2001 Mars Observation Reports -- #04 --


Mars Observations

made during the period
from16 January 2001 (104Ls) to 15 February 2001 (118Ls)
based on the article published in CMO #240 (25 February 2001)


by Masatsugu MINAMI, Director of the OAA Mars Section


hough we have not been so conscious, Antares has already been so near the planet Mars implying that Mars is now quite low. On 16 January 2001 the apparent declination of Mars was -14 46' while it was down to -19 11' one month later on 15 February. On 15 March it will go further down and read -21 48. The planet was found quite near Beta Scorpii on 20 February, as if they were a double star.
  On 13 February, Mars attained the western quadrature, and we can now observe the planet at meridian at dawn. AKUTSU (Ak) joined. We hear MURAKAMI (Mk) also started and WHITBY (SWb) frequently points the telescope to the planet. Don PARKER (DPk) is already very active and made his happy Birthday observation during this period.

  The present report deals with the period from 16 January 2001 (104Ls) to 15 February 2001 (118Ls), during which the apparent diameter went up from 5.7" to 7.0". The central latitude was down rapidly from 16N to 09N, and the north polar cap is now on the edge. The phase angel increased from 35 to 38. If the condition allows, it is now possible to start to watch the surface from 3 o'clock Local Time.

  This time we acknowledge receipt the observations from the following observers:   We received the observation reports from the following ten observers while the angular diameter was still under 6 arcsecs.

AKUTSU, Tomio (Ak) Karasuyama, Tochigi, Japan

1 Sets of CCD Images (10 February 2001)

f/60 32cm spec equipped with a Teleris 2


HERNANDEZ, Carlos (CHr) Miami, FL, USA

1 Set of Drawings (11 February 2001)

410, 470x 20cm SCT


HIGA, Yasunobu (Hg) Naha, Okinawa, Japan

9 Video images (19, 23 January; 6, 15 February 2001)

25cm F6.7 spec equipped with Sony VX-1000


ISHADOH, Hiroshi (Id) Naha, Okinawa, Japan

4 Drawings (17 January; 5, 6 February 2001)

400, 530x 31cm speculum


MINAMI, Masatsugu (Mn) Fukui, Japan

26 Drawings (21, 30 January; 3, 4, 6, 8 February 2001)

400, 480x 20cm refractor*


MORITA, Yukio (Mo) Hatsuka-ichi, Hiroshima, Japan

15 Sets of CCD Images (21, 22 January; 2, 11 February 2001)

f/50 25cm spec equipped with an ST-5C


NAKAJIMA, Takashi (Nj) Fukui, Japan

6 Drawings (4, 8 February 2001) 480x 20cm refractor*


PARKER, Donald C (DPk) Miami, FL, USA

10 Sets of CCD Images (16, 28, 31 January; 8, 14 February 2001)

f/55 41cm speculum equipped with a Lynxx PC

1 Set of Drawings (26 January 2001) 445,610x 41cm speculum


PEACH, Damian A (DPc) King's Lynn, Norfolk, UK

3 Sets of Drawings (16 January; 13, 14 February 2001)

410,590x 31cm Meade SCT



2 Drawings (24, 28 January 2001)

360x 32cm speculum / 430x 15cm refractor



* Fukui City Observatory

 Observation   :
 16 January ~ 31 January 2001


n 16 January 2001 (104Ls), D PEACH (DPc) in Norfolk made a drawing at LCM=211W (observed for 5:50~6:15 GMT), and about four hours later Don PARKER in Florida produced CCD images at LCM=275W and LCM=282W (respectively at 10:23 GMT and 10:52 GMT): DPc faced to a surface of scarce markings, while the E terminator and the W limb were bright, and the north polar cap (npc) isevident. DPk's images show the surfaces where Syrtis Mj prevails, and Hellas is bright in R as well as in B. The latter is somewhat different from the aspect in the previous case on 12 Dec (088Ls) where Hellas in R is not so bright: This must imply that the bright matter has become a deposit. The north polar region (npr) is largely bright even in R but the npc is not explicit. The image in R is excellent in the sense that N Alcyonius is shot. Morning mist prevails along the limb. The observation time in Japan at this time is around 21h GMT (different by about 10 hours both from Europe and America).

