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Posts Made By: Carlos E. Hernandez

October 24, 2002 01:46 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Planetary Observation and Sketching

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

To All Observers,

I would first like to thank Astromart for the creation of the Solar System Observing forum site on which we are able to dispense our experience for others to learn from.

I have been involved in solar system observation for nearly thirty years. My primary planets of interest (as many other observers) are Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Mars, in general, is a very difficult object to observe, especially when presenting a small apparent diameter (less than 7 arc-seconds). The albedo features (bright and dark areas and markings upon the surface (or even atmosphere)) are difficult to make out even under steady seeing conditions. An instrument with good (at least 1/4 wave) optics, solid mount, and a steady atmosphere are required to detect features upon the God Of War. I have attached an observation of Mars that I made during the last opposition (June 13, 2001) in color using a 4-inch (10-cm) Off-Axis Reflector. The colors upon this planet are very delicate and will be more diffuse if obscured by clouds and dust (not necessarily a dust storm). The observer must be very patient and train their eye for this planet in particular. Jupiter normally presents the opposite dilema as too many features are noted over the dark belts and bright zones with it's beautiful pastel colors. The Great Red Spot (GRS), unfortunately, is not always prominent but may now be darkening a bit and therefore easier to pick out. Sky and Telescope provides the approximate longitude (System II) of the GRS for the amateur to refer to. Saturn with it's magnificent ring system is probably everyone's favorite target. As some observers point out this is a treat for many novices as they gaze upon this celestial wonderf for the first time.

I primarily use graphite (2H to 6B) for my planetary renditions. I am experimenting with color pencil (Berol Prismacolor) for my observations as well. I congratulate you all on your efforts to record the planets as this is the est way to train the eye to detect faint detail. No one is expected in being a great artist as it is the effort to record what one observes that matters most. I look forward in more observers posting their respective observations on this forum in the future.

The best of luck to everyone in their observations.

Carlos E. Hernandez

October 29, 2002 08:58 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Experienced Planetary Observers

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your kind compliment on my planetary observing skills. I try to help other observers on matters of planetary observing as I have some experience on this subject. I myself am always learning new methods on observing the planets, even from novice planetary observers who bring with them skills from other disciplines. My drawings (observations) may be considered "highly skilled", but my purpose in posting them is for others to learn from them. No one should ever feel that their own observations are "worthless" because of a lack in artisitic ability. I always look forward in reviewing observations made by other amateurs. If my experience can help them become better planetary observers than I have accomplished something.

The best of luck in your own planetary observations.

Regards,
Carlos E. Hernandez

October 30, 2002 08:18 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Saturn Observation

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

I have attached a recent observation of Saturn made on October 29, 2002 (06:20 U.T.). Much detail was noted over the globe and rings (see description below). The skies were cooperating for me at this time. Any comments would be welcome.

Date (U.T.): October 29, 2002
Time (U.T.): 06:20
CM I 324.0, CM II 357.7, CM III 126.9
B (Saturnicentric latitude of the Earth): -26.2 degrees
Instrument: 9-inch (23-cm) F/13.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain
Magnification: 194x, 248x, 344x
Filter: Wratten 30 (Magenta)
Seeing (1-10): 7-8, Antoniadi (I-V): II
Transparency (1-6): 6 (Clear)

Globe:
South Polar Region (SPR): Appeared dark (3/10) with a central spot (2.5/10), but no other detail noted within.
South Temperate Zone (STZ): Appeared dusky to dull (4-5/10) with the southern half greenish in hue and the northern yellowish cream. No detail was noted within this region.
South Temperate Belt (STB): Appeared dusky (4/10) and thin, but no other detail noted within this region.
South Tropical Zone (STrZ): Appeared shaded to bright (6-7/10) with a thin, dull (5/10) band bisecting it.
South Equatorial Belt (SEB): Appeared dark (3/10) and broad (especially the portion preceding the CM), but no detail noted within.
Equatorial Zone (EZ): Appeared bright (7/10) with a thin, interrupted dull (5/10) band bisecting it. No other detail was noted within this region.

