th Report:

The CMO/OAA Observations made during a fortnight period


16 September 2003 (262Ls)


30 September 2003 (270Ls)


An OAA Mars Section article to be published in CMO #280 (10 October 2003 issue)

Masatsugu MINAMI, Director of the OAA Mars Section

Japanese version here


e here review the fortnight period from 16 September 2003 to 30 September: The season was λ=262Ls on 16 September it reached the summer solstice (λ=270Ls) of the southern hemisphere on 29/30 September. The southern polar region was under most insolation. The apparent angular diameter δ was 23.4" on 16 September, it went down to 20.9" at the end of September. The phase angle ι increased from 16 to 25. The central latitude was near φ=19S ~ 20S.

 After opposition the planet seems to have lost the interest of the casual observers, while the Japanese observers looked more active though the seeing became slightly poorer than expected this period when Typhoon 15 stayed at the Pacific Ocean.



he total number of observers became down under 50, and those observers abroad who made double figured observations are Don PARKER (DPk), Chris PELLIER (CPl) and few, though still several important observations were made abroad. In Japan, they enjoyed the recovering weather in September though the seeing was generally poor. Especially Tohru IWASAKI (Iw), our Mars observer since 1984, became industrious.


AKUTSU, Tomio (Ak)  Tochigi, Japan

9 Sets of CCD Images (16, 17, 18 September 2003)

f/3332cm spec with a Bitran BJ-41L

ASADA, Tadashi (As) Munakata, Fukuoka, Japan

16 CCD Images (16, 17, 18 September 2003)

30cm SCT with a Panasonic NV-MX5000

BEISH, Jeffrey D (JBs) Lake Placid, FL, USA

1 Drawing (16 September 2003) 390, 59041cm F/6.9 spec

BENAVIDES, Rafael (RBn) Crdova, Espaa

6 CCD Images (17, 18, 22, 23 September 2003)

24cm SCT with a ToUcam

BIVER, Nicolas (NBv) Versailles, France

4 Colour Drawings (16, 21, 25, 26 September 2003)

70041cm speculum

near at the "Col de la Bonette", Alps

BUNGE, Robert (RBg) Bowie, MD, USA

2 Drawings (17, 26 September 2003)

48043cm F/7.8 spec/27015cm refr

CHAVEZ, Rolando (RCv) Powder Springs, GA, USA

1 CCD Image (21 September 2003)

20cm F/7 spec with a ToUcam


CRUSSAIRE, Daniel (DCr) Champigny-sur-Marne, France

5 Sets of CCD Images (17, 19 September 2003)

10cm Fluorite L with a Vesta Pro

DIJON, Jean (JDj) Sillans, Isre, France

6 CCD Images (16, 18, 20, 21 September 2003)

57cm spec (down to 20cm) with a KAF400 chip camera


3 CCD Images (16, 21, 26 September 2003)

f/2835cm SCT with a ToUcam

FRASSATI, Mario (MFr) Crescentino (VC), Italia

1 Drawing (17 September 2003) 40020cm SCT

GRAFTON, Edward A (EGf) Houston, TX, USA

1 Set of CCD Images (28 September 2003)

f/3535cm SCT with an ST-5C

HALL, George (GHl) Dallas, TX, USA

1 CCD Image (20 September 2003)

30cm SCT with a ToUcam

HANON, David (DHn) Ringgold, GA, USA

3 CCD Images (16, 17, 18 September 2003)

41cm spec with Sony VX-2000

IWASAKI, Tohru (Iw) KitaKyushu, Fukuoka, Japan

      28 Drawings (16, 18, 22, 23, 27, ~ 30 September 2003)

40021cm speculum

KARRER, Michael (MKr) St Radegund, sterreich

3 CCD Images (17, 21, 25 September 2003)

f/3518cm Meade Refraktor with a ToUcam

KOVACEVIC, Zlatko F (ZKv) Virovitica, Croatia

1 CCD Image (20 September 2003)

f/2020cm SCT with a ToUcam

KOWOLLIK, Silvia (SKw) Stuttgart, Deutchland

6 CCD Images (17, 19 September 2003)

18cm Starfire Refraktor with a ToUcam Pro

KUMAMORI, Teruaki (Km) Sakai, Osaka, Japan 

10 CCD Images (16, 18#, 26#, 28 September 2003)

