Mars Closest to Earth: NOW!

Mars 2020 Oct 4 R(G)B by flickr user Roger Hutchinson. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Mars imaged from London just before midnight on 4th October 2020. The volcano Elysium Mons can be seen as the bright circle at the 2 o’clock position. Celestron Edge HD11, Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate and ZWO ASI174MM camera.

We’ve reached the peak of the current Mars observing season with the planet closest to Earth:62-million km or 38.5-million miles on October 6/7th. At -2.5 magnitude and 22.6″ in diameter, Mars is a  conspicuous, intense orange target in the sky that is brighter than any star, except our Sun and is only outshone by Venus and the Moon in the nighttime sky. When it reaches opposition next week, on October 13th, it will still be 22.4″ in diameter and a tad brighter at -2.6 magnitude.  It will remain greater than 20″ in diameter for the whole month. So, weather permitting, put an eyepiece in the scope this month and show it to all your friends!

If you care to venture beyond the visual realm, master planetary imager Roger Hutchinson, on his The London Astronomer blog, has written a post describing his “recipe” for Imaging the Planet Mars.  

Mars Time Lapse 2020 Sept 30 by flickr user StormLV. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Celestron C8 with 4x Tele Vue Powermate (effective focal length: 8000 mm at ~ F/40) into ZWO ASI 224 MC color camera all carried by Skywatcher AZ-EQ-6 GT mount. Imaging was done through PierroAstro ADC Mk2 (Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector) and ZWO UV/IR Cut filter. Five stacks of a total of 31 caught over a span of 4 hours. Processed best 10% of 3000 frames. acquired with FireCapture. Stacked with AutoStakkert, processed with Adobe Lightroom and Topaz DenoizeAI.

For more information, and tips on observing and imaging the planet, see our prior blog posts:

Did you observe, sketch, or image Mars with Tele Vue gear? We’ll like your social media post on that if you tag it #televue and the gear used. Example:
#televue #tv85 #ethos #mars

 
Do you want your Tele Vue images re-posted on Tele Vue Optics’ Social Media accounts? Use this hashtag for consideration:
#RPTVO

 

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