LtE in CMO #248,249

From David M MOORE

@. . . . . Masatsugu; We have not conversed before, though I know of you through Don Parker and now with these dust storm communications.  It is a pleasure to write to you.  I am going to include three image sets I have taken of the dust storm on "our side of the world over the past week.  I live in Arizona, and while we are known for lots of clear, dark skies, good seeing is not one of the qualities. I do not have near the quality of seeing Don Parker does in

Florida.  Also, it is now our rainy season too.

 My current mode of imaging is by video and digitized into computer. There is some definition lost with this type medium.  I also have a HX-5 CCD camera, but the download is so slow I have opted not to use it until Starlight Express sends me a USB kit, within the next week I hope.  Still, I get better results on many nights with video when the seeing is poor.  I had been using an automatic stacking program until several days ago when I switched to manual stacking.  You can really see the difference and I apologize for the quality of the first series of images I am sending. Still, I feel these images are of great value and hope you find them useful.

    Thank you for keeping us all informed on the current dust storm events! Yes, by the way, digital image processing is still more art form than science.  Everyone has, like a fingerprint, their own individual form of processing.


(12 July 2001 email)


@. . . . . . . . .Mars - July 15, 2001: This is a little late.  I had Reserve duty this past weekend. Seeing conditions typical for Monsoon, not the best, but better than with low humidity.

Albedos on Mars are weak with the deserts on the CM quite bright in R and IR.  NPH still strong. With Temps increasing on Mars as reported by NASA, JPL etc., will the NPH dissipate, get stronger, or be unaffected?


(17 July 2001 email)


@. . . . . . . . .Mars - July 18, 2001: Looks like I am finally getting a handle on processing digital video! Too bad.  I just received my USB port for the HX-5.  Just waiting on Fabio at AstroArt to get the software out.  Hint, hint Fabio!

    Images in the R and IR seem to indicate a bit more ground penetration. Perhaps the dust is settling in this area of Mars.  Sinus Sabaeus appears much more visible tonight in the IR then the image of the 15th.  NPH appears larger and brighter than the 15th as well.


(18 July 2001 email)


@. . . . . . . . Masatsugu: Thank you for your kind remarks.

Yes there are some strange things going on in this region! I was too tired last night to image, but will be out tonight, weather permitting.  Syrtis Major will be on the CM tonight, and that is imaging Mars well past my CM.  I fear this may be the last night for me to image this area. I will be using my still camera tonight as my USB port arrived.  This will allow for fast downloads.  Hopefully it will give better results than with video.  If the seeing is poor, I will switch back to video.

It appears Don did miss the area.  This is how it will present itself to me tonight.  Still, it shows the beauty of the Parker/Moore combo.  Don images earlier, plus there is a two hour time difference.  I image late when I get home from work.  This gives us good coverage.  Others in between us, who are not as prolific of observers, fill in when we can't.


(19 July 2001 email)


@. . . . . . . . .Masatsugu: The seeing was too poor to get images last night.  I waited till local mid-night to get a shot.  Mars was over two hours past the CM and too low at my latitude for further imaging.  Sorry.

 On the monitor I was able to see a portion of Meridiani Sinus or so it appeared.


(20 July 2001 email)


@. . . . . .Mars - July 22, 2001: A large T-Storm to the South threw up some "blow -off" in my direction resulting in some bumpy seeing.  I had a smaller F/ratio tonight as my 3x Barlow was being used in conjunction w/ the HX-5. These are full sized images.  Despite these problems, this set turned out pretty well.  Not real sharp, but features are seen through the Martian dust and terrestrial bad seeing.

  Visually through my 125mm ETX at 380 x , Mars was virtually featureless w/o a filter.  At the monitor when comparing last months video with now, all features (except the NPH and S limb hazes) are far dimmer than last month. The storm may be over, but the settling of dust continues.


(22 July 2001 email)


@ . . . . . . . Subject: Mars - July 27, 2001: Though the skies were clear, some fast, rippled seeing prevailed.  Hence images are a bit soft, but still accurately represents how Mars appeared last evening.  Time I get home from work in the evening, Mars is now well past the CM, so am handicapped.  I go back to days next week, so will be able to image with Mars at the CM.

  Took some HX-5 images as well, but they were not as good. Thanks

(27 July 2001 email)


@ . . . . . . . Subject: Mars IR, August 03, 2001 Was able to get a shot through a small break in the Monsoon clouds.

Been socked in cloud-wise for a week. Seeing was a bit turbulent, though still tolerable. Thanks

(4 August 2001 email)


@ . . . . . . . Subject: Mars - August 05, 06, 2001: Finally got to process these from two night efforts with so-so results. I included the lone IR image from the 05th next to the 06th's IR image. There was not one feature on Mars dark enough to manually align to, so had to use Astrostack.  It skewed several of the images, but is still a fair representation of what was visible these two evenings. This is an incredible storm. Thanks

(8 August 2001 email)


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