2001 Mars Observation Reports -- #18--


CMO Mars Observations

in the Second Half of November and the First Half of December 2001
from 16 November (273Ls) to 15 December 2001 (291Ls)
based on the article published in CMO #254 (25 December 2001))


Masatsugu MINAMI, Director of the OAA Mars Section


HE apparent diameter of Mars is decreasing, while the dark markings look comparatively apparent since the major dust cloud has dissipated. Furthermore the planet has become located much better in the sky seen from our hemisphere, so that our observable time has not run so short. This time we review the observations made during the period from


16 November 2001 (273Ls) to 15 December 2001 (291Ls)


during which the apparent diameter decreased from 8.0" to 6.8", while the apparent declination went up from -18 26' to -10 52'. The central latitude moved from 19S to 25S, and the southern hemisphere faces much toward us as in the coming 2003 case. The phase angle was however still big though it went down from 44 to 42.
  The great storm of Leonids we met on 18 November was really a memorable event: We were fortunate this year because we didn't need to worry about the red planet at the Leonid time.
  The planet Mars runs fast towards east, and it passed by the planet Uranus on 26 November. We hear TSUNEMACHI caught and watched the jade-greenish Uranus by moving the telescope from Mars a bit on 25 November.
  On 10 December we had the first snow at Fukui and Kanazawa. We heard they had a snowfall of 50cm in a night at Sapporo, Hokkaido. The first snow in Tokyo was on 21 December.


OWARD sunset the planet is near the meridian and its altitude is higher, and so Mars is still an observable figure though the apparent diameter is no longer preferable. Don PARKER (DPk)'s work this period was noteworthy and produced several important points. In our country, the Kwantoh district is seasonally endowed with clear skies so that MURAKAMI (Mk) and TSUNEMACHI (Ts) observed nearly two times more than the previous case. KUMAMORI (Km) also gave timely good images. A total of 281 observations were received just without data on 5 December.


AKUTSU, Tomio (Ak) Tochigi, Japan

10 Sets of CCD Images (23, 24, 25 November; 1 December 2001)

f/70 32cm speculum with a Teleris 2


ISHADOH, Hiroshi (Id) Naha, Okinawa, Japan

18 Drawings (17~20, 24, 26~29 November; 3, 4, 9 December 2001)

400, 530x 31cm speculum


KUMAMORI, Teruaki (Km) Sakai, Osaka, Japan

18 CCD Colour Images (20, 22~24 November; 4, 6~9, 12 December 2001)

60cm Cassegrain $ with a Sony TRV-900

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

6 CCD Images (17, 21 November; 1, 15 December 2001)

20cm SCT with a Starlight Xpress MX5


MINAMI, Masatsugu (Mn) Fukui, Japan

71 Drawings (19~24, 30 November; 1, 2, 11, 12 December 2001)

480, 400, 600x 20cm refractor*


MOORE, David M (DMr) Phnix, AZ, USA

1 Set of CCD Images (2 December 2001)

f/40 36cm Cassegrain with an Astrovid

MURAKAMI, Masami (Mk) Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan

29 Drawings (16, 19~25 November; 2, 9, 11 December 2001)

320x 20cm speculum / 300x 10cm ED refractor


NAKAJIMA, Takashi (Nj) Fukui, Japan

9 Drawings (23, 24 November 2001) 480, 400x 20cm refractor*


NARITA, Hiroshi (Nr) Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

12 Drawings (19, 21~23, 27~29 November 2001) 400x 20cm refractor


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

30 Sets of CCD Images (20/21, 21, 23, 25~27, 29 November; 2, 3, 8, 11, 12, 14 December 2001)

f/44 41cm Newtonian equipped with a Lynxx PC


TEICHERT, Grard (GTc) Hattstatt, France

4 Drawings (27, 28 November; 10, 13 December 2001) 330, 31028cm SCT


TSUNEMACHI, Hitomi (Ts) Yokohama, Japan

72 Drawings (16, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 29 November; 2, 3, 8~10, 12, 15 December 2001)

360x 12.5cm Fluorite refractor


VALIMBERTI, Maurice (MVl) Viewbank, Victoria, Australia

1 Set of CCD Images (21 November 2001) f/92 15cm refractor with a TC245 based camera


$ Sakai City Observatory

* Fukui City Observatory

LATTER Half of November - from Japan and Australia:


  On 16 November (273Ls, the apparent diameter=8.0") TSUNEMACHI (Ts) observed six times from LCM=263W (7:40 GMT) to 312W: Hellas was roundish white near the morning terminator until LCM=273W, and off-white at LCM=283W: Its size and brightness were moderate. The morning mist must be a condensate. Syrtis Mj was not definite. MURAKAMI (Mk) watched at LCM=271W, where Syrtis Mj was vague.
  On 17 November (274W), ISHADOH (
Id) observed at LCM=283W, 322W: The sky was fine, but the seeing was too poor to detect Syrtis Mj fully.
  On 18 November (274Ls),
Id did at LCM=278W where he felt the recovery of M Tyrrhenum.
  On 19 November (275Ls), the present writer (
Mn) observed eight times from LCM=219W (at 6:40 GMT) to LCM=287W (11:20 GMT). At Fukui the Sun set at 7:40 GMT and still the planet was before the meridian at 8:20GMT. Ts observed 6 times from LCM=234W (at 7:40 GMT) to LCM=283W (11:00 GMT). Mk did at LCM=241W, and Id at LCM=276W & 285W. Mn caught the western part of M Cimmerium quite dark and fat at LCM=219W/229W preceding the mist near the terminator. At the southern area, M Chronium was dark and the "continents" made a light belt. On the northern hemisphere, there was witnessed a vague stretch of dark markings near the Cerberus-Phlegra region, adjacent to the north polar hood (nph). The afternoon limb was hazy light. From LCM=239W, M Cimmerium was seen detached from the eastern arm of M Tyrrhenum. The west end of Hesperia looked like a mouth of the sperm-whale. At LCM=249W, Eridania and Ausonia were separated by Xanthus. At LCM=258W, the morning Hellas was whitish misted (seen through G filter). Syrtis Mj was inside but still faint even thru the O56 filter proving a stay of a condensate. At LCM=287W, Syrtis Mj was definite, in the shape similar to the one we saw in 1971. Hellas was round. Ausonia was white near the afternoon limb. The spc was definite. Ts did not see well Syrtis Mj, but caught the white morning aspect of Hellas. After LCM=263W, Ts saw Hellas slightly off-white but still could-be whitish. Mk's morning Hellas was light. Id watched at LCM=276W under good seeing: The spc was round and bright, but Hellas just slightly light.
  On 20 November (275Ls),
Mn observed from LCM=231W: The round continent near the CM was considerably bright. M Chronium was detached from the spc. At LCM=251W, M Tyrrhenum looked slightly greenish dark compared with the preceding M Cimmerium. The eastern arm of M Tyrrhenum was definite. Hellas was white thru G but looked visually creamy (thru Int). Mk observed at LCM=234W where the continent belt was lighter near the morning terminator, and the nph was strong declined to the evening side.
  On the day the seeing was better at Fukui until 17hJST, but the seeing was more durable at Sakai under a big High, and KUMAMORI (Km) produced a good image at LCM=244W (composite made of 102 Video frames). M Cimmerium is of the 1975 shape and the northern coast sends down several thorns, and the western spike is also apparent. Xanthus separates Eridania and Ausonia. There are white cloud/fog patches over Ausonia to Hellas. These are also apparent on the following image at LCM=253W. There seems to lie a dark band to the EW direction at theria . Id then observed at LCM=263W, where the afternoon limb was quite hazed, and at the morning side Syrtis Mj was under mist.

