I just installed a new smaller secondary mirror in my 16 Newtonian which better optimizes the system for higher contrast planet imaging. I imaged Mars at 4:00am this morning to test the new system. Seeing was so poor that perfect focus was iterative guess work at best. This image is a “thin” stack of only 146 of the best of 6,832 frames captured but is never-the-less encouragingly well resolved. Mars’ north polar cap is very large with an icy finger pointing south to the left of dark and prominent Mare Acidalium. The southern polar cap is much smaller but well defined. The dark profiles of Aurorae Sinus, Marga-ritifer Sinus, and Sinus Meridiani are all quite clearly featured south of Mare Acidalium. A large cloud is resolved hovering over Sinus Sabeus in the lower right limb of Mars.
Date Imaged :
December 17, 2009
N16 Newtonian at f/22
Stardust Observatory, Baguio, Philippines