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Yours truly

Mars  close  approach

Summer, 2003


    With Mars' closest approach in thousands of years, thousands of hours have been spent by astronomers trying to get detailed images of our near neighbor. Most of those astronomers have done a better job of imaging than I have, but here is my best to date. Captured from my light-polluted front yard in San Rafael, California. The southern polar ice cap is obvious at the lower right but no other detail is apparent. Scroll down for a more recent image.


 Date  2003-08-15.  

 Meade 8 inch LX200 scope at f/40  with Philips ToUcam Pro 

  PCVC 740K camera at prime focus. TeleVue 4x Powermate Barlow.


 1/100 sec exposures; 182 frames, 640x480 pixel, AVI sequence over approximately 

   30 seconds.


 The AVI sequence was opened in RegiStax and the automatic alignment, optimization,

   and stacking operations allowed to run to completion. The BMP final image was brought into

   MaxIm DL and split into R, G, and B components. The three frames were aligned and then recombined

   and brought into Photoshop for final adjustment and conversion to JPEG.


Len Nelson and I captured this image  from Sonoma, California on 17 August at 11:25 PM local time. The equipment was the 12.5 inch RC, with the 4x Powermate, for f/36. Other parameters were as given in the above table. South is to the right in this image. The dark spot at 7 o'clock is probably an artifact. The seeing was better than on the 15th, but clouds came in 30 minutes later and completely occluded the sky.

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