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Monday, December 21, 2020

Observations from the Mars 2020 Opposition


These are some of the drawings that I made during the Mars 2020 opposition. I would go out to my back porch with my 6 inch Dobsonian Newtonian telescope.  I would look closely at Mars, making mental note of what I was seeing. Then I would go to the shack and immediately draw what I'd seen. I would then look for relatively recent images of Mars made by people with more experience and better equipment, and I'd compare my drawings with their images -- this enabled me to understand what I was seeing.  Also useful was the Mars Profiler of Sky and Telescope magazine -- you just plug in the date and time and it displays the part of Mars that is facing us. 

I was especially pleased with the drawing and image above because I'd been reading a lot about the Hellas impact crater in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy.   (SCP should be SPC = Southern Polar Cap.)  

I came to think of this as the "M of Mars."  I think it is just Mare Cimmerium, Mare Hesperia, and Mare Tyrrhenum. 

bcastropics.com made this illustration of how Mars's apparent size has changed


  1. Did you see the Sinus Gomer feature in your observations? It was near the center of Mars in your 13 Sept 2020 obvservation. Seeing Sinus Gomer visually was a goal for me, but I never resolved it in my 6" or 8" scopes.

  2. It is great to see someone still adhering to the "Dark Arts". There's a subforum on Cloudy Nights astronomy site dedicated to sketching astronomical objects. The deep sky sketches are fascinating. With telescopes there seems to be two categories of fans. Those that enjoy the making more than the use and those who enjoy the use more than the making. Occasionally the twain shall meet. Mel Bartels is one of the twain. As much as you are into the making of electronics, during retirement, a dabble into grinding, polishing and figuring a mirror is a great way to murder time. An 8" F/6 is a good start--a perfect instrument capable of capturing a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum .


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