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Small Old Scope
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MARS 2020

Note:               Some of the images on this page are "clickable" and will open up as "full scale images" in a new tab.
                        Depending on the size of your monitor you may have to click again on this image to enlarge it.
                        All the images should respond favourably to the use of the "zoom" tool of your browser page if
                        you want to up the scale further!

Mars Compendium

The image above represents a compendium of seven of the best colour images from the 2020 Mars apparition.

In 2020 Mars only rose to about 48 degrees from where we lived, with the highest elevation of this planet only 2 degrees higher when we travelled further North at times.

Not only this, the weather was very poor for much of the time in 2020 so to complete a set of images of this resolution/detail was very satisfying – looking at them from the lower left upwards you will see that they represent Mars rotating to display all the different vistas.

Remember to click on the image above to see them at the maximum scale of your viewing screen - & again when the larger image page opens!

The image above was the final “puzzle-piece” in our quest to capture all the different views of Mars one can see on its’ globe.

We were very lucky as by the time we captured this view, Mars was beginning to rapidly shrink in apparent size as it moved further away from Earth, so along with the continuingly unhelpful weather it was a lucky scoop.

The dark feature face-on in this image (which resembles Africa) is Syrtis Major - & above this is the enormous (both in area & depth) impact crater Hellas with a lot of detail within it.

Remember to click the image above! 😊

Mars Compendium

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Before we captured the image with Syrtis Major front & centre we had captured the 6 sets of images above.

Each of these 6 sets shows the combined rgb image at the top of each column & the individual red, green & blue filters that make up the rgb below them.

Mars Dusty Comparisons

After we had captured the 7 images displaying all the “faces” of Mars the weather became so bad that it was very difficult to capture anything at all – as well as Mars appearing smaller as it got further & further away from planet Earth.

But as this was happenning a very large dust storm also commenced on Mars, spreading across a large section of the planet. The dust can be seen as the lighter colours obscuring much of the darker markings on Mars in these images, with the first image (left) showing how the enormous canyon-system of Valles Marineris became filled with dust!

Antoniadi Crater

One of the ways that amateur astronomers can verify details they pick up is to measure the position of them in their images using WinJUPOS software. Due to changes in the angle that Mars is viewed, where at different times more of the Northern or Southern hemispheres are visible…plus the altering of the features themselves due mainly to shifts in lighter material (dust, sand etc) changing the appearance of darker landmarks…identifying various features can be difficult - if they accord with the official latitudes & longitudes of any feature then they may be verified as such in amateur images: the above image  is an example of this exercise.

25th November 2020

The image above as well as the one below & the animated mono (black & white) image below are the same as those 3 grouped together further up displaying the huge dust storm that erupted late in the 2020 apparition.

16th November 2020

 

The above ir image displaying the late-season dust storm as a 2-image/frame animation, shows how the dust settling in Valles Marineris picks out this enormous canyon system very vividly – it is that vein-like network in lighter/brighter tones near the centre of the disk.

7th Novembe 2020

One of the images later in the apparition taken with the ASI462MC colour camera. On some nights we used both the mono & colour cameras alternatively & the same view of Mars might’ve been captured on more than one occasion, as this was. Because a slightly different view of Mars is presented every night, the feat mentioned before of capturing those 7 different vistas meant there were numerous times when the same view was shown – meaning we selected the ones that we felt were the “best” of each vista.

October 25th 2020

Above we see a 3-frame animation of a Mars blue filter image/capture – the blue filter does not usually reveal the dark markings with the same contrast as the red or green filters but is much better at displaying the clouds in the Martian atmosphere.

Red Channel

Like the blue channel above this one, here is a red filter animation where you can see that the dark markings on Mars are much more contrasted than the blue filter animation.

18th October2020

The image above & the next 6 are one of the reasons why we made it a quest to capture all the different vistas of Mars in high resolution during the 2020 apparition.

We show 7 vistas of Mars in the first compound image at the top of this page & they all overlap to certain extent (part of our “quest” also) so we used these 7 images to create annotated maps covering all of Mars.

