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Mars showing Phobos & Deimos
#1
More with hope than confidence, I set up on Sunday night, 15th May 2016 to see if I could record the two moons of Mars; Phobos and Deimos. I expected Deimos to be fairly straightforward, lying some 60 arc secs from Mars but Phobos would only be 24 arc sec distant, bathed in the glare of the Martian disc. The seeing was very good and when the results came in, Deimos was unmistakable and I had a few grains of light as a promising candidate for Phobos. Smile
 
After much image processing and stretching of the data, I was able to get everything to “pop out” in one aligned/stacked frame, including 4 field stars. Cool
 
Taken with a Tak Mewlon 180 F12, TeleVue x2 PowerMate, Atik 414EX CCD camera, 20x4 sec exposures, 10:08pm AEST.
 
For the disc of Mars, I used a ZWO ASI224MC CMOS camera and overlaid the (re-sized) image over the grossly over-exposed Martian disc.
 
As usual ST3 provided the confirmation when I overlaid an ST3 screen capture and the plotted positions in ST3 precisely fitted the imaged positions. Smile
 
Cheers
 
Dennis


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#2
That is really impressive.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#3
Dennis,

Wow. It is amazing to me how faint they are. Explains why visually I've never been able to see them...
cheers,
Blake

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#4
(2017-11-28, 10:15 PM)blakesphere Wrote: Dennis,

Wow. It is amazing to me how faint they are. Explains why visually I've never been able to see them...

Hi Blake

It can be great fun chasing down these more unusual objects, but it also has its share of frustrations and here is where SkyTools has been extremely helpful. Examples are:
  • Showing the best date/time for Mars’ Satellite Elongations, in particular Phobos.
  • Showing the best date/time for Elongations of Mimas which is never far from the disc/rings of Saturn.
 
These are under the “Special Events” Tab.
 
Another feature is the accuracy of SkyTools. Smile

With such a small FOV of my ‘scope/camera, it is painful to be imaging at the incorrect time, or chasing an incorrectly calculated position. An example was when chasing the 9 brighter Satellites of Saturn, one of my other (popular) planetarium programs positioned Iapetus some 180 degrees out of position in its orbit. Had I arranged Saturn in the FOV to accommodate this “ghost” position, I would have missed it completely due to the small chip in my camera. Sad
 
With obstructed horizons, limited opportunities and the need to set up and tear down each night, it is good to start off with reliable data. I have previously checked predicted positions against data obtained from the JPL Horizons On-Line Ephemeris System, but no longer bother with this additional planning step as SkyTools has consistently plotted these objects accurately. Smile
 
Cheers
 
Dennis
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