October 29, 2005, 05:40 UT
Instrument: 18-inch Obsession

Apparent diameter: 20".2
Phase: 100%
CM: 304°

For this, my first extended observation of Mars during the 2005 opposition, I am treated to a spectacular view of Syrtis Major. The dark continent of Mars has recently transited the central meridian. Sinus Sabaeus trails as an outstretched arm toward the following limb. However, Sinus Meridiani is obscurred by a dust storm. Mare Tyrrhenum extends as a second arm toward the preceding limb of the red planet. Deltoton Sinus is seen as a thumb jutting into Aeria following Syrtis Major.

Hellas is free of clouds. Its oval form is ringed to the south by darker bands and to the north by Syrtis Major. Mare Hadriaticum, Hellespontus and Mare Serpentis hold this gigantic impact basin like slender fingers grasping a bowl. There is the occasional glimpse of a ring-like albedo feature along the north limb. A check of Leandro Ríos' excellent [i]Mars Previewer II[/i] application indicates this may have been Utopia and nearby Protonilus. The entire following limb is edged in a haze. The south preceding limb also glows white. Elysium, north of and preceding Hellas, seems brighter when viewed through the 80A light blue filter.

This wasn't the best view of Mars I've ever had but was a great way to start the 2005 opposition with my one-year old Obsession.

Mars September 11, 2003

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Revised: October 30, 2005 [WDF]