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Martian dust storm

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20 years 6 months ago #1623 by albertw
Martian dust storm was created by albertw
Last time I looked at mars it was just a small murky disk with no detail whatsoever. But this may be of interest to those of you who fancy a late Martian challenge!

Cheers,
~Al


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BAA electronic circular No. 00127 www.britastro.org/
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Martian dust storm: Chryse-Argyre-Thaumasia

A regional dust storm has broken out on Mars. Dr Donald Parker (USA) writes
of his CCD images taken on December 13 (Ls = 315 degrees): "A significant dust
storm has arisen to cover Chryse, Erythraeum M., Aurorae Sinus, Candor, with
smaller clouds in northern Argyre and possibly Aram." On December 9-10 Chryse
and Candor were bright, especially in Parker's red light images, but no
definite obscurations were present. Typically storms in this region break out
in
eastern Valles Marineris or in southwest Chryse (classical SW Xanthe). Data
from
December 14-16 indicate a spreading of the dust to include part of Thaumasia.

Bad weather has plagued observational work in the UK throughout December to
date, but it can stated that CCD images by Michael Foulkes on December 5 show
the region to have been normal then, whilst images by Damian Peach on December
9 and drawings by the Director on December 15 show the longitude of Hellas to
be normal too. Visual work by Gianluigi Adamoli (Italy) on December 3 provides
further confirmation, as do drawings by Gerard Teichert (France) on December
7-9. (This shows the value of routine work, which far too many observers have
already abandoned!)

The seasonally latest planet-encircling dust storm known began at Ls = 311 in
1924 December, suggesting that the present event will not exceed large
regional status. The December 13 images recall a similar regional event in
1990
November.

Mars is well-placed for northern temperate observers, although good seeing
will be needed to identify features upon the small disk. From western Europe,
only the eastern end of the dust-affected region can be presently seen at the
morning terminator with the planet well past the meridian, but the storm
longitudes will be better placed for viewing later as they become visible over
the
evening limb.

Richard McKim,
Director, BAA Mars Section, 2003 December 16.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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