These are my first efforts to image Mars since 2013. Seeing was quite unsteady making it very difficult to focus well. Yet a very prominent circular cloud formation over the Elysium volcano region was captured in the March 7 image and atmospheric haze covers the eastern edge of the planet. The following night yielded an image of Syrtis Major, a large south polar cap, and a smaller north polar cap. Mars currently has an apparent diameter of around 12.4 arc seconds.
Mars is getting closest to Earth once again as it does every other year. It rises in the east by mid-evening beside brilliant Spica. It shows interesting details even in moderate sized scopes. The view will get even better as it approaches its April 8 opposition to the Sun and April 14 closest approach to Earth and grow in maximum size to around 15.2 arc seconds.
Date Imaged :
March 7 and 8, 2014
N16 at f/29
Stardust Observatory, Baguio