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Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:10 pm
by Cliff
Dear Jimmy
Take Robin's advice and you won't go wrong.
Although it is easy for me to say, be patient. As far as I am concerned Mars has been a swine this apparition.
I think Barry mentioned using X143 magnification with his 250mm scope whilst higher magnifications provided rubbish images.
I have a 215mm f 7.6 newtonian and in the past ie previous apparitions not this one, I have managed to get some glorious views of Mars in good seeing employing X450 manification. I'm afraid Mars is currently on the wane now only 12 arcsecs apparent diameter. My first telescopic view of Mars was in July 1988 Mars was then almost 17 arcseconds and in good seeing it was a revellation. Over the next couple of months after that Mars grew to almost 24 arcseconds - ie 2x Mars current apparent diameter which made the actual telescopic disc 4x as big in area compared with what you see now.
But irrespective of Mars' apparent size (bigger always helps of course) seeing conditions are all important.
Funnily enough towards end of the last apparition a couple of years back when seeing was good I got a better webcam of image of Mars then when a bit less than 7 arcseconds than I did last night when Mars was 12 arcsecs apparent diameter.
Don't despair but I think unless we are lucky Mars will not show up much better now this year .
However, there are other planets coming along for us all to look at.
Best of luck from Cliff

Posted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:44 am
by jimmynitcher
Thanks Cliff your thoughts are much appreciated.

Robin, I'm not sure why you think the Celestron Barlow is not worth it if it
improves the image? I looked at the image you took with the 80mm and I can only assume there must be something seriously wrong with my scope.

Its very clear at the mo so I'll have a go at finding something else, I found Mars again last night and its beginning to depress me!

thanks again


Posted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:36 am
by Robin Scagell
I'm not sure why you think the Celestron Barlow is not worth it if it improves the image?

It depends how far you want to go with this astronomy lark! You can get a much improved Barlow, compared with the one you've got, for £30 or less, and this would probably work almost as well as the Ultima (though I haven't tested the Ultima against a Sky-Watcher De Luxe Barlow -- something I'd like to try). However, if you are planning to get a different scope at some stage, and maybe do some imaging, then a top-quality Barlow will last you a lifetime and not noticeably degrade the quality of your other eyepieces.

The cheaper eyepieces (as distinct from Barlows) that are supplied with these entry-level scopes actually work pretty well, though they don't have the field of view and other attributes of more expensive eyepieces. You can easily spend more than the cost of the scope itself on a super-duper wide-field eyepiece, but the basic view of a planet would not be that different. The Barlow, however, is not achromatic (it has a single lens only) so it does give false colour.

Why you can't see more on Mars is a mystery. Saturn will be the clincher!


Posted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:55 am
by jimmynitcher
I'm desperate to see that - I once saw it when I was young and it left a real impression- I was out last night and looking in that direction at 11 but all I got was more white shiny dots so maybe it wasn't late enough, or...

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:06 pm
by jimmynitcher
Hooray ! A result, last night I saw Saturn plus rings! Very exciting, I also looked at Orion Galaxy which was nice, a good night.

Again, Saturn was very 'burnt out' like Mars in terms of colour, very white, it was like looking at a silhouette and I'm wondering whether I need a filter or something but don't really understand why my telescope would be more susceptible to brightness than others?

Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:04 pm
by richardw

i have a skywatcher skyhawk 114 newtonion reflector

Primary Mirror: Glass, aluminised with silicone overcoat 114mm
Focal length: 1000mm
Aperture: 114mm (f8.77)

it came with a 10mm,25mm and 2x barlow lense

should i be able to get images of mars like the one posted earlier or just a dot like im seeing at the moment.


Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:51 pm
by Naplesnut
I looked at Mars last night thro my 8" Meade SCT in lovely crisp low humidity below freezing conditions. The point is that you need to take time acclimatizing to the darkness as I had to look for over 30 secs in order to see the darker surface areas and the glare of the polar cap. I was tracking thro RA and used 3 different eps over a 1 hour period when Mars was due south. Used 25mm, then 25mm plus x3 barlow and finally 15mm ep + x3 barlow giving effective mags of 80, 240 and 400. The best result was with the 240x altho 80x gave surface detail if you looked long enough. 400x is within the range of the scope but gave too much peripheral distortion as one would expect. Lokking at saturn tonite with same parameters to compare cos last nite I got clouded out by 9.00pm. So much for weather forecasts in Kent!!!!!!!!!!!1

Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:36 pm
by richardw
seems a clear night 2nite up in leeds, ive got 2x barlow and 25mm should that be sufficient enough to see mars (not just a dot)