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Mars Moons - How Challenging



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 6th 05, 02:05 AM
tmbMike
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Default Mars Moons - How Challenging

I was reading Greg Crinklaws cool observing essay:
http://www.skyhound.com/sh/Focus/Mars/Hall.html

In there Greg quotes The Telescope Handbook and Star Atlas by Neale E.
Howard as follows:

"Certainly the strangest little objects in the whole solar system, the
two moons of Mars will rarely be seen by the amateur unless he
possesses a 16-inch telescope, and then only at favorable oppositions."


The rest of the essay and the general feel I get from reading
miscellaneous sites is that it's not very common to see these two
little moons.

I observe from about an hour north of Anchorage Alaska, seeing is
usually mediocre, cold and fogging problems are common. Mars peaks
about 45 degrees elevation here. I had no plans to even go after the
moons of Mars, until the other night (Nov-1) watching Sinus Sabaeus
transit the planet when Deimos decided to come after me.

I was using a TMB 7" refractor with an AP binoviewer and two 6mm TMB
supermonocentrics for 396x. Seeing was 5/10 with rare moments when
detail would seemingly crystalize over the entire planet disc. (Maybe 2
or 3 times during a couple hours.)

I think it was good luck that led me to Deimos. I've heard there are
specific directions from your center of vision where averted vision is
the strongest. As I would watch the western end of Sinus Sabaeus, I
kept noticing an interloper popping in and out of existence what seemed
a couple mars-widths off the planet to the East. It was obviously right
in a peripheral hot spot in my eye because it would disappear any time
I looked at it.

I had a suspicion as to what I was seeing! I ran into the house, and
messed around with Skytools and confirmed it was Deimos. The house is
about 65 degrees F warmer than my observing chair, so I took my time.
About 1/2 hour later i went out and it took me about another 15 minutes
to re-aquire the moon, Deimos had moved relative to an imaginary line
drawn across Mars equator. These moons must be really racking up the
mileage fast.

I tried shifting Mars out of view and Deimos became quite obvious with
averted vision. Still, I could not lock onto the moon with direct
vision in this fashion.

Now Phobos is what, like 3 times brighter? But I havent managed to see
it yet. The Deimos experience has me checking each night to see what
times Phobos and Deimos will be at their greatest ?elongation? I have
a feeling dimmer Deimos is the easier of the two. It seemed easy to
spot once I aquired it. Seeing conditions have not allowed me to see it
since.

I made a sketch the following day
http://www.scopenews.com/tmb175/mars..._deimos_sm.jpg

175mm is a lot smaller then 16 inches. I'm guessing tools like the
binoviewer and supermonocentric eyepieces are my trump card over Neale
E. Howard. Deimos looked obvious enough that I am sure I could have
seen it in a smaller aperture than I was using.

Mike Clemens

  #2  
Old November 6th 05, 07:13 AM
Greg Crinklaw
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Default Mars Moons - How Challenging

Hi Mike,

tmbMike wrote:
I was reading Greg Crinklaws cool observing essay:
http://www.skyhound.com/sh/Focus/Mars/Hall.html

In there Greg quotes The Telescope Handbook and Star Atlas by Neale E.
Howard as follows:

"Certainly the strangest little objects in the whole solar system, the
two moons of Mars will rarely be seen by the amateur unless he
possesses a 16-inch telescope, and then only at favorable oppositions."


The rest of the essay and the general feel I get from reading
miscellaneous sites is that it's not very common to see these two
little moons.


No, not common. I believe the biggest factor is to have atmospheric
conditions that diminish the scattered light from mars. At the last
opposition there were a few lucky observers who saw at least one moon in
6-inch and even 4-inch scopes.

Oh, and congrats!

Clear skies,
Greg

--
Greg Crinklaw
Astronomical Software Developer
Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA (33N, 106W, 2700m)

SkyTools: http://www.skyhound.com/cs.html
Observing: http://www.skyhound.com/sh/skyhound.html
Comets: http://www.skyhound.com/sh/comets.html

To reply have a physician remove your spleen
  #3  
Old November 6th 05, 08:09 AM
Tom
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Default Mars Moons - How Challenging

"Greg Crinklaw" wrote in message
...
Hi Mike,

tmbMike wrote:
I was reading Greg Crinklaws cool observing essay:
http://www.skyhound.com/sh/Focus/Mars/Hall.html

In there Greg quotes The Telescope Handbook and Star Atlas by Neale E.
Howard as follows:

"Certainly the strangest little objects in the whole solar system, the
two moons of Mars will rarely be seen by the amateur unless he
possesses a 16-inch telescope, and then only at favorable oppositions."