f/8420cm Dall-Kirkham/f/3060cm Cass# with a ToUcam

#Sakai City Observatory


LAU, Patrick (PLa) Hong-Kong

2 Drawings (17, 19 September 2003) 30025cm Dobsonian

LAZZAROTTI, Paolo R (PLz) Massa,Toscana, Italia

3 Sets of CCD Images (19, 21, 22 September 2003)

         25cm F/40 DL-252 Planewton with Astromeccanica KC381

MASS MILLEIRO, Flix (FMr) La Cora, Galicia, Espaa

1 CCD Image (20 September 2003)

15cm refractor with a Quickcam 3000 pro

MELILLO, Frank J (FMl) Holtsville, NY, USA

  6 Red CCD Images (17, 22, 25, 30 September 2003)

20cm SCT with a Starlight Xpress MX5

MINAMI, Masatsugu (Mn) Fukui, Fukui, Japan

47 Drawings (16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 30 September 2003)

480, 40020cm F/12 ED Goto refractor

Fukui City Observatory, Fukui

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

17 Sets of CCD Images (16, 17, 22, 26, 27, 28 September 2003)

f/5025cm speculum equipped with an ST-5C

MURAKAMI, Masami (Mk) Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

      25 Drawings (16, ~19, 28, 30 September 2003)

320, 40020cm speculum

NAKAJIMA, Takashi (Nj) Fukui, Fukui, Japan

20 Drawings (16, 17, 22, 26, 28, 30 September 2003)

480, 40020cm F/12 ED Goto refractor

Fukui City Observatory, Fukui

NARITA, Hiroshi (Nr) Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

16 Drawings (16, ~19, 22, 23, 28 September 2003)

290, 40020cm refractor

NG, Eric (ENg) Hong Kong

1 Set of CCD Images (17 September 2003)

              f/3432cm Royce spec with ToUcam

OKANO, Kunihiko (Ok) Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan 

1 Set of CCD Images (18 September 2003)

31cm F/5 spec with an ST-7XME

OSA, Kanehiro (Oa) Nonoichi, Ishikawa, Japan 

1 Sets of CCD Images (28 September 2003)

15cm spec with a COOLPIX990

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

15 Sets of CCD Images (16, 19, 23, 27 September 2003)

f/55, 5941cm F/6 spec equipped with an ST-9XE

PARKER, Timothy J (TPk) LA, CA, USA

2 CCD Images (28 September 2003)

15cm Jgers Achromat with a ToUcam

PEACH, Damian A (DPc) Buckinghamshire, England

7 CCD Images (24, 25, 28 September 2003)

f/3128cm SCT with a ToUcam


PELLIER, Christophe (CPl) Bruz, Ille-et-Vilaine, France

14 Sets of CCD Images (16, ~20, 23, 25, 29 September 2003)

18cm spec with a modified B&W ToUcam Pro


Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Espaa

2 CCD Images (15/16 September 2003)

20cm SCT with a ToUcam

SNCHEZ, Jess R (JSc) Crdova, Espaa

4 Sets of CCD Images (18, 22, 27 September 2003)

f/5028cm SCT with a ToUcam

SHERROD, P Clay (CSr) Aso Sky Observatory, AR, USA

10 CCD images (17,~20, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29 September 2003)

f/3541cm SCT with a ToUcam Pro

SIEGEL, Elisabeth (ESg) Malling, Danmark

7 Drawings (16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29 September 2003)

27020cm F/10 SCT

TEICHERT, Grard (GTc) Hattstatt, France

2 Drawings (21, 29 September 2003) 33028cm SCT

TSUNEMACHI, Hitomi (Ts) Yokohama Fukui, Japan

10 Drawings (21, 22 September 2003)

480, 40020cm F/12 ED Goto refractor

Fukui City Observatory, Fukui   


VALIMBERTI, Maurice P (MVl) Melbourne, Australia

6 CCD Images (21, 22, 27, 29 September 2003)

f/3435cm SCT with a ToUcam Pro


Van Der VELDEN, Erwin (EVl) Brisbane, Australia

4 CCD Images (18, 22 September 2003)

f/3120cm SCT with a Vesta Pro modified

WALLER, Skip (SWl) Dallas, TX, USA

1 CCD Image (16 September 2003)

f/5025cm SCT (LX200) with a ToUcam Pro

WARELL, Johan (JWr) Tcuson, AZ, USA

