Mars in May 2016
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Mars Drawing On May 25, 2016
Mars will be as close to Earth as it is going to get during this opposition
on May 30th and already is near it's maximum size. This morning the
atmosphere was not the best as I tried to tease out the markings on the
planet.  Mars is not easy and it often  takes considerable work and
patience in seeing its details.
Mars On The Morning of May 29, 2016
The image of Mars through my telescope this morning was the best I have had yet
during this opposition.  Even through a few thin high clouds were overhead the
atmosphere was reasonably stable.  The North Pole Cap was small (7:00 o’clock
on the drawing) and not obvious. I was able to see Propontis against the vast
Amazonis desert but could not see any clouds marking the location of Olympus
Mons which is nearby. If the clouds had been present, I believe I could have seen
them.  I hope to get some additional nice views of Mars in the next couple of weeks
before it starts shrinking in size.
Snows of Mount Olympus
Night before last, I finally got a stable enough atmosphere to push my telescope on Mars
to 371x magnification. This was the first time this opposition that I have been able to
observe Mars at that power.  Since Olympus Mons (Latin for Mount Olympus) was at the
Central Meridian it was one of my targets.  Olympus Mons is a giant shield volcano that
is 2 ½ times the height of Mount Everest.  It was not until spacecraft visited Mars was it
recognized that it was a huge mountain.  Pre-spacecraft telescope observations identified
the area as Nix Olympica (Latin for Olympic Snow) due to the clouds that would form over
the volcano -- which was observed as a white spot.  I was able to tease out the clouds over
Mount Olympus during the better atmospheric periods at the time of the drawing.  In my
drawing you can see it as a whitish spot almost dead center on the planet.  Details are
labeled on the drawing.