Imaging by
Larry Owens

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This is a presentation of the most popular color hue and saturation for Mars, based on a survey of planetary imagers conducted in January, 2008.  It's certainly not scientific, but it represents generally what most imagers see as "normal" for Mars images, when presented on a computer monitor.  Basically, if you use these images as a rule of thumb, matching the amount of color saturation and the hue in very general terms, most people will see a natural looking Mars when your images are presented on the web.

Mars Color Survey Results

Here's a larger view of the survey top picks (below) with channel breakouts for #32 and #25.  I find it easier to match colors based on a larger image.  To use this chart as your Mars color guide, I'd recommend saving the image and opening it in PhotoShop.  Internet browsers tend to change the color intensity.

Mars Color Survey - Larger Sample for Color Matching

Mars 01/07/08:  Click Here - More clouds over the Tharsis trio, but unfortunately poor seeing took much of the detail from this image.  The image was taken the evening of 01/06-07.
Mars 01/04/08:  Click Here -
The first image of 2008 shows some interesting clouds that serve to outline 4 volcanoes on the red planet, Arsia Mons, Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, and of course Olympus Mons.  The planet was 58 degrees above the horizon when this was taken with relatively good stability.  By 10:00 PM local, the stability worsened quite a bit however, making this the best of several sets.
Mars 12/24/07:  Click Here -
This set was taken the evening of 12/23-24 with a Clear Sky Clock estimate of stability as "poor", and the planet was bouncing around quite a bit.  Several other sets were taken, but this one seemed to catch more detail out of the fuzziness. 
Mars 12/18/07 (additional sets): Mars 75% Size - Mars Full Size -
This is a presentation of 3 sets of images (including the one below) taken the evening of 17/18.  Each set shows a lot of interesting detail.  The images were taken within 24 hours of the close pass for 2007.
Mars 12/18/07: Click Here -
This is as close in time to the close approach I was able to get due to weather.  The stability was good for a change (from 6 to 7/10).  The image shows continuing north polar region clouds and lots of other interesting details.
Mars 12/15/07:  Click Here -
We're going hot-n-heavy with Mars now as the planet makes its close approach on the evening of the 18/19th.  This is an image taken under lots of high thin clouds and poor stability (3/10).  Not much detail, but well, here it is.
Mars 12/12/07:  Click Here -
Here's an image from the evening or12/12-13.  There are some interesting cloud bands coming off the north polar region.  Solis Lacus is near the morning limb (right) and Sinus Meridiani and Sinus Sabaeus are near the evening terminator.  There appears to be a bit of haze just north of Sinus Sabaeus, and perhaps some south polar haze or clouds with some cloudiness southeast of Solis Lacus near the limb. This image was actually processed during a presentation at our last chapter meeting.  Stability was not very good, perhaps poor to average with average transparency. 
Mars 12/10/07:  Click Here
- The stability was a bit better than the evening of 12/8-9 so this image shows a bit more detail.  I also didn't rush through the processing as I sometimes do, so it has a slightly more natural appearance than some of the others.  There are lots of hazy areas and lots of bright white clouds on Mars this time with a lot of interesting detail.  Angular size is 15.71".
Mars 12/09/07:  Click Here -
This image was taken under average to good seeing for a change.  The RED image shows the most detail and the RGB shows the rest of the cloudy details.  The planet is nearly at its maximum size for the year now.
Mars 11/30/07:  Click Here
- Here's an RGB set from Nov 30th.  Olympus Mons is near the terminator, shown as a light feature that almost looks 3 dimensional.  Not a terrific image due to a turbulent atmosphere here on Earth, but the planet is getting large at 15" now.
Mars 11/20/07 and 11/21/07: Click Here
- This is a presentation of 4 sets taken over 2 days, color only.  The planet is now over 14"!  Stability continues to be a problem from Alpharetta though.  We're having lots of clear weather, but few really stable mornings.
Comet 17PHolmes 10/29/77 -
Size compared to Moon, and View through TMB
Mars 10/14/09: From Deerlick at the PSSG
Mars 10/09/07:   Click here - DMK/Skynyx Comparison
Mars 09/26/07: See the image here.  
The planet is almost 9.5" now and it will grow another 5.5" by December.  This image shows some interesting north polar clouds.  Stability was pretty good but I'm trying a smaller scale image for presentation, I think it looks a bit better.

You may have noticed
that some of the Mars images are missing.  I wasn't very satisfied with how the first few turned out this year, so I'm doing a bit of re-processing and reorganizing.  I'll post them again soon.

Jupiter, 07/13/07:
 Click here. Very poor seeing, Oval BA + dark spots
Jupiter, 07/08/07: 
Click here for a single color image
Jupiter, 07/08/07: 
Click here for the full IRGB breakout
Jupiter, 07/06/07: 
Click here to see image single color image
Jupiter, 07/06/07: 
Click here to see image with RGB Monochrome breakout
Mars, 07/01/07: 
Click here for Mars from July 1, 6.33" across
Mars, 06/28/07: 
Click here for Mars from June 28, 6.27" across
Mars, 06/27/07:
  Click here for Mars, a little over 6 arc seconds across. 

