Last night, October 6, Mars was 22.6 arc sec in size, its closest to the Earth during the 2020 opposition. Mars will not appear larger until the 2035 opposition. I captured videos of Mars every 15 minutes between 2020-10-07 04:30 UT and 08:15 UT. Seeing in my suburban Austin, Texas, location was good with a waning gibbous Moon following Mars and mild temperatures of about 70F.
Video from a small 1350/89 mm Questar telescope, with a 2X Dakin Barlow lens, mild orange filter, and a ZWO ASI224MC camera was captured using FireCapture on a MacBook. The effective foal length was 2,800mm at f/30. Five minute SER videos were captured every 15 minutes with approximately 12,000 frames in each video. Camera exposure was 21.9 ms at a gain of 118 (unity gain is 135). Plate scale was 0.28 arc sec / pixel.
The best 1% of frames from each video were 3x drizzle stacked in AutoStakkert! 3, making the final plate scale 0.093 arc sec/ pixel! The 16 images had their white balance and exposure adjusted in Photoshop and exported as an animated GIF time lapse.
My setup with the Questar, ASI224MC, and Apple MacBook:
A typical FireCapture screen from the evening:
Content created: 2020-10-07
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