Society for Popular Astronomy

Mars Lunacy on a Saturday night
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Author:  HippyChippy [ Sun Oct 16, 2005 6:32 am ]
Post subject:  Mars Lunacy on a Saturday night

Clearest night for the next 7 days here (according to my forecasts), so had high hopes... until I did a moon check. Groan. Stayed out for a couple of hours last night but the moonbeams made me irritable, so hit late night Tesco shopping instead!

Up at 5.15am and just enjoyed a good hour and a half of Saturn with the ETX105 & 9.7mmEP, and great :D views of Mars with my old 6" Dob' & 6.4mmEP... takes some tracking, but really excited.

Tried out one of the red 'Lee swatch samples' for the first time on Mars and it made a considerable difference, to my eye at least, and really 'contrasted'? the dark areas I thought I could see without. Been observing Mars at every opportunity recently, and am delighted to find that even after only a few sessions, you really can begin to see more. Apologies to the regulars for the lack of astro' details I'm still pretty new too.

Great night with a few clusters thrown in for good measure, how did your night go?[/i]

Author:  nealeh [ Sun Oct 16, 2005 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars Lunacy on a Saturday night

HippyChippy wrote:
Tried out one of the red 'Lee swatch samples' for the first time on Mars and it made a considerable difference, to my eye at least, and really 'contrasted'? the dark areas I thought I could see without.

Which of the red filters did you use? (Popular Astronomy has an article about Mars and filters (pg 25), but they all use the Wratten references.)

Also, did you have difficulty trying to select a filters from the swatch book? (When I tried, because the backing cards were damp from dew, I found it quite difficult. I think I'll remove them from the swatch and create little sets of increasing intensity of a single colour.)

Author:  HippyChippy [ Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:19 am ]
Post subject: 

Nealeh wrote:
Which of the red filters did you use?

I used No. 166 Pale Red which I had prepared beforehand.

I'd selected this one purely because I thought the wavelength transmissions suited what I wanted to enhance & contrast, and the percentage is very close to the Wratten#23A Light Red. Pretty much my whole understanding of using filters comes from

I only joined the SPA recently so not in receipt of the current copy of Pop' Astro' to comment... looking forward to reading it though.

You're right, the swatch does become a bit unmanageable when damp. I had a bit of a zany night recently when (no red light yet) I tried to use the damp swatch in the dark and from memory :lol: The Double Cluster (NGC884) and The Pleiades (M45) through Violet looks pretty cool like Calcium K light, but the brown, and the flame-retardant stuff... not so good!

I'm tempted to split the swatch myself to keep it simple, but without the paper separators fear they may be even worse to handle. Wondered about just freeing off the 'nearest Wratten' half-dozen, labeling 'em each with a dayglo sticker or something, and keeping them in a single CD wallet. You know with clear plastic at the front and scratchy fleece at the back?

'Scope's are cooling off, still starry but the sky's not looking good at all and just printed off my first Mars sketching blank. Dash it! Ground mist worsening, better get out there pronto.

10 minutes later... Just learnt a lesson, completely fogged out!

Author:  lance [ Mon Oct 17, 2005 7:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

saturday night started cloudy here in chelmsford but by 0200 local on sunday morning it was clear :o but very foggy, had a pretty good view of mars with my omc 140 at 250x using a w12 yellow filter. seeing was nudging ant 11 . the north polar hood was very prominent with a distinct blue tint , spc now very small and only visible in the really steady moments, most prominent dark areas were mare erythraeum in the southern hemisphere and mare boreum in the north hemisphere partially hidden by the polar hood.

clear skies

Author:  HippyChippy [ Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:28 am ]
Post subject: 

Lance wrote:
...seeing was nudging ant 11

I've Googled, (plenty of ant's eye views on offer), and I've searched previous posts without success. Can someone point me in the direction of an explanation of the ANT 'seeing' scale, and how to use it please?

I recently read up on the 'Pickering Seeing Scale' in an effort to include useful data in future postings, but suspect it's not the 'SPA 'standard' judging from previous posts. I think someone (Screwdriver)? was asking along similar lines recently, so apologies in advance if it's been covered elsewhere.

