Apparition of Mars 2005
Below are images of Mars taken during the 2005 Apparition, with the latest at the top.

All images were taken with an Orion Optics 200mm SPX F8 Newtonian reflector (8-inch) unless otherwise stated. This telescope is ideal for planetary imaging due to the long focal length and resulting small secondary mirror, giving high contrast images. Additionally, the longer the focal length the easier it becomes to accurately collimate the optics, which then stay in collimation for much longer. Another advantage is the large 11mm 'sweet spot' of an F8 reflector. This is the area where the off-axis coma has negligible effect even at high magnifications. One downside of this telescope is the very long tube which is easily shaken by the breeze.

Since 22nd October, I have been using an ATIK ATK-1HS monochrome air cooled astronomical CCD camera. This is basically a cooled version of the Toucam Pro webcam without the colour filters. This allows me to use separate colour filters which are plugged into a drawer unit attached to the camera. I use RGB filters from Astronomik, and also an IR filter (742nm) from the same manufacturer. Typically, Mars imagers use seperate red, green and blue filters and combine the separate images into a resulting colour image. It is also common practice to replace the red with an infra-red (IR) filter. Before this, I used a regular Toucam Pro II webcam with an IR-Blocker filter. It is important to use an IR blocking filter with a colour webcam to prevent the IR light 'bleeding' into all three of the colour channels. I purchased my kit from Modern Astronomy, the proprietor Bernard Karpinski is extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

19 November 2005
18 November 2005
17 November 2005
15 November 2005
09 November 2005
03 November 2005
29 October 2005
22/23 October 2005
These three images were taken at Sir Patrick Moore's house in Selsey, UK during the filming of the BBC Sky at Night 'Mars Night'. The last image shows an increase in the blue clouds due to a dust storm in the Argyre and Solis Lacus regions.
22nd October 2005
This image was taken with Dave Tyler using Patrick Moore's historic 15" F6 Newtonian reflector. This is probably the first CCD image of Mars taken through this telescope which has been used over many years to make wonderful drawings of the Planets.
17th October 2005
14th October 2005
Terrible seeing (3/10) and windy conditions responsible for the poor quality of this image.
11th October 2005
My best image using the Toucam Pro camera.
Same image as above, but annotated with some notable Martian features
10th October 2005
9th October 2005
First light with my new 20cm F8 Newtonian. Seeing conditions only 4/10, but a vast improvement over anything I have captured before.