  On 21 November (276Ls),
Mn's observation at LCM=202W showed the dark west-end of M Cimmerium popped out from the terminator fog. At LCM=212W (the MORITA angle), a canal went down from the afternoon M Sirenum. Cerberus seemed present but Elysium was not evident. At LCM=222W, the desert to the north of M Cimmerium looked rather reddish. The morning mist/fog was also conspicuous at LCM=231W, and Eridania-Ausonia was bright. Watched upto LCM=263W. Ts observed at LCM=224W~263: A white haze was seen to the right (west) of the spc. At LCM=243W, the western part of M Cimmerium was dark. The nph was partially bright. Mk observed at LCM=222W when the seeing was good: The small spc was obvious. The continent belt was made of a chain of bright patches. On the day, VALIMBERTI (MVl) produced a set of good images at LCM=252W (10:16 GMT), whose angle was comparable with the one by Km on the preceding day. MVl's images (by 15cm refr) show the faint Hesperia and suggest a complex at theria . The simplified configuration in the southern high latitudes reminds us of the one in 1986.
  On 22 November (277Ls),
Ts observed from LCM=204W (7:40 GMT) to LCM=253W (11:00 GMT): The following neighbour of the spc was faded. The nph was conspicuous declined to the evening side. The afternoon limb was light. At LCM=233W, Eridania was light. Mk observed at LCM=212W, and Km at LCM=217W. Mn was from LCM=229W where Eridania-Ausonia was light and the western part of M Cimmerium was dark. At LCM=248W, the east of Eridania, now at the limb, was covered by a small white cloud. Observed until LCM=258W.
  On 23 November (277Ls),
Mn observed from LCM=180W (6:40 GMT) to 248W, Mk observed six times from LCM=190W to 241W, and NAKAJIMA (Nj) did from LCM=214W to 243W. It was hard to see the details, but there was a shadowy segment deep in the northern hemisphere. M Sirenum was quite dark in a tint of dark brown. At LCM=190W (7:20 GMT), a morning mist was there at the southern continent. Mk also pointed at a blue-whitish tinge. At LCM=199W, M Cimmerium was dense in general independent of the morning fog. The continent was dull. At LCM=238W & 248W, the eastern edge of the southern continent was covered by a white cloud. Mk separated Ausonia at LCM=241W. Km took images at LCM=208W (+214W), where the western part of M Sirenum was well described. The colour nuance inside the southern continent zone looks complexed. Scamander is seen. AKUTSU (Ak) produced images at LCM=210W, where the afternoon M Sirenum is definite, and the images suggest northern dark markings. Scamander is visible. At Fukui the Sun was concealed from the west mountain at 7:35 GMT.
  On 24 November (278Ls),
Mn started from 6:40 GMT: At LCM=170W, the area of Cerberus-Phlegra appeared shadowy. At LCM=180W, morning misted was Zephyria. At LCM=199W, the morning continent was fogged. M Cimmerium was already dark, and at LCM=219W, it was inside and followed by a morning mist. Observed till LCM=238W. On the day the depth of the spc looked shallow. At Fukui, Nj also observed from LCM=175W to 214W. Ak sent to us the images at LCM=180W & 192W, and in addition, the seven IR820 images from LCM=172W to 203W. Every image shows the afternoon limb very bright. The spc was not well shot. Mk observed LCM=180W~199W. M Sirenum was caught. Ts observed from LCM=185W to 233W: the spc was flat, and its preceding area was hazy. The nph was bright. At LCM=204W M Cimmerium looked rather deep green. Km observed at LCM=207W, and Id did at LCM=217W & 234W. The seeing was better and Id used 530x: The spc was bright but the perimeter was blurred. The southern continent was a light belt. Elysium was not evident. The nph was bright.
  On 25 November (279Ls),
Mk observed 8 times from LCM=151W to 219W: He checked the Ddalia dark band. At LCM=170W, the small round spc was definite. Mk thought the planet showed a ruddy intrinsic colour. M Sirenum and M Cimmerium were distinguished at LCM=189W. Ak took IR images from LCM=152W (6:08 GMT) to 174W (7:35 GMT). Ts observed 6 times from LCM=165W (7:00 GMT) to 223W (11:00 GMT): The spc was clearly seen though shallow. At LCM=175W, the eastern part of M Chronium was dark. At LCM=214W, the spc's morning neighbour was misty. It seems Scamander was caught.
Id) observed on 26 November (241Ls) at LCM=241W (12:50 GMT), and on 27 November (280Ls) at LCM=192W (10:10 GMT) & 204W. At LCM=192W, seeing being 6/10, the afternoon M Sirenum was checked. M Chronium was seen. The morning terminator was whitish misty. The nph was active. Id also observed on 28 November (281Ls) at LCM=189W, and on 29 November (281Ls) at LCM=177W. On 30 November (282Ls), Mn observed at LCM=133W~155W.
  Summing up, the details were hard to see, but the dark markings proved variously their presence implying that the atmosphere was quite clear from dust to the extent that even the high thin dust haze at the higher altitudes receded. The meteorological phenomena prove to have revived with a diurnal large frequency of temperature as judged from the activity of the morning mist/fog or frost. The
nph was also active.