       2 Drawings (18, 28 September 2003) 26025cm SCT (LX200)

11 Sets of CCD Images (17, 18, 21, 26, 27, 28, 30 September 2003)

f/2425cm SCT with a ToUcam

WILLIAMSON, Thomas E (TWs) Alburquerque, NM, USA

2 CCD Images (26, 29 September 2003)

f/5020cm spec with a ToUcam

ZANOTTI, Ferruccio (FZt) Ostellato (FE), Italia

1 Set of CCD Images (18 September 2003)

45cm spec with a ToUcam                



Most Impressives: Among a number of observations reported this period, the series produced by Don PARKER (DPk) on 27 Sept 2003 (λ=269Ls) at ω=082W ~ 114W (made of 6 sets of R, G, B images) was most impressive and important. Here was shown nicely reproduced the phenomenon of the de-concentration of the morning mist at a special area which was previously traced by Canon LAU (CLa) on 9 Sept 2003 (λ=257Ls) from ω=061W to 127W. The phase angle ι was 11 previously, while this time ι=24, and hence there was a local time difference of about one hour at the CM. So the image of CLa at ω=096W might correspond to DPks ω=114W: So we are led to conclude that the special de-concentration patch was therefore occurred at the same place. If it is located longitudinally at Ω=160W, the wine-coloured patch shown in CLas ω=096W image was located grossly speaking (calculated grossly in terms of ι) after dawn by one hour while the one on DPks image at ω=114W was after about 1:20 hrs. It might have been given rise to at this season because of a geographical and/or temperature gradient; it must be the place where the de-concentration of mist occurs more rapidly than the area outside. As shown by DPks images at preceding ω=096W the area was thickly covered by mist or frost namely one hour earlier; just after dawn. The roundish place itself which has an ability to show the curious de-concentration was shot by DPk on 23 Sept (λ=266Ls) at later times ω=138W, 151W, but already not shown there. The former was taken about 2 hrs 40 minutes after the sunrise at the local place. An intermediate situation was taken by SNCHEZ (JSc) on 18 Sept (λ=263Ls) at ω=120W; PELLIER (CPl)s images on 16 Sept (λ=262Ls) at ω=130W are also interesting. Note also that at the angles near DPks some images were given by GRAFTON (EGf) on 28 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=112W, and by WARELL (JWr) on 28 Sept at ω=129W as well as on 30 Sept (λ=271Ls) at ω=114W.


Morning Mist (Frost): The season proceeded and the water vapour moved much northwards, and the morning mist (or frost) now looked conspicuous as the phase angle increased. To the naked eyes, the morning side was largely covered by a white mist including frost, while the evening side was rather yellowish and quite different (eg: 18 Sept (λ=263Ls) at ω=340W and so on by the present writer (Mn)). Refer also to BIVER (NBv)s LtE in #279. DPks images on 16 Sept (λ=262Ls) at ω=198W~219W describe delicately an uneven expansion of the morning mist from M Tyrrhenum to Hellas before the rise of Syrtis Mj. There are several spots in M Tyrrhenum on which the distribution of mist is not uniform (note otherwise these DPks images show well the tip of the very morning Novus Mons as well as the varied theria dark patch (now patches? with two wings)). Another set of images which enhanced the morning mist at the similar place was taken by SHERROD (CSr) on 17 Sept (λ=262Ls) at ω=218W and so on. The morning white mist over Hellas (NW part) was also well observed at the end of the month. KUMAMORI (Km)s images on 28 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=225W ~287W also convey a complex situation.


