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All Set for Mars: GSO 150mm/EQ5

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10 hours ago, seven_legs said:

Nice set up. 

Looking forward to watching Mars if it’s ever clear😊

Thanks. Of course, the day after I set it up it started raining, and still is lol. I might be in with a chance Wednesday night.

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At around 23:00 (BST) Sunday night I could actually see stars outside. So I finally managed to get the polar alignment done. It went well, which surprised me to be honest as it’s normally quite an awkward and frustratingly difficult job for me. I only took three eyepieces out because I’d originally envisaged this as basically a test session for the EQ5/150mm as it’s been a while since I’d last used them. At 23:40 I had Mars in view at 281x with the 3.2mm BST StarGuider. I’d used this eyepiece on the last Mars opposition so I knew it would have enough in-focus with the Crayford and the added Baader helical focuser. It was so bright using no filter at all I decided to use the Sirius CE-1 at first, and then the Baader Orange 570nm Longpass filters.



My Mars filters and new red light torch.


I experimented with the Tele Vue Powermate and a 9mm Circle T orthoscopic (250x) but discovered that there was something definitely weird with the finder. I spent around forty minutes faffing about without managing to see anything. Plus my RA knob kept falling off! Finally, in desperation, I went back to the house for the 25mm Antares cross-hair eyepiece. An eyepiece worth its weight in gold. By the time I’d got back to the scope it had clouded over. After a bit it cleared again, as I expected, and I actually used Mars itself as a target to re-align the finder. This isn’t a new problem for me with the 150mm Newtonian. I also decided to return to using the StarGuider as the wider FOV was beneficial for target acquisition. I stacked a Baader Double Polariser (I was prepared for the glare this time!) with a Baader Contrast Booster.



Screenshot of Mars from Sky-Safari 6 Pro.


I basically observed until 02:10 with this ‘triple’ stack until the clouds came back. The bright Moon wasn't a problem, as it was mainly behind me, and as I had to sit under the OTA looking up into the eyepiece it didn’t reflect into the eye lens. The 150mm TS Optics (GSO) Newtonian’s image was sharper and more defined than my 127mm Synta Maksutov on Mars. The southern polar cap was still visible although not quite as easy to see with the overall brightness. The NPH clouds were also visible although not as obvious as in previous sessions with smaller scopes. I could perceive the Tyrrhena Terra and Terra Cimmeria regions quite clearly. I even observed some dark albedo features on the Utopia and Elysium Planitiae. The circular impact basin in Hellas was quite defined and distinct. Syrtis Major was very prominent and very well outlined. The icing on the cake was being able to make out a large part of 'The Eye of Mars', and seeing that and the Syrtis Major Planum at the same time kind of did it for me. So, a pretty decent session even with some slight technical problems.

Edited by Nightspore
Don't get me started ...
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On 04/10/2020 at 11:26, philjay said:

Nice set up. 6" newt was the first scope I viewed Mars with back in one of the 70s oppositions, I remember seeing the polar cap and Syrtis Major for the first time.


Thanks, I've had this TS Optics/GSO OTA almost exactly three years now. It replaced my old Newtonian. I already had the EQ5. I only really use it for lunar/planetary. It's pretty good for a scope just under 300 quid.

Edited by Nightspore
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