Fifth Report: The CMO/OAA Observations made during the one-month period from
16 February 2003 (λ=138゚Ls) to 15 March 2003 (λ=152゚Ls)

Based on the OAA Mars Section article published in CMO #270 (25 March 2003 )

Masatsugu MINAMI, Director of the OAA Mars Section

Japanese here

THE planet Mars is gradually approaching, but at the same time it was gradually going further down to the southern sky (up to mid-March). After the winter solstice, the Sunrise is gradually advancing, and hence the observable time does not so increase. This time we review the observations made during the period from

16 February 2003 at λ=138゚Ls to 15 March 2003 at λ=152゚Ls.

  The apparent diameter δ grew from 5.7" to 6.7". The phase angle ι was 36゚to 39゚. The central latitude φ was first read 2゚N: It passed the equator on 21 February, and went up to 6゚S. Henceforward the φ will points to the southern hemisphere as follows: φ goes up to 21゚S in June, and once back to 19゚S at the end of August, but goes again up to 26゚S in December. The apparent declination was down to 23°34' in mid March: This was the lowest angle and it will recover gradually hereafter.

  We received the observations made during the period as follows: The ALPO veterans C HERNANDEZ (CHr) and D PARKER (DPk) joined. D PEACH (DPc) in Tenerife suffered from poor seeing conditions, and so no result was reported this period (cf LtE). In Japan, the weather and the seeing condition have not been preferable, while Tohru IWASAKI (Iw) started.

         FRASSATI, Mario (MFr) Crescentino, Italia
             1 Sets of Drawings (22 February 2003)    250x 20cm SCT 

         HERNANDEZ, Carlos E  (CHr) Miami, FL, USA
             1 Drawing (6 March 2003)   350, 620x 23cm Maksutov-Cassegrain

         ISHADOH, Hiroshi  (Id)  Naha, Okinawa, Japan
            14 Drawings (21, 25 February; 1, 2, 11, 12, 15 March 2003)
                                                     400, 340, 290, 220x 31cm speculum

        IWASAKI, Tohru  (Iw)  kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan
             1 Drawing (16 February 2003)          400x 21cm speculum

        MINAMI, Masatsugu  (Mn)  Mikuni, Fukui, Japan
           28 Drawings (17, 18, 27 February; 13, 15 March 2003)  
                                                400, 480x 20cm ED Goto refractor*

    MORITA, Yukio   (Mo)   Hatsuka-ichi, Hiroshima, Japan  
           16 Sets of CCD Images (20 February; 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 March 2003) 
                                 f/50@ 25cm F/7.7 speculum equipped with an ST-5C

       MURAKAMI, Masami  (Mk)   Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
            9 Drawings (25, 26 February; 7, 12, 13 March 2003)  320x 20cm speculum

       NAKAJIMA, Takashi   (Nj)   Fukui, Fukui, Japan
            5 Drawings (15 March 2003)       400, 480x 20cm ED Goto refractor*

    PARKER, Donald C  (DPk) Miami, FL, USA
            3 Sets of CCD Images (8 March 2003) 
                               f/60@ 41cm F/6 Newtonian equipped with an ST-9XE 

                                                                               *Fukui City Observatory

  On 16 February when λ=138゚Ls at 00:00 GMT, but λ=139゚Ls in Japan observable time, IWASAKI (Iw) observed at ω=313゚W (21:30 GMT): Hellas was near the evening terminator but not particularly bright. The area of M Serpentis and M Ionium was dark and darker than Syrtis Mj. Æria and Arabia were light. Noachis was dull.

  On 17 February (λ=139゚Ls), MINAMI (Mn) observed from ω=269゚W to 308゚W every forty minutes (until 21:50 GMT): Hellas was round and white. It was bright at ω=286゚W, and seen also thru G, but less bright than the npr. The surface looked misty in general and Syrtis Mj came to be evident just near the CM, especially its west coast. Near the evening terminator Syrtis Mj and M Tyrrhenum were dark. The planet was near the Meridian at dawn.

  On 18 February (λ=140゚Ls), Mn observed at ω=250゚W~309゚W: The transparency was better and Hellas sometimes brightened in a white tinge. Syrtis Mj looked definite. At the evening side, M Tyrrhenum was dark brownish and in the morning Æria was light. In the end, S Sabæus emerged. The temperature read - 0゚C outside the dome on the rooftop.

  On 20 February (λ=140゚Ls), MORITA (Mo) took ccd images at ω=255゚W~264゚W: The area from Syrtis Mj to M Tyrrhenum is definite. Hellas is dull thru B. At ω=255゚W, the Ætheria dark patch and Utopia are evident.

  On 21 February (λ=141゚Ls), ISHADOH (Id) observed at ω=270゚W and 280゚W (22:30 GMT just after sunrise): Hellas was dull and not bright. Syrtis Mj was evident while Utopia was faint. Since φ=0゚S, it was difficult to see the npc but the area was light.

  On 22 February (λ=141゚Ls), FRASSATI (MFr) in Italy observed at ω=029゚W (at 6:05GMT) where S Meridiani is dark evident (at Int 5) while Margaritifer S was weak. M Acidalium was near the CM at Intensity 3~4. The npr was largely white, but the spr is featureless.

  On 25 February (λ=143゚Ls), MURAKAMI (Mk) in Yokohama observed at ω=219゚W (21:00 GMT), ISHADOH (Id) in Okinawa observed at ω=224゚W (21:20 GMT) & 234゚W (22:00 GMT): M Cimmerium was visible and to Mk its evening side was darker. The npr to the morning was light. The spr looked whitish light. Id observed that the sph was dull white. M Cimmerium was dark, but Utopia was not detected. The npr looked whitish blue and misty. At ω=234゚W it was expected to catch Syrtis Mj, but too faint. Elysium a bit.