Jupiter, 06/08/07:  Jupiter was only 30 degrees above the southeastern horizon for the first set and not much higher for the second, but there is some interesting detail.  The second image shows a bit of the SEB breakout, and the Great Red Spot is there with a lot of equatorial activity. 


Jupiter, 05/26/07:  What I didn't accomplish in quality, I added in quantity.  Here's a presentation of 4 complete sets of IR, R, G and B images with RGB.  The stability was not particularly good, but I had the opportunity to image so here's the result.  This series of images shows Oval BA (upper left).  South is up, Leading to the left.  There are 2 sizes for these sets, Large and Small.


Jupiter, 05/06/07:  We visited a friend in Miramar Beach, FL for the weekend and I took the opportunity to image Jupiter while there.  Unfortunately the conditions were not ideal, but I did get a chance to do some testing of a DMK21AF04 camera obtained recently.


Jupiter, 04/22/07:  Here's a somewhat fuzzy Jupiter.  The planet was near the meridian and still only 33 degrees above the southern horizon, and about 10 degrees above my neighbor's radiating roof!  None the less, there is some interesting detail.  Jupiter is certainly in a turbulent and very interesting period.  Here's a small format and a large format version of the image.


Saturn, 03/28/07:  While waiting to webcast the Saturn/Moon close pass, I decided to do some Saturn imaging.  The stability was quite good and that resulted in some nice detail.  The image is presented in all filtered colors, including RGB and R-RGB.  The R-RGB enhances the polar circle quite well.  The image was taken just after 10:00PM 3/28.


Total Lunar Eclipse 03/03/07:  Here's the "Moon Rise" total lunar eclipse of March 2007.  Totality captured through the trees!


Saturn, 01/27/07:  The Saturn opposition is near as evidenced by the small ring shadow in the lower right. Stability was about average in visible light, but quite good in IR. This is an IR-RGB image from 04:19UT.


Saturn, 12/26/06:  Saturn is a beautiful sight in the pre-dawn hours now.  This image was captured at about 5:36 AM local time under some fairly steady skies with some messy periods.  The air was crisp and clear with a temperature in the upper 30's here in Alpharetta, GA.  It's not my best image but it is pleasing to the eye.


Mercury Transit, 11/08/06:  After waiting under cloudy misty skies for several hours (see some photos from the event here) the skies parted for a couple of hours to present at least part of the Mercury transit.  The monochrome images were taken with the Lumenera and the color image was taken using the Canon 300D.  All images were at F/11 on the C14.  Here's the image in full size (large file) and here's a larger view of the color image.


M31 10/20/06:  I attended the Peach State Star Gaze this year, actually just one night.  The stability was terrible up at White Water on the 20th, but the transparency was rather nice for several hours.  So I decided to put the Canon Digital Rebel on the C14 with a 300mm telephoto for a shot of M31.  I took a total of 31 minutes of exposures in 5-7 minute bites, and stacked them with MaximDL. It was cold (in the 30's F) so the Canon seemed to work well even with 7 minute exposures.

Uranus 08/26/06:  This is my first image of Uranus this apparition.  Unfortunately my scope started acting up (hand controller problems) and I didn't get a chance to take a longer orientation exposure of the moons of Uranus.  The camera was aligned with the meridian though so north is up (roughly).


Jupiter, 06/30/06:  With all of the excitement over oval BA and the GRS, we often forget that the rest of the planet is still just as dynamic and interesting as ever.  The stability was rather good for a while the evening of 6/29-30 and the image shows some interesting detail.

Single Color    IR-R-G-B Breakout
(CM: I-141.4  II-22.6  III-176.6)

Jupiter, 06/27/06:  Junior is kicking up some dust.  There is a large dark area developing under the GRS, presumably due to the interaction of oval BA and the GRS.  The GRS also appears to be deformed slightly. Unfortunately the action is near the limb and seeing was rather poor.

(CM: I-187.5  II-83.9  III-237.4)

Jupiter, 06/20/06:  Junior and her big sister are still dancing in this image under poor seeing.  Over the course of 10 days, the GRS and Oval BA are still approaching, but slowly.  Hopefully we'll get some steady skies soon for a better look at the interaction between these 2 storms.

(CM: I-161.9  II-111.7  III-263.3)

Jupiter, 06/16/06:  This is an IR set with an RGB of oval Y and Z.  Seeing wasn't very good but the 2 NEB ovals are clearly visible approaching each other.

(CM: I-236.3  II-216.8  III-7.3)


Jupiter, 06/10/06:  This is an IR image taken after oval BA and the GRS appeared.  Stability rapidly deteriorated after this image, so no further exposures were taken.  I'm including this image because it clearly shows the proximity of oval BA to the GRS. 