Latter Part of November by Don PARKER (DPk):


  PARKER (DPk) was very active this period and productive.
  On 20 November (276Ls, the apparent diameter=7.8") at LCM=101W (23:59 GMT)
DPk shot clearly the dark singular patch near the CM at the Solis L area. As we measure, its latitudinal position occupies between 16S and 24S, and so it is located a bit northward from the classical Solis L. Coracis Portus or Pontica D is nearly at 46S, and so Thaumasia is normal however. The dark band at Ddalia running to M Sirenum reminds us of the irregularity seen in 1973.
  On 21 November (277Ls)
DPk observed at LCM=077W/081W where a trace of Tithonius L to Melas L is seen to the EN of the dark patch. Auror S is well dark. At the southern region, the Argyre area is light as well as Ogygis R, and the following area of the spc looks misty. In the north, Lun L and Nilokeras are a bit shown adjacent to the nph.

  On 23 November (278Ls) more excellent images were made at LCM=068W /070W. The area from Auror S to Melas-Tithonius L and also the area of Nilokeras-Lun L are described in detail. Ogygis R is bright in R, and maybe Nereidum Fr is seen, implying that the light-and-shade are more evident than before the outbreak of the major dust storm. The light-and-shade inside the dark markings must be due to a fallout from the lower atmosphere, showing however a clearing of the thin haze at the higher atmosphere.

  The images at LCM=044W (+046W) and 049W on 25 November (279Ls) are also excellent and the light/shade configurations of the markings are stable, though the images look immoderately processed. The dark band from M Serpentis to M Erythrum is conspicuous, and bounds the light region from Noachis to Argyre. The south of Margaritifer S looks withered. Niliacus L is visible adjacent to the nph. These images show clearly the morning mist patch at the Solis L area (due to the B images).
  The 26/27 November (280Ls) images at LCM=036W & 044W look slightly unstable, but well show the morning mist following Auror S. The morning side of the
spc is misty (the size of the spc is different in R & B).
  On 27 November (280Ls)
DPk produced at LCM=016W & 021W a good classical image of S Sabus and S Meridiani. The western part of Pandor Fr is obscure. The Noachis area to the south of the dark broad band running from M Serpentis to M Erythrum is reddish light. Edom is light as well as Aram.
  The images on 29 November (282Ls) at LCM=355W(+358W) & 002W show a detail of the dark band crossing Noachis; there being faint vertical shadowy segments crossing the light Noachis portion. S Meridiani is a la Antoniadi with two nails; the three successive images show beautifully how the first nail and then the second appear from the morning mist/fog. Edom is extraordinarily bright. The
spc is very round. M Serpentis looks well separated from S Sabus.
  Summing up,
DPk's images prove more clearly that the atmosphere has been cleaned as far as seen through R; and may be more transparent than the pre-storm time. The meteorology from night to morning looks recovered. Fallout from the lower atmosphere however shows still some withered areas inside the dark markings. The configurations of the dark markings left are rather classical. DPk's work during the present period is really noteworthy and precious.