  On 26 February (λ=144゚Ls), Mk observed at ω=200゚W and 209゚W: The sph was whitish light. The morning limb showed a whitish light core (over Libya?). Cerberus-Phlegra faint near the CM.

  On 27 February (λ=144゚Ls), Mn observed from ω=180゚W to 209゚W every forty minutes: The spr was white, considered to be the sph. φ=2゚S. Markings appeared still weaker than expected. The roll cloud at the area of Olympus Mons was suspected but too weak. After ω=190゚W, the npr was observed light, and there was seen a light limb area on the SH. The δ rose to 6.1".


  On 1 March (λ=143゚Ls), Id observed at ω=193゚W & 203゚W where the sph was large and grey-whitish, surrounded by a dark band including M Cimmerium. A specific mist at the morning limb (preceding Syrtis Mj). Elysium unseen, but a shadow area was seen around Cerberus-Phlegra. Maybe the npc and following it a morning mist.

  On 2 March (λ=146゚Ls), Id observed at ω=178゚W &188゚W: The sph was dull (because of the bad seeing). The latter drawing shows an area of Cerberus-Phlegra near the CM.

  On 6 March (λ=140゚Ls), Carlos HERNANDEZ (CHr) at Miami made an attractive colour drawing at ω=327゚W (at 4:45 GMT): the limb of the disk looks covered by a whitish mist. M Acidalium was completely inside the disk detached from the mist. The sph was white and large. Adjacent to the sph the area of Depressiones Hellesponticæ looked dark.

  On 7 March (λ=148゚Ls), Mk at Yokohama observed at ω=110゚W (20:10 GMT) & 120゚W (20:50 GMT): The sph looked rather smaller but most part of it should be inside the night area. The area of Solis L looked shadowy near the evening terminator.

  On 8 March (λ=149゚Ls), Don PARKER (DPk) started to make good sets of images at ω=307゚W~315゚W. The markings in RG610 images are stable. Because of rather excessive processing, the dark markings appear denser than the visual images, but Depressiones Hellesponticæ looks darker than S Sabæus and a bit anomalous. The sph is large and white in B. The markings on the NH are well shown. DPk uses newly an SBIG cooled camera ST-9XE as well as the CFW-8A colour filter wheel (with filters having pass-bands; R: 612 - 670 nm, G: 488 - 574 nm, B: 392 - 508 nm together with the Schott RG610). On the same day (8 March), Mo shot the surfaces at ω=102゚W~120゚W, but the seeing was poor. Mo also worked on 9 March (λ=149゚Ls) at ω=105゚W (where the area of Solis L is shadowy in the evening), and on 10 March (λ=150゚Ls) at ω=092゚W.

  On 11 March (λ=150゚Ls), Mo took images at ω=078゚W~082゚W, Id observed at ω=086゚W & 096゚W: Mo's images suggest the area of Solis L and Dædalia-Claritas remains the same as seen after the subsidence of the 2001 dust storm. The markings on the images are slightly unstable, but Ceraunius looks as a dark band. The sph in B is weak. Id judged that the sph had grown lighter. The detail of the area of Solis L is not discerned. Chryse is light near the evening terminator.

  On 12 March (λ=151゚Ls), Mk observed ω=059゚W & 069゚W and then Id did at ω=077゚W. Mk enjoyed a slightly improved seeing at Yokohama: he saw the sph to be a bit lighter, as well as the shaded area of Auroræ S to Solis L and Dædalia. M Acidalium was seen near the terminator with a protrusion of Nilokeras. Later Chryse was light near the evening terminator. Tempe was light and white. Id at Okinawa saw Chryse-Xanthe to be light, but the sph to be duller. Ganges faintly seen.

  On 13 March (λ=151゚Ls), Mn observed from ω=030゚W to 079゚W, Mo shot from ω=047゚W to 096゚W and Mk observed at ω=059゚W & 069゚W: The transparency at Fukui was poor, but each of S Meridiani, S Margaritifer and S Auroræ was separately identified. The sph looked however dull though large. M Acidalium with Nilokeras visible. At ω=069゚W, there was seen a lighter core inside the sph at the afternoon side. A shadowy protrusion to the Solis L area. Chryse showed an evening mist. The npr light. Mk observed that the sph was large, grey-whitish. A large shadowy area from M Erythræumto Solis L. M Acidalium was definite near the evening terminator. Tempe roundish white, and then the following limb showed a light misty area. Mo's LRGB image at ω=048゚W, IR one at ω=063゚W and LRGB one at ω=069゚W are all good: The description of the Solis L area is precious. M Acidalium is definite with Nilokeras. The sph in B looks natural but not reflected in the final composed image. Chryse misty.

  On 15 March (λ=153゚Ls), Nj and Mn at Fukui watched from fully from ω=011゚W (18:40 GMT) to ω=060゚W (22:00 GMT), and Id observed at ω=040゚W(20:40 GMT), 050゚W, and 060゚W (22:00 GMT). At Fukui, the sph was large and white, and S Sabæus was caught. The deformed shape (a slight protrusion downward of the afternoon part) of the sph at ω=030゚W~040゚W was quite similar both on drawings at Fukui and by Id. Chryse misty light. Margaritifer S and M Acidalium were clearly visible. Id detected a faint Ganges. At ω=030゚W, the morning limb looked quite light.

  The next issue shall treat the period from 16 March (λ=153&°Ls) to 15 April 2003 (λ=169&°Ls, δ=8.3"). We hope every observation, if emailed, is sent in a .jpg file to M MURAKAMI( as well as to M MINAMI ( . The former is for the CMO Internet, and the latter for the edition of the CMO Report (this column).
  It is preferable every file conveys the observer's name or code: If not, it will turn hard to identify later whose file it is.

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