September 1988


DATE            1988 AUG. 17
TIME            U.T. 02.30
LONGITUDE of CM. 281.6°
SEEING         II / III

Mars 1988 August 17th

This was a view of Mars obtained using the 18" reflector at the Conder Brow Observatory, near Lancaster.
Although the seeing was never first class the sky did at least stay clear throughout the night to permit nearly four hours continuous observation.  Four drawings were made (employing red, blue and yellow filters) and a total of 48 intensity estimates.
The drawing reproduced here was made in white light, and shows the most famous Martian feature, Syrtis Major, approaching the central meridian.  The circular pale area above it is the great depression, Hellas.  Note also the South Polar Cap, glittering white,and the dusky collar surrounding it.  This collar has faded greatly in recent weeks.  The re-emergence of the preceeding end of the Sinus Sabaeus (the dark line to the right of the drawing) was fully confirmed.  This had faded to invisibility in recent apparitions.
Through a large reflector the colours of Mars are accentuated, and are quite beautiful.  The dark "maria" were generally slate grey, though Syrtis Major was & warmer brown/grey.  The deserts range! through subtle shades of ochre, and Hellas was & full pink as it reached the centre of the disc.
The telescope itself is worth a mention.  Superbly mounted and fully driven (all work by David Greenwood) the 18 inch mirror was the largest ever made by the celebrated optician George With in the 1870s.  It belonged original Ly to Nathaniel Green, and was later in the keeping of Rev. T.E.R. Phillips - the greatest planetary observer of his day.  It is a joy and a privilege to use.

Rob Moseley


Drawn by V. Cooper

Date         1988 Jan 29th
Time         21h 30m to 22h 30m UT
Conditions  A little unsteady
Instrument  6" F/10 Reflector x240
Co-long      41.25 to 41.75

A large ring plain, 34 miles in diameter, but only partly recorded in my observation but showing along it's western wall which rises in places to 8,000 feet, an interesting tributary from Palas Epidemiarum displaying various changes of level.
In the future I intend to return to Capuanus and study it in much greater detail as I've found out that Capuanus is the only large crater with above average population of curious features ' called lunar domes, some of which can be seen in Capuanus in small telescopes.
Also to the north lies a mountain spur cut through by the great cleft Hesiodus.

I would be very interested to hear from anyone who attempts to study this area of the Moon.

The above is a very detailed map of;
Capuanus taken from H.P. Wilkins Moon Maps.

A Note From The Editor
For sometime I've been aware of little interest from you the general members of the society to make any attempt to contribute anything to this publication, may I remind, that any observation or article no matter how small will be greatly appreciated and will go a long way to producing a more balanced format and broader view of contents.
So don't just sit back and leave it to the regular few to do all the work, the time is now for you to get involved.

Ed. V. Cooper.

Members are reminded that the college observatory is open for use on Thursday evenings, during college term time.  Those interested in using the telescope, if the weather permits, it is advisable to ring beforehand to avoid disappointment.

Solar Observations

By Vaughan Cooper


Observer Vaughan Cooper

Date             2nd July 1988

Time             8h to 9h UT

Conditions     Fair with constant passing cloud

Instrument    6" Reflector x60

Rotation No.  1804

P=     -2.1

Bo=  +3.0

Lo=  002.6

Notes.  Fine detail of spot not clearly defined due to the unsteady atmosphere, passing cloud and telescope not driven.

Date          1st July 1988
Time          18h to 19h UT
Instrument  6 1/2in. Cooke
Conditions   Fair but a lot of passing cloud.
Solar projected image approx. 480mm
Observer   Vaughan Cooper

Date          5th July 1988
Time          17h to 18h  UT
Instrument 6 1/2in. Cooke
Conditions  Definition not very clear with a little turb.
Solar projected image approx. 480mm
Observer Vaughan Cooper

Solar Notes Vaughan Cooper
June 25th. Large spot visible on the eastern limb.

June 30th. The large spot visible on the 25th is now approaching the central meridian, also possible to see it easily with the naked eye with the correct degree of filtering, no drawing made.

July 1st.  Interesting to note that at mid-day I couldn't see the giant sunspot with the naked eye conditions a little hazy.
During the evening spent an hour making a detailed drawing of the active area with the 6 1/2in. Cooke refractor definition was fair with a little turbulence and constant passing cloud.  Whilst observing I noticed a lot more detail within the structure of the spot which couldn't be sharply seen so this fine detailing is missing from my drawing.
Naked eye sighting of the spot was noted again later during the evening.

July 2nd.   Whole disc observation made with my 5in. reflector, I noticed the fine structural detail within the spot had slightly changed. The spot was visible with the naked eye early in the morning and later in the evening but not at mid-day.

July 5th.   The giant spot has now broken up quite considerable since the July 1st. with the leading spot umbra reduced in size, surrounded by a complex penumbra whilst the following half of the group, the umbra has become so complex it's becoming very difficult to draw the detail accurately.

August 6th. and 7th. The active area recorded during early July has survived another solar synodic rotation of 27 days and now has just passed the central meridian. The spot has considerable reduced in size but may just be visible again in September.
The structure of the spot still shows the two principal spots with the leader still being larger of the two.

Interesting Astronomical Facts

The weight of the ascend and descend stages of America's Lunar Module devoid of all propellants or liquids of any kind would weigh on Earth 3,000 kg. and still the landing gear would be incapable of supporting the complete vehicle. Only on the surface of the Moon with 1/6th. Earth's gravity would the module landing gear support it's own weight.