Bolton Astronomical Society

Mars 2016
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Author:  DRatledge [ Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:38 am ]
Post subject:  Mars 2016

Had a go at imaging Mars last night (2nd June) at around 10-45. Its altitude was 13 degrees and its position straight over Manchester meant the image was bouncing. I used the ADC at maximum spacing and sure it cancelled out dispersion but it couldn't do anything about the bouncing!

I was amazed that the resulting image ended up round. Not sure what features they are on the planet but it looks like the polar cap must have melted away. It usually does when Mars is at its closest as it is also of course then closest to the Sun.

I selected the best (least worst) 10% of a 5000 frame video taken with a Microsoft LifeCam webcam on my trusty old C8.

mars-2june2016.jpg [ 51.48 KiB | Viewed 4451 times ]

Author:  DRatledge [ Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars 2016

You can watch the latest BAA Sky notes by Nick James here:-
Towards the end it covers how hopeless it is to image Mars this year so perhaps getting Mars reasonably round from Lancashire wasn't so bad after all.

Author:  DRatledge [ Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars 2016

Astronomy Now has a Mars Mapper which gives a simulated view of Mars for any date and time.
The features actually match up well - if you squint a bit!

mars-simulation.jpg [ 22.45 KiB | Viewed 4426 times ]

Author:  rwilkinson [ Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars 2016

I had a go at imaging Mars myself last night. I don't have any atmospheric dispersion-compensation, but the seeing was very good last night, due to the still air:
File comment: My image of Mars alongside the Mars Mapper graphic
mars_20160608_2216.png [ 171.77 KiB | Viewed 4586 times ]
Note that I've flipped the Mars Mapper image to put North at the top, to match my image.

I was using my Philips webcam (running in "colour-raw" mode) on my Celestron C8 fitted with a Parks Optics Barlow-lens (operating at around f/35). I collected a 300-frame .AVI file using wxAstroCapture and then stacked this in AutoStakkert and exported the .TIF into IRIS for wavelet processing.

Author:  rwilkinson [ Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars 2016

I was surprised to find that my first image-sequence (from 15 minutes earlier) gave a better result than the later one:
mars_20160608_2201.png [ 139.76 KiB | Viewed 4584 times ]
Usually it's the case that things get better as the night progresses (as the target gets higher in the sky, and the air-currents inside my optical tube settle down), but perhaps this time things were reversed as Mars moved into the warm air rising from my neighbours' roof?

Author:  DRatledge [ Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars 2016

Well done Ross. It looks like seeing is more important than dispersion. It needs a warm balmy night.

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