape and to see just how far Mars' northern pole is tilted towards Earth. Mare Boreum could be seen beside the polar cap; perhaps the darkest marking on the planet. On the south end, Solis Lacus was just over the limb, with a bright area just to the south. On the west side, a bright area was on the limb, perhaps the far eastern region of Chryse, with Nilokeras to the south. Two bright clouds were barely visible in about the right location of the Tharsis volancos. Clouds over Nix Olympica were on the east side of the disk.
1999/4/26, 12:05am, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200x: 40k jpg image
Seeing wasn't that great perhaps a 5 out of 10. Normal dusky markings around Elysium and Utopia. Nix Olympica appeared as a difficulttosee bright area near the limb. An 85A filter helped somewhat with the markings, but didn't see anything that hadn't been seen already.
1999/4/25, 3:15am, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200x: 40k jpg image
Ok, what happened to the seeing? No change major in the weather conditions other than there were some high clouds around at 12:45 now, at 3:45, it's perflectly clear, but the seeing has worsen almost to the point of seeing no detail in either the 20inch or the 4inch at all. Only many minutes of carefull watching gleamed just a few details mostly enough to confirm what I saw at 12:45 was correct. Syrtis Major/Mare Tyrrhenum coming around nicely with morning clouds on the limb. Elysium seen the surrounding Stymphalius dark area is much larger than shown in the S&T maps.
1999/4/25, 12:45am, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 200x/270x: 40k jpg image
Set the 20 and 4incher's out at 11pm. At 12:45, took a look to find very good 8.4 out of 10 seeing. CM=195 degrees, a face that I have not seen in larger apertures, even in 1988. Spent a number of very confusing minutes figuring out what's what and frankly, saw some features that are not on the S&T/Dan Troiani map (April 1999). Many very, very faint "dark" markings. In fact, more dark than light areas, if the very faint areas are taken into account. The faintness and softness of the detail reminded me more of drawing a 14th mag galaxy than Mars! North Polar cap harder than ever to see very small. The larger section of Utopia just coming into view, as was the Elysium bright area and it's surrounding dark markings. In moments of good seeing, a small very dark, almost round spot appeared apparently the very small Propoutis feature. Very faint, large dark areas around Propoutis aren't charted. Gotta wonder if a storm has stirred things up here. A bright area on the trailing (setting) edge looked like clouds perhaps the clouds over Nix Olympica the largest volcano in the solar system. It's the right place and time. Nice detail seen in Mare Cimmerium, including two dark, northward extensions.
1999/4/21, 3:00am, Bowie MD, 4.25inch f/10 reflector 225x: 60k gif image
Put the 4inch reflecter out at 10pm and went to bed. Got up at 2:45am to high, thin clouds, no wind and temps in the upper 30's. Very calm. Thicker clouds appeared to be coming in from the west. Clearly the best seeing condidtions of this Mars pass I rated it a 9.2 out of 10. Much more detail than seen before, in either the 4inch or the 20inch. Of interest was the bright area called Elysium in the northern part of the disk, gently surrounded by dark markings (Stymphalius Lacus). Also clearly seen was Libya, the "inlet" on the side of Syrtis Major, as well as Moeris Lacus, the dark marking the forms the northern side of Libya. Alcyonius Nodus, a dark marking between Elysium and Utopia appeared larger, with more subtle details than shown in the maps published in Sky & Telescope. Also seen were faint dark markings that make up Protonilus, off the tip of Utopia. Mare Tyrrhinum, Mare Cimmerium and the light area between them Hesperia were easily seen in the south, wrapping around the Hellas bright area. Several dark and lighter areas on the north side of Tyrrhenum were visible. Also, the edge between Sytris Major and Aeria was mottled, with a good amount of detail seen. The North Polar cap continues to be somewhat difficult to see. All of this with a 4inch telescope!
1999/4/15, 3:45am, Bowie MD, 4.25inch f/10 reflector 225x: 70k gif image
Set up the small scope in the evening since clouds were forecast by morning. Got up at 3:30am in time to get a quick look as clouds started to move in. It was clouded over by 4am. Pretty bad seeing, a combination of fast, quick small cells and slower large ones that moved the image around in the field of view almost the diameter of the planet! Nonetheless, not bad views of interesting features, including the "Oxus" dark extension beside Chryse and some hints of detail in Sinus Sabaeus.
1999/4/14, 2:00am, Bowie MD, 20inch f/6.4 reflector 270x: 60k gif image
20inch: Nice pink colors, dark markings a wonderful subtle green and brown. Just the way Mars to meant to be! Seeing wasn't great a six out of 10. Gusty winds. Syrtis Major is the big player here several darker areas and detail within this crown jewel of Mar's dark markings, including the "inlet" of Deltoton Sinus on the west side of Syrtis Major. Careful viewing showed Utopia, including the Casisus section of Utopia. Sinus Sabaeus just coming around the limb. I'll guess that white limb markings on western (bottom left) limb were evening clouds. 4.25inch: At 225x, a much smaller and dimmer image, but because the seeing didn't affect the smaller aperture as much, with very careful observing, most of the detail seen in the 20inch was visible in the 4inch, albeit without the color. But the detail was just much easier to see in the 20inch! Some detail was missing Syrtis Major's darker areas were not really apparent, perhaps due to the darker image produced by the smaller aperature.
1999/4/9, 12:30am, Bowie MD, 4.25inch f/10 reflector 225x
First observation of the season, very good season. Very confusing view at first Hellas is so bright that it looks like a polar cap! North polar cap is very small. A bright Chryse plain on the limb also served to confuse! Syrtis Major on the limb, good views of Sinus sabaeus and Mare Acidalium.
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