 

We felt this was an advantage in certain ways over many on the internet so that fellow amateurs could identify numerous Martian features by displaying images similar to their own.

These “annotated maps” (along with the individual filter images) can all be clicked on to see them at the scale intended..!

13th October 2020

 

10th October 2020

 

9th October 2020

 

25th September 2020

 

13th September 2020

Annotated Mars

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9th September 2020

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The colour ASI462MC camera is very good at capturing infra-red images also with the appropriate filters – above we see one such image as well as a “normal” colour image from it.

4th September 2020

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As mentioned, on numerous nights we used both the colour & mono cameras: the above compares images from both cameras taken roughly one hour apart on the same night – we usually prefer to use the mono camera (on the left  here) but they are very similar & some might prefer the colour camera’s image in this instance! (on the right) 😊

 

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An infra-red image using an ir610nm filter & the mono camera ASI290MM.

 

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Another r-g-b image from the mono camera showing “The Eye of Mars” – see annotated map images further up.

 

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The green filter image from the r-g-b mono camera image above that, with the red filter image below

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More images (above & below) from the same night, but earlier…

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7th July 2020

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The image above (rgb colour) & the 3 individual filter images below (mono, black & white) were taken on July 7th 2020 when Mars was coming nearer to Earth but still distant & much less than its apparent size at opposition.

At opposition (October 13th in 2020) Mars was 22.4 arc-seconds in diameter viewed from Earth (written as 22.4”) but in these images it was only about half that apparent diameter (12.0”) which means its actual apparent size was just a bit more than ¼ the size that the disk appeared at opposition!

Sinus Meridiani on the right & Syrtis Major on the left are in view, but perhaps the most notable aspect of Mars here is the size of the South Polar Cap (SPC).– if you compare it to images further up the page you will see that as the year progresses this SPC shrinks as the Southern Hemisphere begins to warm up & the water-ice melts, while the solid carbon dioxide (dry ice) sublimates (turns to gas) into the Martian atmosphere.

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mars2020-07-07_18-29_r_dpm

mars2020-07-07_18-16_ir_dpm

4th June 2020

 mars2020-06-04_20-10_rgb_dpmW750

Going back earlier into the year this image of Mars was with an apparent diameter of 9.5” – you can see Syrtis Major on view & the SPC (South Polar Cap) is larger than the that in the images above this one.

A single frame from each of the red, green & blue filter videos as well as the stacks from each of the r, g & b captures are included.

28th May 2020

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A bit earlier in the year & apparition again slightly smaller still! Sinus Meridiani is the main feature displayed in this image.

16th May 2020

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Smaller & earlier again! 😊

A small (relatively) white cloud can be seen near the centre of the planet, with a large cap of ice on the SPC.

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The blue filter images in a little animation – remembering that the blue filter is best at revealing clouds on Mars usually.

4th May 2020

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At 7.8” Mars is getting really small this early in the apparition – at about 1/3 the size of when it was at opposition later in 2020, this image only covers about 1/9 the size on October 13th 2020!

Mare Cimmerium is on display here.

21st April 2020

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7.2” here with S. Meridiani front & centre.

8th April 2020

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6.7 arc-seconds in diameter here.

1st April 2020

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6.4” on this date.

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18th March 2020

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6.0” with Syrtis Major dominating the view here.

17th March 2020

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22nd February 2020

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8th February 2020

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5.0 arc-seconds here!

28th January 2020

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The above snippet from the capture video we took shows how Mars appeared onscreen before we processed it for the final image below – a tribute to the processing softwares we employed..! 😊

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The little animation above & the 2  images below when Mars was only 4.7” in apparent diameter.

Our earliest images of Mars for 2020 – the apparent diameter here was just over 1/5 the size at opposition which means (because the area of a disk is the radius of it squared) that Mars was about 23 or 24 times the size of this image at opposition – which explains why it is much easier to get good, detailed images around opposition..!

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