The First Half of December:


  On 1 December (282Ls), Mn observed the surfaces of LCM=113W~142W, and Ak gave images of LCM=143W. Before the onset of the major storm, Solis L was seen large and dark at the preceding limb when LCM=113W, but the area now was vacant but followed by a new dark smaller patch. It was further followed by the Ddalia dark area and M Sirenum. To Int visual eyes they did not appear however so dense as on DPk's R images. Ak's images also mild. MELILLO (FMl) gave R images at LCM=325W & 340W, where Syrtis Mj and S Sabus are shown dark and deformed.
  On 2 December (283/284Ls), MOORE (
DMr) at Phnix took images at LCM=013W (at 01:20 GMT): S Meridiani is depicted comparatively dark, and the new band from M Serpentis to M Erythrum is quite dark (cf DMr's images at LCM=340W on 15 July (196Ls), reviewed CMO #248 p3073 line 18), and the area in Noachis to the south of the band is light. In Japan, Mk observed from LCM=091W (6:40 GMT) to 121W, and Mn also did from LCM=091W to 150W. First Auror S was seen dark, and the dark patch in question followed. Mk checked the dark patch. At LCM=111W, a vast morning mist along the terminator was seen. At LCM=140W, Ddalia-Claritas was shadowy. Ts observed at the same time from LCM=123W to 152W. She saw a small haze to the west of the spc. At LCM=133W, Ddalia was checked. In Florida, DPk started from 22:45 GMT, and produced good images at LCM=325W, 335W, 341W which show that the dark oblique band at Noachis starts from M Ionium. Deltoton S seems to have been unearthed. The western part of S Sabus is dark, but separated from M Serpentis. A faint band runs parallel to the north coast of S Sabus. Hellespontus and Yaonis Fr show some details, though unstable. the apparent diameter=7.3".
  On 3 December (284Ls),
Ts observed from LCM=103W (at 8:10 GMT) to 132W, where she pointed that the colour of the Solis L-Thaumasia region was more reddish than the following morning area: the latter being slightly whitish. The nph was bright declined to the evening side. Id observed at LCM=123W (9:30 GMT) where the spc was clear but smaller. He detected the dark patch to Ddalia. DPk got the first images at 23:01 GMT with LCM=319W (+321W), and then the images at 329W (+330W): These are also good and show a white Hellas with Zea L inside. The north of M Ionium is faded. Trinacria (Ausonia Borealis) is considerably light, and the dark M Tyrrhenum borders it and goes down thinly to Syrtis Mj. These aspects must have been so previously when we saw M Tyrrhenum looked detached from the following dark markings.
  On 4 December (284Ls),
Km took pictures at LCM=095W (8:19 GMT), and 111W: The area between Auror S and the dark patch is widely light. At LCM=111W, the Argyre area is light near the afternoon limb, and Ddalia is dark in the morning. Id observed at LCM=123W & 137W: The former was made at the same angle as the day before, but seeing turned better. The dark patch at the Solis L area was darker and the spc looked more clearly. Notable is that Id saw a light belt along to the north of M Sirenum and Ddalia bounded by the Valhalla faint band.
Km, using a 60 cm Cassegrain, produced images on 6 December (285Ls) at LCM=099W, and on 7 December (286Ls) at LCM=064W & 073W: the dark patch at Thaumasia is evident, and the light area near Argyre is reminiscent of DPk' preceding images.
  On 8 December (287Ls),
Km shot at LCM=044W (7:30 GMT) & 065W, where the Argyre area is light. Ts started also from LCM=044W and observed until LCM=083W. First Auror S was featured and then the dark patch near Solis L. The nph was strong from north to the evening side. The spc was obvious. At LCM=073W, the following neighbour of the spc is light.