  On 17 Jan(105Ls), ISHADOH (Id) at Naha observed at LCM=069W (at 21:30 GMT): M Acidalium was in the evening. The southern markings were dark but not well identified. The south polar limb was slightly light. Chryse is dully light. The npc was still definite and whitish light (central latitude =16N).
19 Jan(106Ls), HIGA (Hg) at Naha video-taped the surfaces at LCM=032W, LCM=042W and LCM=052W: M Acidalium in the N and the area of Auror S in the S hemisphere are seen, and Chryse is whitish in the evening. The npr looks whitish.
  After a long spell of snowy weather, MINAMI (Mn) at Fukui expected a clear sky on
21 Jan (106Ls), brought with him a shovel to remove the snow and went to the Observatory to find the planet at last at 6:30 JST: He observed thus at LCM=030W and LCM=040W where M Acidalium and the area of Auror S were quite dark, and S Meridiani was detected in the former session. Tharsis came in the latter with an off-white tint. The npc looked small but clear. The southern limb was also slightly whitish light.

  On 21 and 22 Jan (106Ls), MORITA (Mo) at Hiroshima took CCD images: on 21 Jan at LCM=011W and on 22 Jan at LCM=001W, LCM=006W and LCM=014W: M Acidalium appears dark in R though the B images are featureless.
  We have the Video images by Hg taken on
23 Jan (107Ls) at LCM=344W, LCM=354W and LCM=004W: In the first half Hellas is not visible (phase angle =36). Chryse is morning light. M Acidalium is on the morning side in the latter.

  On 24 Jan (107Ls), Myron WASIUTA (MWs) in Virginia observed at LCM=190W where the npc was caught, but no sp hood, though the southern markings were seen.
26 Jan (108Ls) DPk took a set of drawings at LCM=180W in R and B (Wr38A/Wr47): In R a shadow was seen around at Propontices, and in B an evening cloud at Tharsis and a limb cloud largely in the morning.
  Then on
28 Jan (109Ls), DPk made his Birthday shots at LCM=168W: The area from Olympus Mons to the evening terminator is very cloudy orographically. Propontis I is clearly visible and Phlegra-Cerberus looks dark on the morning side preceding the morning misty Elysium. The npr is whitish vague without the explicit npc. The southern limb is dull in B.
  The same day, MWs observed at LCM=177W (at 11:39 GMT) but the seeing was too poor to detect the details except the presence of the southern markings.
30 Jan (110Ls) Mn observed at LCM=296W and LCM=306W under a rather preferable seeing condition: S Sabus was already evident in the morning and Hellas was very bright as if protruding. The npc was flat and small but definite (central latitude=15N) bounded by a weak Utopia. M Acidalium was coming.

  On 31 Jan (111Ls), DPk produced a good series of CCD images at LCM=117W, LCM=127W, LCM=132W, and at LCM=139W (from 9:28 to 10:58 GMT): The Tharsis area is very conspicuous and from the second session Olympus Mons is isolated from the preceding Tharsis in G and B. In the latter half, Propontis I becomes obvious and the area of Propontis II is dark. The band from Phlegra to Cerberus stands dark. The npc does not show up even in R. The spr is dull and M Sirenum is obscure.

 2 February ~ 15 February 2001

  On 2 Feb (112Ls), Mo obtained good images at LCM=260W, LCM=265W, and LCM=270W: Hellas is now bright both in B and R. The Hellas's image in R differs from that in Mo's result taken on 27 Dec (095Ls) implying that Hellas is now covered down by the frost. Utopia's umbra is visible and the npc is clear though images are unstable. Cebrenia is light near the terminator.

  At Fukui we observed on 3, 4, 6 and 8 Feb (112Ls~114Ls) and roughly we covered the regions from LCM=277W to LCM=198W: The southern limb looked light and from around LCM=230W it was because of the coming of Hellas. From around LCM=250W, Hellas became very brilliant. The npc was still very evident (Central latitude =12N). M Cimmerium was dark, and quite darker than the northern Gyndes. Syrtis Mj was late to appear, but very dark near the CM.

  ISHADOH (Id) observed on 5 Feb (113Ls) at LCM=248W and 6 Feb (114Ls) at LCM=224W and LCM=234W. On 5 Feb, he met a preferable seeing (7/10) and made almost a complete survey of the surface: M Cimmerium is isolated from M Tyrrhenum, and Elysium in the afternoon was slightly light inside the disk. N Alcyonius was evident as a small stain and Utopia definite. The npc was flat and not so bright. On 6 Feb, the seeing was less, but Hellas was clearly caught at LCM=224W, and Elysium was roundish light inside. The npc did not shine but its shape was caught.
  On the same
6 Feb (114Ls), Hg under the same sky switched the Video button at LCM=222W and 232W: They also show Elysium inside the disk, and the theria dark patch is shown. The images, different from the previous Video images, show the southern limb light. At LCM=232W, Syrtis Mj seems to show up.

