Friday, April 27, 2012

Picturing Mars

One of the perks of volunteering as a telescope operator at the Chabot Space and Science Center is, obviously, the telescopes. In particular, I work Saturday nights, and this particular Saturday night (21 April 2012) I was working with Rachael, the 20inch refractor. The moon was close to new, and Mars was high in the sky. It was about as good a night as any for viewing Mars, so once we kicked the last of our visitors out (around 11:00pm that night) I took over the telescope for myself. Woohoo!
The short story--after an hour of fiddling with adapters, experimenting with exposures, and collecting images; and another hour at home processing the collected data into an image, I came up with this result:
Mars through the 20" refractor at Chabot Space and Science Center.
Pretty nice, eh? You can see significant color variation on the surface, and even hints of a polar ice cap just to the right of the top edge.