White clouds on Mars-April 6, 2014

Mars White Cloud

White clouds on Mars-April 6, 2014
White clouds on Mars-April 6, 2014

* Object Name: Mars
* Object Type: planet
* Location: La Fontasse (Tarn – France) N43.63 E2.35
* Date: April 6th 2014 21h40 UT
* Media: pencil HB + 2B, white drawing paper, scanned + colorized with PhotoPaint

As shown on the detailed view, I experimented the negative drawing with black pencil.
Just by inverting the image, I obtain quite the final result.
I just played with colour and contrast to make it “real”.
Next time I will try to make a negative drawing with blue pencil, to get directly the salmon colour of Mars…

NOTE : The pink colour is real, because of the lunar filter which adds a bluish-grayed hint
This filter provides more contrast and reduces the light intensity.

Conditions: humidity 60%, 12°C, no wind.
– Dobson Orion XT12 (305 x 1500mm => F/D 5)
– Eyepiece Televue Delos 4.5mm (mag x 330)
– Moon filter 1.25″

Excellent transparency and very good seing
Half Moon shining in Gemini

Because of the moonlight, the star party was dedicated to planetary observation.
So I decided to make my first sketch of Mars, as I only once could really see it with details last year.

For the first time I could distinctly see two dark zones : one butterfly shaped (right) and one banana shaped (left)
The sky was good enough to expect to see the north polar ice cap.
I actually saw a scattered brighter spot on the upper part of the disk.
As you never know the orientation of an object in your eyepiece, I decided this was the north pole ice cap of Mars.

Back home, while looking for the name of the dark zones (Acidalia Planitia & Meridiani Planum), I discovered that the north pole was on the right side of the disk.
So, what was this white spot ???
I found the explanation from a recent photo of Mars, on spaceweathergallery.com, showing a white cloud storm, in the same area.

This is how I discovered my new speciality: meteorologist of Mars ! 🙂

Thanks for your interest.
Jean-Marc Saliou
APAM astro club – France

2 thoughts on “Mars White Cloud”

  1. Hello Jean-Marc, nice to see a lovely sketch from you. The inverted method is here difficult but you suceed!
    We all hope to have another serie of nice nights to immortalize Mars. Thank you to post this interesting sketch and the related story!

Leave a Reply