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Monday, October 31, 2005


Mars observed

as if through a glass, darkly. After days of rain, cloud and general horribleness, Opposition day dawned bright and clear. It was a beautiful, perfect day with those intense blue skies that you yhink are a dream. The kids even went swiming. Unbelievably, it held out until night time. The skies were dark, the air was cool and there was no breath of wind. I acclimatised my scope for two hours before attempting to observe.

And the seeing was terrible.

Desipte the stillness, and the fact that it was close to midnight, ging everything time to come to some sort of equilibrium, Mars roiled and boiled in turbluelence. The scope was dripping with condensation as well. Tom had similar problems as well. I tried both sketching as catching some images with the webcam. You can see the webcam result up above. The colours were magnificent though, and even through the toil and bubble there were flashes when you could see some detail. And it was the first time I have seen Mars in over three months.

On the night of opposition of 2003 (and days before and after), I only got brief glimpses through rainclouds, so I am happy rather than dissapointed.

"Opposition day dawned bright and clear".

Hate to nit-pick but that's not until the 7th November.

Still, even the Science Museum here in the UK are getting confused about dates and significance:

"we are throwing open the doors to a fabulous Mars opposition, the nearest Mars will be to the Earth in living history"

Mars isn't at its closest at opposition and I think they're confusing this time around with 2003. ;)
Yeah, I know, I've been writing "closest approach" in every post except this one. I blame lack of sleep.

I don't know what the science museaums excuse is though :-)
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