Equatorial Band Mist?: The ccd expressions deeply depend on the image processing so that sometimes the judgement is forced to be ambivalent. However the image by HANON (DHn) on 18 Sept (λ=263Ls) at ω=185W looks to show there exists a weak white mist expansion inside the disk located to the north of M Cimmerium which may also be connected with the preceding white Tharsis region to the evening limb. The images by CSr made on 20 Sept (λ=264Ls) at ω=197W may also show the band mist. Also the previously cited images of DPk made on 27 Sept may convey a white mist around Tharsis near the CM. The white mist over the Equatorial Band (EB) is known to be conspicuous just before the northern hemisphere reaches the summer solstice. As once touched in CMO #200, after the spring equinox of the summer hemisphere, the warmed air mass comes down from the summer polar region, at the same time by receiving the Coriolis effect, towards the equatorial region, while since the equator loses the Coriolis force which makes a retardation of cooling, the air is more cooled down to make a condensation mist belt. So this is also possible to occur when the summer hemisphere is the southern. This time the atmosphere was so mingled with airborne dust, that the equator band might have been too critical to produce the thicker mist, but if the EB mist could have been well detected, it might have given a barometer to show how much the dust has been settled.


Wine-Coloured Grounds: The abundance of the white mist or cloud does not necessarily imply the cease of excess of airborne dust because the dusts are providing the nuclei needed in the formation of the vapour-condensation. However the decolouring of the yellow tinge or the uneven distribution of the white mists may imply the decay and/or lack of the airborne distribution of dust. In this sense it is interesting to observe the de-concentration of mist as well as to find the grounds which show the hue of wine colour. If we look through one by one the excellent series of images made by VALIMBERTI (MVl) on 21 Sept, 22 Sept, 27 Sept, and on 29 Sept, we are to be led to notice that the WE dark band at around 60S looks wine-coloured. In particular, the images on 27 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=227W & 241W show that the colour at M Chronium including Tiphys Fr is conspicuous. Kms images on 26 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=259W, and on 28 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=225W~287W also prove vividly this. The image by DOBBINS (TDb) on 26 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=123W also suggests that the phenomenon extended further eastwards, and it may be related with the occurrence of the de-concentration at the area around Solis L previously reported in #279. CPls B images on 25 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=028W & 038W also well give signs of this. The clearance of dust around the 60S band may indicate that the new dust disturbance from the spc or its perimeter has now been confined to no wider than quite the south circumpolar narrower region.


Thyle: Such a dark band as M Chronium proves to be conspicuous in brownish-wine-colour to the naked eyes, and sometime looks the darkest. On 28 Sept (λ=270Ls), the present writer (Mn) began to watch from ω=211W (and then at ω=221W, 230W, 240W, 250W, 269W and 279W), and he noticed from the outset that the southern perimeter of M Chronium is clearly shown, and Thyle to the south of it was rather bright. From ω=221W, the dark fringe of the spc looked denser. The area in Thyle corresponded to the one where BUDA (SBd) had once found a disturbance on 19 Aug (λ=244Ls) at ω=233W. The angular diameter was already not enough to see the details, but it was suspected that there was or had been an activity of disturbance. Chasing the area to the limb side (~ω=269W), we found the area became brighter like a frosted or clouded area: This phenomenon at the limb side was also seen previously on 26 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=239W~268W, as well as on 27 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=259W & 269W. The series of MORITA (Mo)s images on 27 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=254W~286W looks to confirm this. IWASAKI (Iw) also pointed out that Thyle looked clear and conspicuous on 27 Sept at ω=232W, as well as on 28 Sept at ω=233W. On 28 Sept, MURAKAMI (Mk) also observed eight times from ω=191W to 260W, and at around ω=230W he caught the complex aspect of Thyle together with the distinguished M Chronium.

