LtE in CMO #282

From Elisabeth SIEGEL


@ . . . . . . . .Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 15:44:34 +0100

Subject: RE: Ephemeris from Nov


Dear Masatsugu,


Thank you very much for your mail concerning the ephemeris for Mars for November 2003 to January 2004. Unfortunately, however, something must be wrong or have gone wrong. When I visit the "Forthcoming" corner of the CMO-homepage, there is nothing newer than the old ephemeris for Sept.-October. And using the link in your mail, I also just get some very technical information about the flattening of Mars (- yes! not "flattering", which means something else. ......) - - Am I searching in the wrong place, or what?


I shall get back to you very soon, when this month reaches its end, with drawings and an accompanying e-mail. I hope you have better weather in Japan than we have in Denmark right now; for several days the evening sky have been totally overcast here, with no possibility of observing anything, be it Mars or any possible aurorae.


Best regards,



@ . . . . . . . .Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003 14:21:07 +0100

Subject: RE: Ephemeris from Nov


Dear Masatsugu,


Thank you so much for your very fast response. Concerning the ephemeris, I first used the link (...14.html) given in your mail, and it worked fine. I got the ephemeris and printed it out at once. Then I visited the CMO webpage in the "normal" way and checked "Forthcoming.." just to see if things had now changed. But there, (13) is still the latest on the list.


I'm telling you this because even though I don't understand much about computers, I am pretty sure that the fault cannot lie in my computer (the receiving side), but must be on the "sending side". In the picture gallery, the very newest picture from October 31 (- today!) appears without problems. I do believe that your webmaster must have made a mistake of some kind, not getting (14) on the index list in "Forthcoming". As you will understand, the problem is now solved - thanks to you! - on my part, personally, but I suspect that others may experience the same problem, perhaps without knowing it, in case they're not yet looking for a new ephemeris. So I thought you would like to know this.


I'll be writing back soon!


Best wishes,


@ . . . . . . . .Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 09:18:22 +0100

Subject: October drawings coming


Dear Masatsugu,


My Mars drawings from October should now be well on their way to you (sent on November 2). I ended up with 10 drawings in all from October. Towards the end of the month, the weather became - well, not bad, but not very conducive to making observations either: either the sky would be overcast all day and continue to be so after dark, or it would be nice and sunny during the day, but at dusk the clouds would roll in!


In Denmark, November is usually considered the worst month of the year, as far as weather is concerned. But this is not always fair. Yesterday evening (November 3rd) I managed to observe again for the first time since Oct. 26th, and this morning the sun is shining from a beautiful blue sky.


I hope all is well with you, and that you're still able to make plenty of great observations.


Best wishes,


@ . . . . . . . .Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 11:51:11 +0100

Subject: Observing "pleasures"


Dear Masatsugu,


Thank you very much for your "note of acknowledgement".  I tried the "Forthcoming" index again after having read your mail, and I am happy to tell you that now it works. Both (14) and (15) are there now. Not just via your link, but also by accessing the CMO homepage in the normal way. Maybe they just had difficulties crossing the Himalayas on their way to Denmark... (:-P)


My favourite observing time right now is about 18:30 local time. Before that, Mars is hidden behind a neighbour's trees, and I can just see it shine between their branches.


Last night (the evening of November 6th) I had another one of those now-typical "observing" experiences that can really drive me crazy: All day, the sky had been completely clear, sunshine from blue sky etc., and at the beginning of dusk it was still crystal clear, with a big moon rising. 


At 17:30 I brought out the telescope to cool off, so it could be ready for observation an hour later. Then we had dinner, and at 18:30 I went out - only to find a completely overcast sky, with not a single small hole in the clouds to peek through.


 I left the telescope outside, however, as a short period of cloudiness during the early evening is not unusual and sometimes changes again for the better.


 But at 20:00, the sky was still completely overcast, so I brought the telescope back inside the house and went upstairs to read a bedtime story to Mira. At 20:45, after having said good night to Mira, I just checked the sky - and now again, it was absolutely crystal clear. But the telescope was half-warm now and needed new time to cool off. This time, my favorite observing spot in my garden could no longer be used (trees again, but this time my own trees!), so I had to carry the telescope to a different spot in the garden, which is much farther from the house (actually you have to carry the 'scope all the way around the house to reach this place) and hence means much more tiring work for me - the telescope is big and heavy for me to carry around. And then I also had to move the two garden chairs that I use for Mars observations to this other part of the garden (one chair is for me to sit in while observing, the other serves as a table for pencil, paper, eraser and red flashlight). I then waited for half an hour, until I thought the telescope had cooled off, and finally went out to observe at 21:15 local time. Only to find... yes, you've guessed it. Now big, fluffy clouds were rushing in from the south, turning Mars on and off all the time. - I thought that perhaps this would only go on for a short while, and then the sky would clear up again (wishful thinking!), so I took a peek at Mars (seeing was fine, in spite of the fast-paced clouds!) and immediately saw that at least no global dust storm had yet hit - everything looked normal - and that there was a big, solid white cloud or mist over Hellas. But I hadn't got very far with my drawing when I realized that the clouds over Malling were there for good, they were just becoming bigger and denser.


 So, after about 10 minutes' "observation", all there was to do for me was to pack up all my stuff once again, carry the telescope all the way around the house once more to get it indoors, then go back out to get the two chairs and put THEM back in their proper place, etc.etc. etc.


Not a very fruitful way to spend an evening! I could have read the newspaper instead! - And during the last couple of weeks, there have been several evenings like that. Sometimes it demands a lot of patience to be a Mars observer...!


Best regards,


Elisabeth SIEGEL (Malling, Denmark)

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