The planet Mars

The planet Mars is one of the most intersting objects to observe. Unfortunately, it is only interesting every two years when it comes close enough to earth to see details. However, because of Mars' actual physical size, it is not very large in the telescope and small scopes only show a small reddish dot. It takes a great deal of patience and careful observations to see details in the planet. What makes it even more difficult is that about half of these oppositions that happen every two years, are not even that good. The distance between the Earth and Mars at those apparitions are less than ideal.  The most impressive oppositions happen every 15 years.   The last time this happened was 2003 and the next time will be in 2018. My experience with Mars has to do with the 1988 and 2003 oppositions. The 1988 opposition was my first to photograph and record with video.  The 2003 event was my first attempt at recording the planet digitally.

Mars in 1988

The great Mars opposition of 2003

Another attempt in 2005

Back to my Planets page

Back to my Astronomy page