Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mars observation

Session name: 20071217.1645

This session about a dozen passersby stopped for views of an 8-day First Quarter Moon in Pisces and the little Mars at the foot of the Twin Castor. A light breeze, sometimes gusting to a moderate wind, rustled and darted dry leaves along the sidewalk. In the northeast sky and zenith, naked eye limiting magnitude was around magnitude 5 using my personal candlesticks in Cassiopeia and Perseus. Ahhh... it was was cold.

Despite its size, surface features can be discerned. The thin, dark necklace of Mare Boreum delineated the northern polar cap from the greater fields of reddish tint. Syrtis Major obviously rose from the southern hemisphere jutting up past the equator into the reddish fields, appearing to point one's eye toward the north polar ice cap. Leading in the eyepiece drift, Mare Tyrrhenum was not as bold and great in size as Mare Erythraeum which was situated on the trailing side. Over the course of the session features on the trailing side turned on to the disk. Beneath Syrtis Major, Iapygia completed the dark band across the disk joining the maria and capped Hellas near the south pole.