We remark otherwise that when the western part of Thyle was located near the morning terminator, the place looked still yellowish as dusty as already alluded in the preceding issues (as shown on the images by MVl on 1 Sept (λ=252Ls) at ω=110W etc). See for example images by CPl on 16 Sept (λ=262Ls) at ω=128W~134W, those by KOWOLLIK (SKw) on 17 Sept (λ=263Ls) at ω=116W~131W. On 18 Sept (λ=263Ls), CPl also showed it at ω=099W and JSc at ω=100W & 120W and as well on 19 Sept (λ=264Ls), SKw at ω=090W & 095W and CPl at ω=099W & 109W and so on. We can similarly find other work showing the same phenomenon, but they prove it gradually became not so conspicuous.


 Ddalia: SIEGEL (ESg)s sketch made on 16 Sept (λ=262Ls) at ω=106W shows Araxes dark in addition to Phasis. The darkness of Araxes has been a special feature ob served this season, but we otherwise thought that Ddalia now began to be darker because of the turnover of the phase angle in reference to the geography. Otherwise the area has appeared so because of the usual de-concentration of the morning mist as is suggested by DPks images on 27 Sept as afore-cited. Here we cite one drawing (by ESg) and one ccd image (by SKw), both of which show Araxes darker as well as the dusty light matter at Thyle on the morning limb at the higher latitude .


 Eridania, Ausonia, Trinacria and Hellas: To the north of M Chronium, Eridania and Ausonia were bright in a yellowish/reddish tint. On the other hand Trinacria looked rather pale (26 Sept (λ=268Ls) et al). Previously in #279, we mentioned about a column of dusty colour from Trinacria to Hellas. This was also seen this time for example on the image by Km on 26 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=259W. Apparently its colour is quite different from Eridanias (this image by 60cm Cass clearly shows Xanthus). As to the colour of Trinacria, Iw paid attention and expressed on 27 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=252W that it looked pale standing. The afternoon Hellas was dusty bright at the NW corner, In the morning, it was covered by the white cloud/mist, but Mn observed the NW part turned bright at ω=258W on 26 Sept (ι=23), while NAKAJIMA (Nj) felt that the NW part was still whitish even at ω=283W on the same day. Yaonis R proved rather light.


 The South Polar Cap: The spc was regularly thawing, and it was seen totally inside the disk. Visually this time the spc on 17 Sept (λ=262Ls) sometimes looked off-white, while on 28 Sept (λ=270Ls), it looked very clear cut.

Thyles Mons, previously an interesting topic, has thawed away. Compare the Thyles Mons area on the image by MIYAZAKI (My) made on 2 Sept (λ=253Ls) at ω=136W with that of DPks on 23 Sept (λ=266Ls) at ω=138W. The remnant of the projection seems to still remain however (related with the disturbance in Thyle). Thyles Mons is located longitudinally at around Ω=150W, but there is another interesting peripheral lump of ice just on this side of Rima Angusta at around Ω=100W: PEACH (DPc)s images on 24 Sept (λ=267Ls) at ω=048W et al show a projection of the spc to the south of Solis L. This stretches upwards to Hypernotius Mons, and the ridge is shown at the right hand side of the spc on the image of LAZZALOTTI (PLz) on 19 Sept (λ=264Ls) at ω=094W; as well CPls image at ω=109W on the day also shows the part. Otherwise on KARREL (MKr)s image on 25 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=028W, the part appears rather weakly on the remote side of the Argenteus Mons ice lump. ESg also felt this complex on 21 Sept (λ=265Ls) at ω=056W. As is suggested by DPcs images, the perimeter of the spc was still pouring out the cascade of icy projections. It is interesting to remark that the spc described by DPk on 27 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=082W really seems to show several small ice fragments outside Argenteus Mons. GRAFTON (EGf)s image on 28 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=112W confirms similarly the aspect.


