Last night the sky was finally somewhat clear while I was near my telescope and had time. Saturn was still way to low at reasonable hours, while Jupiter was already behind the rooftop and lets face it, I have captured plenty of Jupiters lately. So Mars it was.
As I mentioned, the sky wasn’t really clear. There weren’t a lot of clouds but there was lots of smoke. Where I live (eastern Holland) people have the strange habit of lighting huge ‘easter fires’ in order to celebrate … ehm… wood? But yeah the piles of wood can be over 10 meters high and the smoke covers half the country. Although setting stuff on fire is among my top 10 favorite things to do, last night I didn’t really like the smoke 😛
Nevertheless I captured my best shot of Mars so far. There is definately some texture visible and if you want it bad enough, you could distinguish a bright-ish spot on the bottom which is one of the ice caps. For reference I attached an image shot by someone around the same time (Mars is slightly rotated), but captured with better equipment. That is, a 250mm diameter telescope, a guided mount and a camera dedicaded for astrophotography.
I couldn’t get focus exactly right as I wanted to due to the poor seeing. Focussing with my telescope is a matter of slightly turning a knob, waiting for the image to stabilize, adjusting the mount to get Mars back into view, waiting again for the image to stabilize, see how good or bad the focus is and then adjust the knob again….. So it takes a while. Finally some Martian dude called Marvin made clear that I should stop spying on his planet (image below), so I went with the focus I had, shot a couple of videos and called it a night.
The first time I shot Mars, I got nothing but the orange blob below, so I’m pretty happy with my new best Mars 🙂
I went kind of nuts on the enhancement sliders during the processing of mars. So I re-edited the stacked image, but this time a little more subtle. The outcome is way better than the mars on top of this post. See for yourself: