29th June 2003 - 04:10

This is my first image of Mars. Mars is currently approaching extremely favourable viewing conditions. It reaches opposition on 27th August 2003 when it will be the closest it has been to the Earth for approximately 60,000 years. In this image it is 16 arcsecs in diameter and magnitude -1.4 by 27th August it will be 25 arcsecs in diameter and magnitude -2.9 Obtaining this image of Mars was very difficult. The planet is low on the horizon (very unsteady seeing conditions) and can only be viewed when the Sun is starting to rise (getting bright).

Technical details: Tal-2m + Philips TouCam Pro and Tal X2 Barlow + Baader IRB filter. 600 frames captured K3CCDTools. Brightness 40%, Gain 20%, 1/50sec, Gamma 0 - Best 200 stacked using Registax. Some final processing using wavelet adjustment 1,1,3,6,12,16 and resized X2. The final image had a blue 'halo' and this was corrected somewhat using Carsten Arnholm's AstroAlign program (see my links page).