Faces of Mars

Three views covering the Martian globe from just after the 2018 opposition on August 2 (91.3 central longitude degrees). 7 (53.4 cld.) and 16 (326.8 cld.), 2018. The different rotational periods of Mars (24 hrs. 37 min.) and the Earth allow us to see a slightly different face of Mars each night at the same local time.

Mars has been tough to shoot from Texas during the 2018 opposition. In addition to the global dust storm on Mars, we have had dust blown across the Atlantic from the Sahara, a taste of smoke from fires out west, and unusual summer cold fronts bringing clouds, and atmospheric turbulence. A new ZWO ASI224MC one shot color planetary video camera has increased my image capture rates by four times to 60 frames per second. This gives me four times as many tickets in the "lucky image" lottery and some good images. The white balance of the new camera is giving me very different results compared to images with my Sony mirrorless camera. The images have a very yellow cast. Contrast is also very low from the dust remaining in the air on Mars. The result was very inconsistent colors in my final images.

I'm educating myself on white balance and exploring tools to help. I've learned about setting grey and white points, but can't always find a good reference in my image. The most useful tool so far has been Photoshop's "Match Color..." adjustment tool, which will shift color balance on one image to match that of another. I picked one of my Mars images that had the most natural color compared to my previous images, and have matched the color balance of the other images in the composite image above.

Content created: 2018-08-17

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