again on my return from Southern Hemisphere
Hope you are
well.I have been worrying about your
health.Perhaps the blood in urine has
been diagnosed and it is no longer a concern; I do hope it is clear.
Just back this
weekend from New Zealand and
(On the way over, I read one of the books David Strauss had suggested, *The Japanese Today*, which I enjoyed
very much) The talks I gave about Mars in Christchurch and
seemed to be well received, but I was quite pressed professionally (psychiatric
consultant to a very busy unit for six weeks). Thus, though Mars was very high
in the sky from the far south, I didn't have much opportunity to view it
telescopically.I was with Alan Gilmore
and Pam Kilmarten one night on Mt.John,
and we were prepared to use the 0.6 meter telescope on Mars but the wind came
up just as the planet was rising and we had to close down.Finally I caught up with the Red Planet at
with the six-inch refractor at the Gifford Observatory in Wellington on
July 2, with Syrtis Major on the CM.The
South Polar Cap was large and bright --the dusky kernel in the middle of the
cap obvious.It looked just as Barnard
rendered it in the series of sketches he produced in 1894 and published in the
*Astrophysical Journal* in 1903. Hellas
appeared almost as bright as the cap: at the time I thought,
frost-covered.Perhaps the dust cloud of
which we've now been hearing had already developed by then, I am not yet
sure?I didn't have filters.That same night we did attempt to observe
Mars with a spectroscope à la William Huggins and Jules Janssen!
Now I'm back I'm
holding my breath that the dust subsides and we don't have a repeat of
dust storms aren't interesting but it would be a disappointment to have Mars so
large and be treated to nothing more than a citron-yellow ball.I have been granted the whole month of
September on the 36-inch refractor expressly for Mars observing but there will
be little point if nothing is visible.
forward to seeing you during spring 2004.
You will be very
busy with Mars now, however, so I will not impose further at this time.