StarGazer’s Telescope – Last Dance With Mars

Have you ever wondered what it was like to look through a real telescope? Tired of being clouded out night after night and would be happy with a look through any telescope? After all the exciting news we’ve heard about Mars, I thought it might be fun to let you take a look through a small telescope and see what Mars really looks like – flaws and all.

Step right up here to the eyepiece and have a look! Remember this is just a small telescope, so what you see isn’t going to look like images taken with the Hubble – or still images that have been processed to bring out details. This is just pure and natural…

Mars is very low on the horizon right now and the skies are turbulent. This makes getting a very clear image of Mars difficult in any telescope. If you can at least see the dark notch that looks different from the rest of the planet then you’re spotting Sytris Major. Sure, it doesn’t look like the media likes to show it, but a long time ago in 1649, an astronomer named Christiaan Huygens was the very first person to resolve a surface feature on another planet. It probably looked very much like it does here!

I don’t care how many times I look at Mars, I still enjoy it’s red color. Yeah, I know Mars is red because it has such a thin atmosphere, which cannot hold the blue like the Earth’s atmosphere can. But Mars is also red because of all of the rusted iron dust surrounding the planet and all the rusted iron on the planet. Of course, I’m a firm believer that it’s better to burn out than it is to rust… But then I’m old, too.

Did you catch a twinge of blue around the edge? That’s another thing that fascinates me about Mars. Every time I see that, I know I’m seeing the carbon dioxide from the polar caps and that’s just too cool to me. And now your peek through the StarGazer’s Telescope has ended.

Move over, because it’s my turn.

14 Replies to “StarGazer’s Telescope – Last Dance With Mars”

  1. Scope details please! Another nice article, but i think knowing the spec. of this scope would be really useful for people thinking about buying one themselves. If it encourages someone to buy a telescope because they didn’t know they could get a good view with a small scope, great! Or, if it makes them consider shelling out some more cash because they’ve seen one too many Hubble pics and expect everything to be huge and detailed in a tiny scope, then that’s great too! 🙂

  2. Nice article but too short!!
    I wouldn’t mind seeing more artilcles from small scopes, and better yet… pictures! A lot of things can be seen from scopes costing less than $500 and even binoculars. Nothing is better than increasing interest in those who aren’t able to pay out the big money. I think interest in space overall is falling in the US/Canada. Although in other countries it seems to be increasing.

  3. The StarGazer’s Scope is very average – what you would see through most 4.5″ (114mm) to 6″ (150mm) reflectors or refractors with the magnification pushed up the the limits. Remember, the video taken is also very average – it hasn’t been enhanced, stacked, color-corrected or anything else.

    One of the reasons behind “StarGazer’s Scope” was to experiment just a bit… To see if there is any interest from UT readers in looking at “live” views as any given object would appear on an average night in an average telescope. If you like what you see here, please feel free to respond! I’ll be happy to continue…

  4. this is very cool…would be cool to see a series of “What you actually see when you look through a telescope” posts…people get one perspective when they see processed hubble pictures, but its a very different perspective than you get from a telescope eyepiece. would be fun to see a couple unprocessed stills or videos from some deep sky objects as well…thanks for this…

  5. Good to see Tammy. I think it would be a great idea to have more of this sort of thing as one of the regular features… I think it would inspire more people to get into this great hobby (when I say hobby, I really mean obsession) of ours. But there’s no need to limit it to average nights and average telescopes! Video from nights with great seeing through fine telescopes would be welcome too! Maybe skip the crappy nights and rubbish telescopes though…

    You could even take video submissions from other amateurs if they felt so-inclined…

  6. If Mars was low on the horizon as the video was taken, it would be interesting to know what difference it would make if Mars was higher up (ie looking through less atmosphere)

  7. Awesome! thanks. I am just on the road to purchasing my first small refractor- a WO Megrez 110. Hoping for a little better seeing that you had though!!

  8. Out looking through my scope right now actually. Well took a little break to type i guess. What I really love is being able to see these sights with my own eyes. It would be great to have more articles such as this one showing views through different scopes. I think it would be very interesting to view what others are able to see with their set ups. Im a beginner myself and actually waiting for my new scope to arrive in the mail. 8 inch reflector on an eq. Cant wait!

  9. In fact, the mag was probably kicked up way too high. Most of us like looking at good resolution. Maybe showing the difference between all the differing magnifications would add to things. Having background stars adds to effect that the object we are looking at is not some photo of an isolated object that a skilled painter can replicate. When any of the planets are near M45 or M44 I find it really neat to see them in my field of view.

  10. First off, many many thanks to Nancy A. for helping to get the video loaded so it works properly! 😀

    Thank you for the replies! I am listening…

    I agreed with Astrofiend. There is no need to limit this to average scopes and average skies. Even as we speak, I am making arrangements with a lot more sophisticated equipment and possibly even southern skies!

    As for the other replies? Yes. The seeing wasn’t so great and the magnification a little too high – but it is also something which can be improved if there is interest. I guess more to the point is these are natural views – not perfect because the sky and scope aren’t always perfect… not to mention the hand holding the camera!

    So what do you think? A few more as to what things look like in a small, average scope… Then take on the challenge with bigger and better?

  11. I would definitely love to see some of these sights. I’ve been dying to whip out my 8″ Celestron for the last few weeks but I’m on the southern coast of Caifornia and every night it’s clouded over. I’m getting bummed that the Jovian planets will set soon and I won’t get to see them this summer. The light pollution here is bad enough but the clouds make any kind of viewing impossible, of course.

    What would also be cool is to see these articles take on not only the solar system but deep space objects, and show contrasting results between using different lenses, magnifications, and filters.

  12. well pretty good, but we arent babies im 12 and i want to know about things like the us spy which is going to crash down to earth in february. i love astronomy and i know nearly everything about space so i would like to know something better

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