Keen to carry on observing Mars after a fantastic few nights in Cyprus, I excitedly watched the weather forecast. A fine sunny day with hot sunshine turned into a lovely clear evening. The sky turned from the pale blue of sunset to navy blue to black as the sun struggled to sink below the horizon

The warmth of the day could still be felt as I set up. It makes a pleasant change from the harsh bite of winter frosts. Although it was lovely to be outside, the problem with summer planets is that they are hugging the southern horizon. Mars is so low that I was practically on the front pavement in an effort to see over the house and distant treeline. I wondered if anyone would walk past and wonder why I had a telescope that looked like I was photographing a nearby house.

I was surprised to even get the picture below. Not only was the scope looking through the low sky crud, haze and atmospheric induced chromatic distortions; Mars kept on disappearing behind the far trees making this session a frustrating one. The picture below is the best of a bad bunch but was actually taken through a layer of thin cloud that robbed the fine contrast.

Mars 20160605_2224

Sinus Meridani looked very dark in comparison and contrasts sharply with the bright morning and southern polar clouds .

Saturn too remains very low in the sky. The picture of the moons was taken through thin cloud that slowly thickened into complete cloud cover. It was a treat to be observing in the long summer evenings even if the results are somewhat disappointing.

Saturn 20160605 copy