In fact, is there such a thing as a pro forma observing form to help marshal my thoughts? More observing detail and less about shopping at Tesco's would help :oops:

Author:  screwdriver [ Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:37 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Hippy,Them swatchs are great aint they :D Im working on a way to mount em so watch this space.I tried some proper filters that i borrowed and to tell you the truth i saw no difference.
Take care

Author:  HippyChippy [ Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Screwdriver,
as you mentioned in a previous post it's all thanks to GOC Cliff, couldn't afford the luxury otherwise. They're looking good on the kitchen table right now, if only I could try 'em out again tonight!

Perhaps the lucky Lee Filter owners should start a new thread somewhere to share suggestions and tips on splitting etc. - do keep me posted.

Hope us poorer astro's haven't brought the company to it's knees with requests for free samples - 218 views and counting :roll:

Author:  HippyChippy [ Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:55 pm ]
Post subject:  ANT seeing

HippyChippy wrote:

Can someone point me in the direction of an explanation of the ANT 'seeing' scale, and how to use it please?

I was still drawing a complete blank until a pal from Solent Amateur Astronomers got back to me with this:

A five-point scale, devised by Eugène Antoniadi and used by amateur astronomers to indicate the quality of the seeing:
I - perfect seeing, without a quiver;
II - slight undulations, with moments of calm lasting several seconds;
III - moderate seeing, with larger tremors;
IV - poor seeing, with constant troublesome undulations;
V - very bad seeing, scarcely allowing the making of a rough sketch.

... Ahh that explains what is meant by ANToniadi II... so obvious when you know :)

Author:  joe [ Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:13 am ]
Post subject: 

Doubly confusing because it's "II" not "11". I was thinking of the Spinal Tap amplifier volume control that goes up to 11! :D

Author:  HippyChippy [ Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  ANT 11, the insect football team...

Joe wrote:
Doubly confusing because it's "II" not "11".

Yes, it had me going for a while. I'd assumed ANT was an acronym when I was Googling, when all the time it was an abbreviation, and as you point out, it's on a scale of five and not eleven (that's excluding the sub's and the manager). Grief I'm trying to learn astronomy here :lol:

Glad we've cleared that up for everyone!

Author:  screwdriver [ Thu Oct 20, 2005 3:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Joe,Spinal Tap amplifier volume control :lol: 11 to lets p*** off the neighbours.Joe you must have the same sence of humour as me.My son has a band and they practice every sat in my front room Marshalls at full welly :roll: Anyway Joe get your a** out to see Saturn if it was like yesterday its worth it.After this rain the seeing seems to settle down.Has anyone noticed this before? check out this site lads this is the place for the best pics ever taken from the Earth look at Jupiter :shock: all with a 9 inch scope.Hats off to the man and please give him feedback.He dont need it but if you view and enjoy let him know.
Take care

Author:  joe [ Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

screwdriver wrote: check out this site lads

I've tried to get access to his site several times in the past fortnight and it has been unavailable. Too many pics in there I think.

Screwdriver, if only I could get out to view Saturn :cry:

Author:  screwdriver [ Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

Joe,go for it mate its up there east that bright thing :lol:the last couple of days its been the dogs b****ks :shock: I woke my son up the other day at 0430 :twisted: even he said wow :shock: I do find after rain the planets show and my scope dripping wet will show tonight {well in the morning} So come on all get yourself into gear and look and report,You wont be dissapointed.Bye bye Jupiter Hello Saturn 8)
Take care

Author:  Robin Scagell [ Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

I've tried to get access to his site several times in the past fortnight and it has been unavailable. Too many pics in there I think.
It seems that Damian is again a victim of his own success and is having bandwidth cost problems. I hear that he is trying to sort these out, and I am in contact with him about it. But you can see his images, along with those of our own Dave Tyler and other imagers worldwide, at
Click on the latest date in the left-hand column and you will see thumbnails which you can then enlarge by clicking on the person's name.

There is a dust storm in progress at the moment which you can track using these images.


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