Photos of Mars by Peter Adderley

Here is my attempt to photograph the planet Mars during the August 2003 opposition.
The following images are shown at 1:1.
I have not edited the pics except to crop them, and have not enlarged or embellish any image.

The photos were taken using a Sony DSC-F717 digital camera through
a Bushnell Spacemaster II field telescope. (60mm objective and 25x eyepiece)

The first four images were taken a few minutes apart with the camera zoom
set to maximum optical zoom. The second set of four pics were also taken
within the space of a few minutes but with camera set to maximum digital zoom.

At first I wasn't quite sure what I had photographed, but after several viewings
I began to realise that I had caught a few salient features of Mars.
Despite the obvious aberrations a few common features began to emerge.
Most of the images show something of a bright spot at about 1 o'clock.
I would assume this to be the polar cap.
When you look at all the images at once you may perceive
a distinct reddish band along an equatorial axis.

I could not see this directly through the telescope
but a combination of photos seems to bring out these features.
Seeing four images at once seems to help.
These actually appear more obvious in printed form.

So what's the big deal over a few crappy photos?
I'm nothing of an astronomer, nor am I a professional photographer,
but I am constantly amazed at what can be done with a very meagre setup.
The camera is a 5 Megapixel model and the telescope is really only a bird-spotting model,
a refractive scope less than 300mm in length, both mounted on a
gerry-built wooden plinth on a reasonably solid tripod.

It gives me great satisfaction to be able to take these pics
and I would encourage anyone to attempt same.

Images by Peter Adderley August 2003