Rings:
Ring A: Appeared dusky (4/10) with Encke's Minima noted throughout, especially over the ansae.
Cassini Division: Prominent throughout, but no detail noted within it.
Ring B: The outer half appearing bright (7/10) and the inner half dull (5/10). No spoke activity noted at this time.
Ring C (Crepe): Appeared dull to shaded (5-6/10), especially notable across the EZ.

The best of luck in your own observations and imaging. May you all have clear and steady skies.

Regards,
Carlos E. Hernandez

November 1, 2002 01:43 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Planetary Templates

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

Russell points out different (and very useful) ways to produce planetary templates with and without the use of a computer. The time honored method of hand-drawn ellipses is viable but very time consuming and uneven lines may be produced in the process. The final template produced using a computer depends upon the software used (I personally use drawing software such a CorelDraw and Deneba Canvas) and the experience of the creator. Some people look down upon using templates as they feel this is "cheating" but the most important thing for the planetary observer is to accurately record what they observe. The accurate recording of faint planetary features (e.g. Saturn's faint bands) is more important than the ability of the observer to produce a rendering from scratch at the eyepiece. I have employed both methods for many years and have not noticed any difference except for a faster rendition with the use of a template. The difficulty has been primarily with Mars (changing phases) and Saturn (changing ring tilt). Jupiter does exhibit a minimal phase at quadrature (90 degree angle produced by Sun-Earth-Jupiter) which does not affect the final image (especially since Jupiter exhibits limb attenuation similar to the Sun's Wilson Effect).

I will be happy to provide any observer with copies of my templates (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) in PDF format. You may open them using Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 available on the Adobe web site (www.adobe.com).

Regards,
Carlos E. Hernandez

November 4, 2002 01:38 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Colored Saturn Observation

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

I have taken my monochrome observation of Saturn made on October 27, 2002 (06:20 UT) and added color to it according to notes taken at the time and color images of the planet obtained at the approximate period by Damian Peach (a noted planetary imager). The data for the observation is as previously sent. I hope that you like it and any comments are welcome. I hope to make more color observations of the planets in the future.

The best of luck to you all and may you have clear and steady skies.

Regards,
Carlos E. Hernandez

November 25, 2002 10:30 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

To Each His Own

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

The wonderful thing about the discussions on this forum is that they display much diversity in experience, instruments, and technique in the observation of the planets. We can all learn to become better planetary observers by the experience of others. I do not believe in a single type of instrument , eyepiece, or accessory that a planetary observer requires as this does not exist. The best instrument for planetary observation is the one that the observer owns. I assume that this instrument is at least diffraction limited which will allow the observer to resolve fine features on the surface (or atmosphere) of a planet. The observer must not skimp on the quality of the eyepiece as this component will magnify the image produced by the objective. We are very fortunate to have available so many types (or designs) of eyepieces and accessories to use with our instruments. In the past we were very limited, but still managed to produce excellent observations.

We should never get into a war on which is the best instrument, eyepiece (design), or accesory for observing the planets on this forum. There is no perfect system out there as I can state from personal experience. The most vital part of the equation in my opinion is the observer themselves which we are helping through our experiences on this forum.

I am very happy that any experience I may provide will help others better enjoy their own observations of the planets in the future.

Carlos

November 28, 2002 02:33 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Jupiter Observation

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

I have made my first observation of Jupiter on November 28, 2002 using my new custom 9-inch (23-cm) F/13.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain. Much detail was noted over the disk even though made under average seeing conditions (5-6/10). I hope to make many observations of Jupiter in the future, including sectional sketches and transit observations. I hope that you all enjoy my observation. Any comments are welcome on this observation.