The rest of the essay and the general feel I get from reading
miscellaneous sites is that it's not very common to see these two
little moons.


No, not common. I believe the biggest factor is to have atmospheric
conditions that diminish the scattered light from mars. At the last
opposition there were a few lucky observers who saw at least one moon in
6-inch and even 4-inch scopes.

Oh, and congrats!

Clear skies,
Greg


I've been wondering if what I saw was one of the moons of Mars. I have a 6"
mak, but when I got down to 9mm and 6mm eps (222x and 333x respectively), I
saw what looked like a moon. I'm in Arkansas if that helps anyone determine
what I saw. The moon was on the left side of Mars about 2 diameters of the
planet away.

Just curious, but did anyone else notice that Mars was not its usual red? It
was very white. Is it because of the shorter distance? I've seen it much
farther away, and it was very red.

Tom


  #4  
Old November 6th 05, 08:44 AM
Enyo
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Default Mars Moons - How Challenging

I got both in my AP130 and TMB Monos last opposition.

"Greg Crinklaw" wrote in message
...
Hi Mike,

tmbMike wrote:
I was reading Greg Crinklaws cool observing essay:
http://www.skyhound.com/sh/Focus/Mars/Hall.html

In there Greg quotes The Telescope Handbook and Star Atlas by Neale E.
Howard as follows:

"Certainly the strangest little objects in the whole solar system, the
two moons of Mars will rarely be seen by the amateur unless he
possesses a 16-inch telescope, and then only at favorable oppositions."


The rest of the essay and the general feel I get from reading
miscellaneous sites is that it's not very common to see these two
little moons.


No, not common. I believe the biggest factor is to have atmospheric
conditions that diminish the scattered light from mars. At the last
opposition there were a few lucky observers who saw at least one moon in
6-inch and even 4-inch scopes.

Oh, and congrats!

Clear skies,
Greg

--
Greg Crinklaw
Astronomical Software Developer
Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA (33N, 106W, 2700m)

SkyTools: http://www.skyhound.com/cs.html
Observing: http://www.skyhound.com/sh/skyhound.html
Comets: http://www.skyhound.com/sh/comets.html

To reply have a physician remove your spleen



  #5  
Old November 6th 05, 06:33 PM
John Nichols
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Posts: n/a
Default Mars Moons - How Challenging


"Tom" wrote in message
news:i_hbf.5076$Kv.1409@dukeread05...
"Greg Crinklaw" wrote in message
...
Hi Mike,

tmbMike wrote:
I was reading Greg Crinklaws cool observing essay:
http://www.skyhound.com/sh/Focus/Mars/Hall.html

In there Greg quotes The Telescope Handbook and Star Atlas by Neale E.
Howard as follows:

"Certainly the strangest little objects in the whole solar system, the
two moons of Mars will rarely be seen by the amateur unless he
possesses a 16-inch telescope, and then only at favorable oppositions."


The rest of the essay and the general feel I get from reading
miscellaneous sites is that it's not very common to see these two
little moons.


No, not common. I believe the biggest factor is to have atmospheric
conditions that diminish the scattered light from mars. At the last
opposition there were a few lucky observers who saw at least one moon in
6-inch and even 4-inch scopes.

Oh, and congrats!

Clear skies,
Greg


I've been wondering if what I saw was one of the moons of Mars. I have a
6"
mak, but when I got down to 9mm and 6mm eps (222x and 333x respectively),
I
saw what looked like a moon. I'm in Arkansas if that helps anyone
determine
what I saw. The moon was on the left side of Mars about 2 diameters of the
planet away.

Just curious, but did anyone else notice that Mars was not its usual red?
It
was very white. Is it because of the shorter distance? I've seen it much
farther away, and it was very red.

The few times I've been able to observe, it has not appeared red in any ep,
rather it's appeared white. Curiously, it appears red when viewed naked
eye. It has only appeared red under telescopic observation for me when I've
put in a filter.


  #6  
Old November 6th 05, 08:23 PM
tmbMike
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Default Mars Moons - How Challenging

Speaking of color shading ONLY !
I'd say it appears these colors in my eyepiece:
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/image/pla...marsglobe2.jpg

  #7  
Old November 7th 05, 01:02 AM
Tom
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Default Mars Moons - How Challenging

"tmbMike" wrote in message
oups.com...
Speaking of color shading ONLY !
I'd say it appears these colors in my eyepiece:
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/image/pla...marsglobe2.jpg


very nice pic!!


  #8  
Old November 7th 05, 04:45 AM
tmbMike
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Default Mars Moons - How Challenging

That's one of those orbiter pictures of Mars, I'm pretty sure it's from
a vantage point totally foreign to Earth bound observers. I'm guessing
it's the north pole.

 




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