Novus Mons: Novus Mons, now at its final stage, was an object to be checked first at the Oceania-Asias eastern hemisphere. The season λ=262Ls was just the case where Mk took an image of Novus Mons in 1988 by the use of a 10cm Nikon refractor exposed on TP2415 (see CMO #116), and fortunately Mk this time was able to chase it on 16 Sept (λ=262Ls) from ω=331W to 013W, and also caught the sight on the following day. Visually also Iw observed it on 16 Sept and 18 Sept every 40 minutes, and Mn also chased it from 16 Sept to 18 Sept. As the CM came round to ω=030W, its beyond part became dull near the evening limb. The ccd imagers were also active: On 16 Sept, Km took it at ω=340W, 353W, ASADA (As) at ω=350W, Mo at ω=357W, and AKUTSU (Ak) at ω=014W and so on. On 17 Sept (λ=263Ls) Ak took from ω=334, Mo at ω=354W~017W, and Eric NG (ENg) at ω=005W. Novus Mons looked still brighter on the early afternoon side. On 18 Sept (λ=263Ls), Van der VELDEN (EVl) took it at ω=320W, Km at ω=332W, and OKANO (Ok) at ω=333W: The former described it white but the latter off-white. Visually Patrick LAU (PLa) in Hong-Kong detected a final stage on 19 Sept (λ=264Ls) at ω=032W. Novus Mons more inside on the images of MVl on 21 Sept (λ=265Ls) at ω=302W, as well as on 22 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=293W looks blurred though the images are good in general. EVls images at ω=287W, 299W on 22 Sept show it more clearly. The time was coming, and TSUNEMACHI (Ts) came down to Fukui to check it with Mn and Nj. Unfortunately the seeing was not so preferable, but we saw the faint Novus Mons on 22 Sept (λ=266Ls): Ts observed from ω=265W to 330W. The present writer (Mn)s chasing at Fukui of the faint trace of Novus Mons ended around on 26 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=288W, and 27 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=278W. It went to Europe and the drawing by BIVER (NBv) on 26 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=019W shows it on the evening side. Finally DPcs images on 28 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=351 & 002W show the remnant, while we should say it proved no whiteness. This depends on the resolution and the seeing, as well as on the image processing, but we should say we are led to the conclusion that Novus Mons ceased to exist at λ=269Ls this apparition. This is quite the same as in 1988 when we were also able to check it from Japan.


 The North Polar Hood: Since the season now reached the northern winter solstice, it might be interesting if we could catch well the behaviour of the nph. However since φ=20S it was hard in actuality. Around 17 Sept (λ=262Ls), the nph on the surface where S Sabus was seen was dull. Iw visually paid much attention to the behaviour of the nph, but could not well grasp the perimeter, though the core was considerably bright. On 22 Sept (λ=266Ls) Iw observed at ω=268W~277W and detected that the protruded part of the nph to the evening side showed a motion. The present writer (Mn) also saw the blurred protrusion of the nph to the preceding side on 27 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=269W~278W. The area corresponded to Utopia. Note however the earlier observations on the day made by MVl at ω=227W & 241W show rather that the nph burst up to the morning side. So we should say we should have observed more frequently at around ω=250W. The observations by Mo were also given on 27 Sept, but his first success in B was at ω=265W. His later work on the day also show the nph burst towards the evening side.

On 16 Sept (λ=262Ls) and 17 Sept, there was observed an interesting EW division by the nph fragment. The series of images by Mo on 17 Sept (λ=262Ls) up until ω=017W as well as ENgs image at ω=005W record the interesting activity. Otherwise, MKrs ccd images on 21 Sept (λ=265Ls) at ω=056W, NBvs drawing on 26 Sept (λ=268Ls) at ω=019W, and JScs image on 27 Sept (λ=269Ls) at ω=041W also show the similar angle and similar phenomenon related with the nph.

Among the ccd images, none can be found in particular that provides a particular protrusion this time also. We expect always any image of the nph at the surface where Propontis I is near the CM, but none until now. This season Propontis I (35N~40N) looked divided into two, but it is unknown whether it was because of a fallout of dust or it was casually caused by the dust behaviour of the nph. HALL (GHl)s image on 20 Sept (λ=264Ls) at ω=205W may suggest Propontis I recovered, but just 5 days before DPk produced a usual split image of Propontis I on 15 Sept (λ=261Ls) at ω=207W, and so we are not yet certain.



he next issue shall treat the observations made in the First Half of October 2003 from 1 October (λ=271Ls) to 15 October 2003 (λ=280Ls, δ=17.9").

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