Jan 292010

Hi there,

finally: My first mars image of the season 2009/2010, captured shortly before opposition. Weather has been the worst I can imagine since I image the planets this winter, snow, rain, clouds… Finally a night with clear skies on the 26th. I could only image from my patio this time that had to be cleaned from a lot of snow, meaning that I could only image mars a few hours before culmination. Temperatures reached -16°C at 23:00 when I stopped imaging, frosty!
Seeing looked good at first glance, the image was quite stable and not moving a lot. Unfortunately the image was quite fuzzy and lacked definition, most likely caused by the cold front that passed shortly before. Another drawback was the damage of my motor focusser that happened when I took the C11 out of its crate. I didn’t notice the non-functionality of the device until I tried to focus the camera image – too late for fixing it so I had to focus manually.

I don’t like IR-RGB image composites but in this case it was the only way to obtain a reasonable sharp color image. The IR image suffered the less from seeing, the red capture is already showing way less details illustrating the seeing quality very well.

A distinct haze is visible north of the Tharsis region over Tempe and Arcadia.

Weather forecasts are very disappointing for the next days, I hope to get some more mars captures shortly after opposition…

Cheers, Oliver