Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mars' Giant Impact Crater!

We finally had a break in the clouds last night.

The moon was shining brightly and the gusts in the breeze were enough to nudge the telescope.

Not optimum astronomy conditions, but I persevered.

The break in the clouds was brief.  Clouds started rolling in again about an hour after I had all of the equipment set up.

Just enough time to take a visual peek at Mars and then attach the imager to capture a few tens of thousands of frames of video.

I'm pretty happy that with the results.  I have never captured a full image of Hellas Planitia before.

Hellas Planitia is a huge meteorite impact  basin located in Mars' southern hemisphere. This landmark has an impact crater ring 1,400 miles (2,300 km) in diameter.  It is easily visible from Earth when Mars is not undergoing a huge planet encircling dust storm! 

This is what the Virtual Planet Atlas model predicts for Mars at last night's observing date and time.
Virtual Plant Atlas, Sept 22nd, 2018 at 0120 UTC
And here is the image that I captured.
Mars, Sept 22nd, 2018 at 0120 UTC
The impact basin is the oval shaped structure in the center of the lower half of the image.

Pretty neat, huh?


  1. 1400 miles across is HUGE. I wonder how big the meteorite itself was. Pretty neat image!

    1. I think it is really interesting that there is a volcano directly on the other side of Mars from this impact basin!

  2. I was contemplating its name and thought for sure that Hellas meant dark. But according to Wikipedia, Hellas is Greek for Greece. I didn't realize that.


Featured Post

More HyperStar Fun

Yes, more HyperStar fun! Thursday night, we finally had clear dark night. It was worthy of putting the HyperStar on the Cat. It was worthy o...

Popular Posts