I held a star party at the house last night for the Mars Opposition. Mars came as close as it gets for this orbit, and at 14 arc seconds was a pretty site through the big dob telescope we setup in the front yard. I love doing star parties as it brings our neighbors out for the evening, everyone turns their porch lights off and hangs out for a few hours looking up!

My thanks to Carol, Bob, Larry, Kevin, Dave, Jainhong, Mickie, Ismael and his son, Brandon and his Dad, Emily my daughter, Brice and his Emily, and the rest of the 20+ crowd that showed up. Traditionally, we astronomers log our nights observations for historical purposes. Here is last nights list of observations.

In order of appearance we observed:

The Moon! M-42 - Saw 5 in the trap! Running Man - cuz its nearby Jupiter - purdy bands Swimming! IO Ganymede Europa Callisto Venus WAS BRIGHT The Moon! Sirius - I Betelgeuse - like Regulus - stars! Mizar - Double! Polaris - Cuz we turned on the tracking and had to align. Mars - SWIMMING DOWN LOW... M41 - The Little Beehive The Moon! Pollux M35 - Moonwashed!!! M44 - BEEEZZZ Mars - Still swimming THE MOON! - OhhsnAwwz Mars - Did we just see the ice cap?

and then low in the dirt - SATURN and Titan nearby

Mars All Night - Swimming, but every now and then surface features throughout the night, and near zenith before breakdown we thought we were seeing a polar cap?

And that's my Mars Opposition Star Party report.

If you want to get in on the fun, we are having a Messier Marathon out at the Tierra Del Sol remote observing compound on March 24th.

Learn more here: http://sdaa.org/tds.htm

Ad Astra - jerry

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