Thursday, April 11, 2019

Mars, Again!


A break in the clouds last night.

I took a vacation day from work so that I could stay out all night and revel under the sky with my telescope.

Clouds eventually came back with a vengeance, ending my astronomy session much sooner than I preferred, but not before I was able to capture some images of Mars.

This month marks the twelfth month since I registered my domain name, "," and started this simple astronomy blog.  It seems appropriate that this 52nd post on my blog (yes, 52 posts over the course of the year) features an image of Mars.

Mars, as seen from my backyard.

It's not a particularly special image of Mars, but I'm happy with it.  Mars is getting more and more difficult to image, especially compared to its glory at last year's opposition.

How does this image stack up against previous captures?

I added last night's capture to this comparison image.  All of the imaging parameters were kept the same across each capture.  Same telescope, same ZWO ASI224MC, same barlow, same backyard, same planet.

The "only" thing that has changed is Mars' position in its orbit around the sun with respect to ours.

Amazing, huh!?

Tiny Mars
I'm looking forward to Mars' next opposition, on October 13th, 2020.  😎


  1. Mars is shrinking indeed! I wonder what will you image between now and October 2020.

    1. I'm thinking that for starters, I need to image M87 again. It has been in the news alot lately.

  2. Has light pollution changed where you are? Is there a sensor, a reasonably affordable one, that can measure ambient light? And while I could look this up with Google, I may as well ask it here. What's the periodicity of Mars' orbit? That's quite the change (your image montage).

    1. To my highly calibrated eyes 😎, light pollution hasn't yet changed much here. We live under a Bortle Class 4 sky and I can still see some structure in the Milky Way on those rare cloudless and moonless nights. I've thought of getting a sky quality meter so I could keep an eye on the light pollution quantitatively. They're only about $120.

      Mars takes 687 days to go around the sun and it's orbit has an eccentricity of around 0.09. The difference in our angular velocity means the Earth is now speeding away from Mars at some fierce rate. In another few months, Mars will be on the other side of the sun will not be visible to us at all. 😢 The good news is that Mars and Earth make a close approach to each other every 2 (Earth) years and 50 days.


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