Date (U.T.): November 28, 2002
Time (U.T.): 02:00
L1 006.6, L2 163.1, L3 327.1
Instrument: 9-inch (23-cm) F/13.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain
Magnification: 248x
Filters: None
Seeing (1-10): 5-6, Antoniadi (I-V): III
Transparency (1-6): 3-4 (Haze)

Notes:
South Polar Region (SPR): Appeared dusky (4/10) with no other detail noted.
South South Temperate Zone (SSTZ): Appeared shaded (6/10) and thin.
South South Temperate Belt (SSTB): Appeared dusky (4/10) with no other detail noted.
South Temperate Zone (STZ): Appeared bright (7/10) and thin with no other detail noted.
South Temperate Belt (STB): Appeared dark to dusky (3.5) with no other detail noted.
South Tropical Zone (STrZ): Appeared bright (7/10) with a very bright (8/10) oval noted adjacent to the SEB southern border following the CM.
South Equatorial Belt-South (SEB-S): Appeared dark (3/10) with condensations noted along the southern border.
South Equatorial Belt Zone (SEBZ): Appeared dull to bright (5-6.5/10) and thin.
South Equatorial Belt-North (SEB-N): Appeared dusky (4/10) with a dark (3/10) section over the CM.
Equatorial Zone (EZ): The southern half appeared bright (7/10) while the northern half was also bright with very bright (8/10) ovals adjacent to the southern border of the NEB.
North Equatorial Belt (NEB): Appeared dark (3/10) with very dark (2/10) blue festoons noted along the northern border and very dark (2/10) barges along the southern border.
North Tropical Zone (NTrZ): Appeared bright (7/10) with no other detail noted.
North Temperate Belt (NTB): Appeared dark to dusky (3/10) with thickened sections noted.
North Temperate Zone (NTZ): Appeared bright (7/10) with no other detail noted.
North Polar Region (NPR): Appeared dusky to dull (4-5/10) with a dark (3/10) condensation noted within.

The best of luck to your own observations and imaging.

Regards,
Carlos E. Hernandez

December 15, 2002 12:40 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Saturn Observation (12/15/2002)

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez


I would like to wish everyone the best of holidays and a Happy New Year. I have attached my latest observation of Saturn using a different instrument (8-inch F/5 Konus Newtonian reflector). I hope that you like it.

Date (U.T.): December 15, 2002
Time (U.T.): 02:20
CM1 270.4, CM2 231.4, CM3 304.0
B (Saturnicentric latitude of the Earth): -26.5
Instrument: 8-inch (20-cm) F/5 Konus Newtonian reflector
Magnification: 203x
Filter: None (IL)
Seeing (1-10): 5-6, Antoniadi (I-V): III
Transparency (1-6): 2-3 (Hazy)

Notes:
Globe:
South Polar Region (SPR): Appeared dusky to dark (3-4/10) without any other detail visible.
South South Temperate Zone (SSTZ): Appeared dull (5/10) and greenish in color.
South Temperate Zone (STZ): Appeared shaded (6/10) but no other detail visible within.
South Temperate Belt (STB): Appeared dusky (4/10) and thin.
South Tropical Zone (STrZ): Appeared bright (7/10) and no other detail noted within.
South Equatorial Belt (SEB): The southern half appeared dusky (4/10) whereas the northern half was dark (3/10).
Equatorial Zone (EZ): Appeared bright (7/10), but no other detail visible within.

Rings:
Ring A: Appeared dull (5/10), but the Encke minima (or division) was not visible at this time.
Ring B: Appeared bright (7/10) but no other detail visible within.
Ring C (Crepe): Appeared shaded (6/10), but no other detail visible within.

Carlos

January 9, 2003 10:36 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Jupiter Observation (01/07/03)

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

I have made an observation of Jupiter on January 7, 2003 (05:50 U.T.). Much detail was noted over the disk. I hope that you enjoy it. Any comments would be welcome. The best of luck in your own observations.