  On the day (8/9 December), DPk worked from 22:51 GMT to 24:45 GMT and produced important images at LCM=267W (+270W), 273W, 285W, 293W (+295W): Syrtis Mj has returned to a slim figure, and furthermore the images suggest that Mris L and Nepenthes faintly revived after a long absence. As it was witnessed on 28 June (day 4 since the onset), there was occurred a bright local dust devil from the very morning at this area, and it was possible the devil caused a wiping of the sand mantle. The DPk images on 8/9 December provide further information: Hellas is round and whitish near the morning terminator, maybe covered with a ground fog /frost; Zea L being seen however. The preceding Eridania is also covered by a white cloud patch while Ausonia shows the light and reddish surface down to the northern Trinacria. Hesperia is evident and across it is shown a canal once so-rumoured Cerberus III.

  On 9 December (287Ls),
Mk observed at LCM=020W~039W, Km at LCM=028W, 038W, 050W, Ts at LCM=034W~063W, and Id at LCM=073W & 090W. At LCM=020W by Mk, Argyre was rather obscure. Margaritifer S was rather denser. On Km's images, S Meridiani is seen separated from the area of S Margaritifer. Argyre is rather whitish light. Ts noted that the afternoon northern limb was bright. A light zone from the upper Noachis to Argyre. Id observed that Auror S was dark, and the west of Argyre was light. The dark patch at the Solis L area was rather faint.
  On 10 December (288Ls),
Ts observed 6 times from LCM=024W to 073W: The dark markings were well caught though the details were hard to see. Margaritifer S was rather dark.
  On 11 December (289Ls), observing at LCM=000W before sunset at 3:30 JST:
Mk saw S Sabus and S Meridiani dark (though the shapes unknown), and Hellas was white near the afternoon limb. The nph was vast up to near the lower latitudes. Mn also started from LCM=000W and observed upto LCM=058W. The west of the spc was first dark. At LCM=039W, as the seeing improved, the spc very clear and round. The light zone from Noachis to Argyre was evident. The afternoon was limb light. Auror S came dark from the morning terminator. DPk gave first the images at 22:43 GMT, and produced the surfaces at LCM=237W (+239W) & 242W, where the whole of M Cimmerium is shot. Xanthus and Scamander bound Eridania which is light in a reddish surface colour. The morning area near Hellas looks covered by a ground fog. There is a dark area at theria .
  On 12 December (289/290Ls),
Mn started from 5:40 GMT (=14:40 JST), and observed from LCM=338W to 046W. The seeing was preferable at first: Hellas was slightly off-white. The southern part of Hellespontus is dark. At LCM=357W, S Sabus was definitely seen. At LCM=007W, the following border of Hellas looked sharp near the evening limb, and in the morning, Niliacus L was a bit seen. The morning terminator dull whitish. Compared with the clearness of the spc, the dark markings looked rather duller in general. At LCM=017W, Hellas was still off-white which was visible up until LCM=024W. Km gave images at LCM=019W, 028W: Hellas conspicuous near the afternoon limb. S Sabus (+ S Meridiani) was visible. DPk obtained images at LCM=225W, 235W: M Chronium was dark, and Eridania was light to the north of it. At LCM=233W, there is seen a vivid white patch in B at the morning area of the continent zone.
  On 13 December (290Ls), TEICHERT (
GTc) observed at LCM=136W (17:11 GMT).
  On 14 December (291Ls),
DPk shot at LCM=223W, (227W+) 228W: These are similar to the images on 12 December, but at LCM=225W, the morning white fog is not yet thick. The area of Cerberus is complex in R.
  On 15 December (291Ls),
Ts observed from LCM=325W (at 6:50 GMT) to 014W: Syrtis Mj was visible, but became faint near the afternoon side. S Sabus was caught. ria light. FMl observed at 22:22 GMT: the images at LCM=192W seem to show M Cimmerium.


he next report shall appear on 25 January 2002 and deal with the observations during a one-month period from 16 December 2001 (291Ls) to 15 January 2002 (310Ls).
  Getting close to the end of 2001, we would like to express our gratitude for great contributions we received this year,
wishing all to greet happily the New Year.

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

Back to CMO#254 Home Page / Back to Faade/ Back to the CMO Home Page