  On 8 Feb (114Ls) DPk acquired interesting images at LCM=061W and 065W where a thick mist starts from the evening Chryse to the morning side along the equatorial band, and the morning limb mist is along long from the Solis L to the npr. The npc is not distinct. This is evident much in B, but Ophir is light in R and invaded by the mist. Most interesting is the area from Tempe to Ascrus L that is free from the white mist and shows a densely reddish aspect (cf CMO #188 p2050, #211 p2396, #215 p2464 and so on: Evident on the HST image taken on 30 Mar 1997 (097Ls) giving a range of Ls).

  On 10 Feb (116Ls, apparent diameter=6.7"), our colleague AKUTSU (Ak) made a first shot at LCM=169W. The surface is featureless because of a poor seeing, but the technique of the colour composite looked to have improved.
11 Feb (116Ls) at LCM=034W , Carlos HERNANDEZ (CHr) made a set of drawings where M Acidalium was near the CM invaded by a light streak inside the Mare from NW to SE. The area around Tempe was dark in B. The npc was not so distinct in R.
  About ten hours later on
11 Feb (116Ls) from LCM=162W to LCM=206W, Mo at Hiroshima took several CCD images though they are not so stable: The area around Propontis I looks shadowy.
  PEACH (DPc) then acquired drawings on
13 Feb (117Ls) at LCM=288W and on 14 Feb (117Ls) at LCM=278W: Hellas was bright, and the npc was seen on the edge. S Sabus was clearly detected on the morning side. In the latter session, DPc used Wr38A which did not show the umbra Utopia. He alludes to the presence of Deltoton S, while we have had an opinion it has been long faded out.

  Several hours later, Don PARKER (DPk) made a Valentine day's observation at LCM=003W (at 117Ls) and a good images where S Sabus was near the evening terminator and to its north the ria evening mist exists. Near the following limb Chryse is quite misty. The npr has a white patch which is larger in R than in B and looks irregular. The central latitude=9.5N. The southern limb is covered by a dull white matter as if protruding.
  Finally on
15 Feb (117Ls), Hg took a Video image at LCM=153W in which the s limb looks weaker than the cases on the previous 6 Feb (different angles).

  We tentatively note that the images by DPk are all excellent while generally speaking few explicitly depicts the npc in the colour composites. One reason is because the tilt of the northern pole is going away, and hence the npc is too near the limb to be shot clearly, and another may possibly be because the images of the limb haze through the Blue light are sometimes unbalanced if compared with the images through the Red light. At any rate, the image of the npr of the colour composites looks different from the image through the naked eye. It is however unknown whether the Red light images of the npc through the German filter RG610 are right but incompatible with the B images of the limb hazes by the use of the Japanese made interference filter he recently uses (maybe the one called IDAS LRGB Type 2 produced by the ICAS Enterprises) or vice versa. However, the B image on 14 Feb (117Ls) at LCM=003W is not excessive and the R image shows a puzzled larger light patch in the npr than the supposed npc: If it were a white cloud it must have been shot thicker in B. So otherwise it might have been to prove a tentative frost or a local dust disturbance near the edge of the npc. Perhaps we need more images. We have DPk's images in 1999 to compare at the same season made on 30 Mar 1999 (117Ls) at LCM=090W, where the npc looked however quite normal.


he next issue shall review the observations made during a one-month period from 16 February (118Ls) to 15 March 2001 (131Ls). Note that our CMO Internet Web-Site has a Gallery Page where some new Mars images are flashed before our reviewing (that is, interesting images are posted on the Page as soon as they are received). We hope every CCD image is emailed in a jpg file with a file name beginning with the observer's name to vzv03210@nifty.ne.jp as well as to cmo@mars.dti.ne.jp. Drawings are preferred to be sent in an A4 sized format with just one drawing on one sheet.

Reports will be acknowledged if air-mailed to M MINAMI at Mikuni
(ask the mail-address through
vzv03210@nifty.com ) .

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