Mars – July 5, 2005

Observation Notes:

This was my first look at Mars through a telescope. It was small and the seeing was horrible, but it was still excellent to see. At 38X during the finding stage, it had such a unique orange color that I was drawn to it even at that low magnification. When it finally came into focus at 240X, it appeared as a gibbeous ball. It gave the impression of an orange jelly bean. The white disc of the south polar cap quickly became evident. It almost looked like it was outlined darkly around its rim. I’m not sure if this is a real feature, or if it’s just an optical illusion from the sharp contrast of the white ices compared to the ruddy surroundings. I could tell right away that there was detail waiting to be seen. But the planet and its surface markings were dancing everywhere with the horrible seeing. I spent some time on it and was gradually able to make out some darker features mottling the surface. What can I say but ‘Wow!’ I can’t wait for it to get larger over the next few months. If only the seeing will cooperate…

Subject Mars
Classification Planet
Position* Pisces [RA: 01:02:17 / Dec: +03:50:28]
Size* 9.57″ (Equatorial diameter)
Brightness* 1.54
Date/Time July 5, 2005 – 3:15 AM
(July 5, 2005 – 10:15 UT)
Observing Loc. Anderson Mesa, AZ
Instrument Orion SVP 6LT Reflector (150 mm dia./1200 mm F/L)
Eyepieces/Mag. 32 mm Sirius Plössl (38X), 10 mm Sirius Plössl+ 2X Barlow (240X)
Conditions Clear, calm, 46°F
Seeing 3/10
Transparency Mag 6.5+ NELM
*Sources Orion’s The Sky Astronomy Software