A. The spc is coming, just before the southern vernal equinox
MINAMI and NAKAJIMA at Fukui, based on their visual observations on 5 March (λ =171°Ls) from ω =300°W to 315°W, judged that the spc popped partially out from the sph though still dull in general. Hellas also duller light, and it was difficult to see the boundary. Area around Depressiones Hellesponticae looked dark. Refer also to MORITA's images on the day. The spc will soon be brighter and the next target is to check the depression of the captop. The central latitude φ was 11°S and δ was 5.2".
B. Now the season has come when the centre of the spc starts to deviate from the south pole
Some Depressiones inside the spc have been checked by the ccd observers
hitherto since around λ=210°Ls, and further thawing progressed: Now the
season λ=235°Ls is come when the deviation of the spc centre from the
south pole begins to occur. See the Notice in the case in 2003. The aspect
of the spc is interesting at present from every corner, while especially
the spc should be watched every day from the angles ω=140°W~150°W, as
well as from the opposite angles ω=280°W~290°W. The position of the
planet Mars is now quite upward to reach the celestial equator and the
angular diameter δ is near 9 arc seconds.
C. Noachis at λ=250°Ls
The areocentric longitude of the Sun λ=250°Ls is memorial since the great Noachis dust storm in 1956 was onset just at this season. This year 250°Ls visited on 16 July and Noachis began to face toward us from around 19 July (λ=252°Ls). So at the Fukui City Observatory, NAKAJIMA and MINAMI have been on the alert from around 2 o'clock AM local time (17:00 GMT) every night to catch a lull (still rainy season here). As far as they watched visually the surface extensively around from ω=330°W~340°W on 19 July, 20 July, 21 July and 24 July (this morning), no dust disturbance has been detected over Noachis (unfortunately on 22 and 23 July the planet did not appear here, while we have just received good images made on 22 July from Yukio MORITA). M Serpentis has remained the same, wide and darkened. Furthermore no dust disturbance has been there around the western neighbourhood of Hellas: Hellas is just dull light and rather misty whitish near the terminator and has remained the same on 19, 20, 21 and 24 July (λ=256°Ls). As rotated, Argyre appeared distinct near the noon. Noachis is still visible for another few days from here, while a Typhoon (970hPa, No 7) is approaching us and we are afraid we cannot observe the area any longer until we pass on the baton to the European observers.
D. Solis L area at λ=300°Ls
The Martian season λ=300°Ls is come: We remember at the very season there was onset a great dust storm in 1973 quite near Solis L . It was first detected from the Oceania-Asia hemisphere and well chased. In Japan we were so attentive to the area around from λ=289°Ls, while no disturbance was observed. At present the area is facing to Europe and soon to the east coast of the American continents. The west coast is the next. As far as the images posted on the CMO Gallery tell, there seems no onset yet (at least at the moment), but still the dust season continues and much more attention is expected. In 1988 some disturbances were observed near Solis L at λ=320°Ls, and in 1990 several dust events were watched around at λ=330°Ls at the Solis L area from Europe to the US. More recently in December 2003 a cross-equatorial dust occurred at λ=315°Ls and disturbed near the area of Solis L.
E. Chicken at Mt Hamilton
Masatsugu MINAMI (Mn) joined a project planned by Bill SHEEHAN and Tony MISCH from 3 to 24 October held at Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, by the use of the famous 91cm Grand Refractor. This project was organised to observe first the area of Tharsis to compare ours with the observations of E E BARNARD in 1894, and then observe the Chryse and Xanthe area to check the possible cross-equatorial dusts in season. We were endowed with a total of 15 fine nights and fortunately we were able to catch the dust burst at the southern Chryse on 18 Oct as well as the onset of the dust disturbance on Solis L on 21 Oct. On the final night of 24 Oct, Mn observed the last dust patch on Solis L with Tony MISCH and Laurie HATCH, while Mn noticed that it had halfway shrunk when he observed it again returning home at Fukui, Japan, with Takashi NAKAJIMA on 25 Oct.
F. Yellow Planet again at Opposition
Mars was closest to the Earth on 30 October, and today came at opposition. Tomorrow De and Ds will coincide. Surface shines and especially the aureole of Olympus Mons should be bright as usual because of nearly vanishing phase angle (an opposition effect) and so on. However due to the preceding dust events, the Martian atmosphere is full of airborne dusts and the general dark markings appear to be rather dull (except for the IR eyes). We are now observing the regions from Syrtis Mj to Solis L from Japan, while the general aspect is quite different from what we saw one month ago. The surface disk looks quite yellowish; though just the northern deserts of Aeria to Moab show yet a ruddy tint (of course more yellowish, yellow ocher).