Closest Approach of Mars
2:51 AM Wednesday, Aug 27th

Public Observing Session Wednesday Evening a Success!

Many Thanks to the Volunteers

Morning After Update

 

A Picture at the Event. Click here for the image. This was taken by Richard Smith, the volunteer who was at the eyepiece of the 17.5 inch telescope (the one shown) all evening. As the Earth turned, and Mars slid out of the eyepiece view, Richard and Deepak Sahasrabudhe would find the planet for the next observer. There was a steady stream of visitors from 10:30 pm until 1:30 am. This was one of several telescopes that arrived.

What was that Star? In the telescope field we could see a star-like object, and we wondered if it was one of the moons of Mars. In this simulation (click here) it seems that the object was star TYC6386-334-1, a 10th magnitude star in Aquarius. You can see that the moons were much closer.

What were the surface features? Astronomy magazine has this (click here) annotated image of the side of Mars that we were viewing. Oh, is the polar cap on the bottom, and you remember seeing it at the top (or somewhere else) in the telescopes? That is because astromical telescopes usually show objects upsidedown and sometimes mirror images of what is is out there. Spotting telescopes and binoculars have correcting lenses to orientate the image the way you'd expect... but the astronomical purists would prefer not to add more optics, and they are prepared to make the mental adjustment.

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Managing Director, John Dickenson, writes, "Congratulations on a successful evening. Parks Board estimates that we had about 10,000 people in Vanier Park for last nights Marswatch event. If you are free this evening [Thursday] please join us."


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About the observing location. It is amazing, but there are few good places to observe Mars from Bowen Island. We have found that there are a few hours of viewing possible from the end of Jason Road in Miller's Landing. Click here for a map popup. This is a residential neighbourhood, and the hour is late, so we are asking all visitors to be very quiet.

Park at least a block away and walk in to the site. Car headlights are blinding to people who are dark adapted for telescope observing. Also, there will be little or no manouvering room for cars.

Bring a flashlight so you can navigate safely. Since you will be dark adapted, the flashlight should be so dim that you can barely see that it is on in a normally lighted room. Consider dimming it with cardboard inserted between the bulb and the front glass.

Telescopes. So far we have 2 big telescopes. Rene Beauchal will bring his Dobsonian with a mirror that is 10 inches in diameter, and Robert Ballantyne's was the big plywood box at Bowfest. It has a 17-1/2 inch mirror.

Star Charts showing how Mars is moving in our sky: click here.

Check back for updates and news. This is a (last minute) project of the volunteers at Island Pacific School

Now we need volunteers to help with the program.

If you can help with this program (in any way)
Please call Mary Elliott at 947-0650


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