Mars opposition season is here

Mars will be at opposition from the Sun on Oct 13 with a an apparent size of 22.3 arc sec. However, Mars will be at its closest approach to Earth on the night of Oct 6 with a larger size of 22.6 arc sec. There will be good opportunities for observing or imaging Mars from the night of September 23rd through October 17 during which it will appear to be 22 arc sec or larger within 3% of the maximum size. On the night of Friday, October 2nd, the Moon will pass closely by Mars:

A telephoto lens and a camera with a full frame, APS, or 1" sensor can capture this conjunction on a tripod. You have almost a month to capture a good close up view or image of Mars. A telescope of more than 2500 mm of effective focal length (a Barlow lens will help) and a polar aligned tracking mount will capture the best images for astrophotographers. So far we have no large dust storms as we did in 2018 when I captured this image of Mars:

Mars 2018 24.1 arc sec

This opposition Mars will appear about 10% smaller than in 2018, but hopefully with clear features unobstructed by dust storms.

Content created: 2020-09-22

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