You don't want to miss Mars shining bright this fall

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Yes indeed, Mars is putting on the show in the night sky. I viewed Mars six times this month (Sept) using my telescopes and power ranging from 10x to 216x. I found green filter works well to show the shrinking south polar cap, easy to see. The red filter worked well showing more dark surface features on Mars. Mars looks impressive even in my smaller refractor model telescope, a 90-mm refractor, at 130x to 200x views. The 10-inch telescope, I can view Mars at 216x or even 300x views. Mars approaches transit time at my location now near 0200 and is best viewed during those periods. I enjoyed some very good views of Mars after 0100 this month.
 
Some interesting additional facts I found using Horizon's (JPL) site.

Oct 6: 1400 Zulu (9 am CDT), closest distance at 62,070,446km, SOT (Sun-Observer-Target) angle is 169 deg.
Oct. 6: disk size = 22.53 arcsec. [max.]

Oct 13: Opposition (Sysygy, cool word worth mentioning :)), 1700 Zulu (noon CDT), dist. = 62,671,300 km, SOT is 176.97 deg.
Oct. 13 disk size = 22.31 arcsec

Oct. 14: 0200 Zulu (9 pm CDT Oct. 13th), max. SOT = 177.008 deg.
 
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I'm thinking that Saturday night on the 10th will be the best time to view Mars.

The Moon is out of the sky and doesn't rise until Mars is on the meridian, which is at 1:44 a.m. Sunday morning.

Mars size at that time is 22.44 arcseconds.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Helio, I enjoyed some very good views of Mars last night near 2200 EDT using my 90-mm refractor. 129x to 200x views using red and green filters. The shrinking south polar cap still distinct with green filter and much dark areas visible, including Hellas Planitia region when I was viewing. I use Starry Night to show what side of Mars is visible when I view, also Sky & Telescope tools.
 
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Helio, I enjoyed some very good views of Mars last night near 2200 EDT using my 90-mm refractor. 129x to 200x views using red and green filters. The shrinking south polar cap still distinct with green filter and much dark areas visible, including Hellas Planitia region when I was viewing. I use Starry Night to show what side of Mars is visible when I view, also Sky & Telescope tools.
Yeah, Mars is outstanding right now!

It's exciting enough to make be dig out my old 16" Dob. and ignore my back pains to get the horribly dirty mirror cleaned. This might be competitive if there is a Dirtiest Mirror contest anywhere. I have cleaned it and will install it late today as the skies are looking clear so far.

 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Helio, sounds like some Mars fun with that 16 inch if the optics are clean. Enjoy. Mars and Moon rise tonight close together in Pisces, about 1-2 degrees apart. I plan another Mars adventure tonight with the waning gibbous Moon :)
 

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