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MARS

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Mars was the subject of our 10th episode of Galactic Hunter!

Despite being pretty small through a telescope, it is one of the best planets to photograph!

Just like Saturn, Jupiter, and some other planets, Mars can be seen very easily from pretty much anywhere in the world. Light pollution does not matter one bit, so we observed and imaged the planet from a parking lot not far from our apartment.


Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun, and its diameter is almost twice as small as Earth, but the length of a year twice as long. Mars has two tiny moons with scary names: Phobos (meaning FEAR) and Deimos (meaning PANIC).


Below you can find all our photos of the planet taken over the years. Some are even with and without the insane dust storm of 2018. As you can see, there is a huge difference in details and overall quality.


 

Mars and Green Comet Mosaic

February 10, 2023


This is officially our first-ever mosaic! This 2-panel mosaic shows the red planet and the Green Comet as it flew past it on February 10, 2023. Of course, the comet did not "fly past" the actual planet, but from our point of view on Earth, this was its closest visual approach to Mars.


Las Vegas was cloudy that night, so we used our remote telescope at Utah Desert Remote Observatories to capture this shot, and are very happy with the results.


The exact designation of this "Green Comet" is C/2022 E3 ZTF and was one of the best comets in recent years for northern hemisphere observers.


Because of the two panels, and the three different filters used (R, G, B), the processing was long and difficult, but the end result was worth it!


Click the image for the high-resolution version!

Mars and green comet mosaic astrophotography

GEAR USED:

Camera: QHY600M

Telescope: Stellarvue SVX130

Mount: 10Micron GM1000 HPS

Accessories: Moonlite Nitecrawler focuser / Pegasus Astro Ultimate Powerbox

Processing: Pixinsight, final touches in Lightroom and Topaz Suite

ACQUISITION DETAILS:

Total Exposure Time: 18 minutes for each panel

Exposure Time per frame: 30 seconds

Gain: 56


 

Mars taken with a planetary camera from the backyard - September 2020

September 4th, 2020, Las Vegas


In five years of doing Astrophotography, this was our first time attempting to capture the planet with a dedicated astro camera!

Using our 8" Astrograph and the QHY462C planetary camera, we imaged Mars from the backyard and even made a video about it, which you can watch on YouTube ! We also image Saturn, the Moon, and Jupiter in the same night.


The result below is not great, especially because we didn't really know what we were doing and the planet was very low, but it's a first!


Mars with a planetary camera

Watch our video below!



 

Mars with and without apparent dust storm - May 2016 vs July 2018


Single shot of Mars taken in May 2016 (left) and July 2018 (right)


GEAR USED:

Telescope: 8" Newtonian

Processing: Lightroom


The photo on the left was taken in May 2016. It was our very first image of the red planet and we were pretty excited! 2 years later, we decided to make an episode on YouTube about photographing Mars. It was supposed to be perfect as the planet was during opposition, but sadly, it had zero detail visible because of an insane dust storm going on all over the red planet.


We talk more about the dust storm in the video below and even show you a clip of the storm as seen from one of NASA's rover on the surface of Mars!



 

YOUR IMAGES

Below are the photos we received from you guys!

From lef to right:

Astrotreff - Thomas Young - Sergio Goncalves Silva - Soren Jensen - Gibran Pierluissi - Jason Smith - Eric Wickey


 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Mars, along with Saturn and Jupiter, is one of the best planets to observe and photograph. We do not have great planetary equipment, but we plan to get a much better picture of the rocky planet whenever we are able to and update this post.


Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter

2,714 views3 comments

3 Comments


Richard Elkins
Richard Elkins
Apr 05, 2018

Oh, just saw the Atlas EQ-G motorized Mount. Oops.

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@Richard This was I believe around 1/20th to 1/5th of a second for the exposure time. The tripod we used was the Atlas EQ-G from Orion, and yes it is computerized, but this does not actually matter at all when photographing planets as the exposure needs to be extremely short anyway!

Our telescope is mostly for Deep sky objects so yes, we could upgrade in the future for something more planetary-focused :)

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Richard Elkins
Richard Elkins
Apr 05, 2018

I have zero astrophotography experience.

A 203mm aperture should collect a lot of light. How long of an exposure were you using for the planetary images?

You said "do not have great planetary equipment". Do you mean that it could be upgraded or use a different scope?

What sort of base or tripod did you use? Computer-controlled to allow long exposure?


Thanks!


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