Date (U.T.): January 7, 2003
Time (U.T.): 05:50
L1 347.3, L2 197.5, L3 012.1
Instrument: 9-inch (23-cm) F/13.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain
Magnification: 248x and 352x
Filters (Wratten) 23A, 30, and 64
Seeing (1-10): 5-6 (moments of 7/10), Antoniadi (I-V): III
Transparency (1-6): 6

Transit Observation:
06: 05 U.T. L2 206.5 L3 021.2 DC Barge (Center of dark barge over NEB-N)

Remarks:
South Polar Region (SPR): Appears dusky (4/10) without other detail noted within.
South South South Temperate Zone (SSSTZ): Appears thin and shaded (6/10).
South South South Temperate Belt (SSSTB): Appears thin and dull (5/10).
South South Temperate Zone (SSTZ): Appears thin and shaded (6/10).
South Temperate Zone (STZ): Appears bright (7/10), but no other detail within.
South Temperate Belt (STB): Appears dark (3/10) whereas the preceding half appears deviated to the south and the following half is parallel to the rest of the belts.
South Tropical Zone (STrZ): Appears bright (7/10) containing a very bright bi-lobed oval (8/10) adjacent to the STB and another very bright (8/10) oval over the SEB-S.
South Equatorial Belt (SEB): Appears dark (3/10) with a bright (7/10) rift or zone visible within the SEB adjacent to it's southern border preceding the CM then bisecting the SEB following the CM. The southern border (SEB-S) appears dark to very dark (2.5/10) and irregular (or undulating) with possible condensations.
Equatorial Zone (EZ): Appears bright (7/10) containing a dull (5/10) Equatorial Band (EB) with northern and southern projections (appearing to connect to two prominent NEB-S festoons).
North Equatorial Belt (NEB): Appears dark to dusky (3-4/10). Two prominent festoons are noted along the southern border (NEB-S) preceding and following the CM. Two very dark (2/10) barges (or rods, small and large) are noted preceding the CM and another large, very dark (2/10) barge following the CM along the northern border (NEB-N).
North Tropical Zone (NTrZ): Appears bright (7/10), but without any detail noted within.
North Temperate Belt (NTB): Appears faded from previous apparitions (5-6/10 versus 3-4/10). The central portion being more prominent whereas the preceding and following ends appearing to disappear.
North Temperate Zone (NTZ): Appears bright (7/10), but no other detail noted within.
North Polar Region (NPR): Appears dusky (5/10) with dusky (4/10) condensations visible towards the following limb and a dusky (4/10) hood (or northern limb).

Regards,
Carlos E. Hernandez

January 27, 2003 04:39 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

SEB Revival

Posted By Carlos E. Hernandez

Some observers on this forum have mentioned an intensification or fading of certain belts over the disk of Jupiter. This is a phenomena that is cyclic at times, but mostly sporadic. One such example is the South Equatorial Belt (SEB) revival.

There have been 14 SEB revivals between the years 1919 and 1990 according to John Rogers in his encyclopedic work on Jupiter titled "The Giant Planet Jupiter" (recommended for die-hard planetary observers, although a little expensive). The SEB revival occurs when the SEB begins to fade over a period of a few months and remains faint between one to three years. The last SEB revival occurred in 1989 and lasted for approximately one year. The fading of the SEB is not always complete as a remnant of the belt can persist (northern or southern). I was fortunate to witness such a fading using large quality instruments (10" F/15 refractor and C14) between 1989 and 1990. The appearance of the planet for veteran Jupiter observers was very eerie as even small instruments normally show the two major equatorial belts (NEB and SEB). As the SEB begins to fade the Great Red Spot (GRS) intensifies to a dark (or "blood red") color. This gives the planet the appearance of a giant cyclops looking back at us. I have attached an observation of Jupiter made in 1990 showing the SEB fading compared to another observation made in 2001 when the SEB was prominent and the GRS faded.

The question of the fading of the Equatorial Belt (EB, or Band) within the Equatorial Zone (EZ) is a sporadic activity of this region of Jupiter. This belt (band) is usually composed of the southern projections of the blue festoons noted along the southern border of the NEB (NEB-S) combined with fragmentary dark sections within the EZ. The EB is enhanced when bright ovals are visible adjacent to it, especially over the northern half of the EZ. This belt is especially notable when festoon activity over the NEB-N is increased.

I hope that this small lesson helps to better understand the king of the planets.

Carlos