Single IR   (CM: I-57.0  II-82.9  III-231.8)

Larger Version

Jupiter, 06/10/06:  This was another relatively stable evening.  The video during acquisition again looked rather nice early in the evening, indicating a promise of a nicely detailed recording of our great neighbor's cloud deck.  Although interesting, I was also a bit disappointed with the result, hoping for more detail.  This set was taken early in the evening, starting at dusk. 

IR-RGB Breakout       Single Color   (CM: I-13.2  II-39.4  III-188.3)

Jupiter, 06/09/06:  The stability this Friday night was rather good.  The clear sky clock indicated "average" to "good" and that seemed accurate.  From the raw video, I had expected the images to be a bit nicer but "you never know what you're gonna get" as Forrest Gump would say.  These images were taken rather late, from 03:45 - 04:00 UT (making it the morning of 6/10/06). 

IR-RGB Breakout       Single Color   (CM: I-281.7 II-314.9 III-103.6)

Jupiter, 06/06/06:  I imaged from about 10:00 PM to a little past midnight.  The conditions were a bit disappointing but the skies steadied out nicely for just a few minutes before calling it an evening.  This image doesn't show the GRS or oval BA but there is a lot of detail to get lost in.

Single Color   (CM: I-159.4  II-215.6  III-3.5)

Jupiter, 05/28/06:  Here's an interesting image.  I apologize for the image quality, but this IR image shows a white spot orbiting within the Great Red Spot.  There's also a bonus, with oval "BA" following and a bit south of the GRS and a solar eclipse caused by Jupiter's moon Europa.  Stability was a bit of a problem, and the images could have used a bit more integration time but the phenomena are represented nicely.

Jupiter, 05/26/06:  Stability was actually pretty good the evening of 05/25-26.  This image shows some excellent detail in IR light, though the GREEN and BLUE filtered images were quite soft.  IR seems to be far less affected by the atmosphere.  Enjoy...  Click here for a single larger version of the image.

Jupiter, 04/11/06:  Stability was still a problem this night.  Here's another IR-RGB breakout from the morning of the 11th.  The GRS was just rotating into view.  The RED and IR shots show some interesting detail and as usual, have the highest resolution of the group.  These images were taken from 2:39-2:57 AM EDT with the C14 and Lumenera.

Jupiter, 04/10/06:  Here is a full IR-RGB spread of Jupiter from the evening of 4/9-10.  As you can see, Jupiter appears quite differently in IR or RED light.  The images were taken from 2:46-3:01AM with the C14 and Lumenera.

Jupiter, 04/06/06:  This image was taken under rather unsavory conditions, but thought I'd post it anyway.  It shows the GRS and friends, but Oval BA hadn't yet rotated into view.  The images were taken around 08:46UT with the C14 and Lumenera.

Jupiter with Oval BA, 04/01/06:  I'm a bit disappointed with this first shot of Jupiter this apparition.  Jupiter is going to be a challenge for the next few years since it is so low to the south for imagers in the states.  None the less if we can get some steady air there is a chance for spectacular images of this great planet.  These 2 images captured the Great Red Spot, and Oval BA (GRS Jr.), just below and to the left of the GRS.

The Pleiades gets Mooned! 04/01/06:  Through thin clouds, the Moon gently passed in front of the beautiful Pleiades cluster.  The clouds caused a bit of a problem with glare, but the images recorded the event nicely.  These were taken with a Canon 300D mounted on a 5" achromat piggy backed on the C14.

Saturn Print from March 15, 2006:  This Saturn image turned out to be rather popular, so I created a version of the image that can be printed on 13"x19" photo paper.  I have one over the fireplace in our breakfast area and it's actually rather captivating.  As with the Mars print, a small monetary donation to the chapter or help with projects will put one of theses on your wall.  Just email me.

Mars Opposition 2005 Print:  Here is a reduced resolution Mars opposition 2005 mosaic, similar to the one created for the 2003 Mars opposition.  The image is formatted for printing on 13"x19" photo paper and is a summary of the events near the opposition in October.  The prints show exquisite detail and interesting dust storms.  A small monetary donation to the chapter or help with projects will put one of these on your wall.  Just email me.

Saturn, March 15, 2006:  Here's a second image from the evening of the 15th.  This one doesn't quite have the resolution of the first set but pleasing to the eye none the less.  Click HERE for a single color view of the planet.  C14 at F/28 with the Lumenera @ 02:02UT (03/16/06) from Alpharetta.

Saturn, March 15, 2006:  Well, according to the clear sky clock the seeing was "average", so I'm wondering what this Lumenera can do with "excellent" seeing.  Not a bad image and a bit better than the March 7th image.  Click HERE for a single color view of the planet.  C14 at F/28 with the Lumenera @ 01:42UT (03/16/06), from Alpharetta.

Saturn, March 7, 2006:  Finally a clear steady night when I'm not either sick or out of town.  The stability was rather nice for a change and that's reflected in the images.  If you look closely you can see the planet through the "A" ring and Encke's gap (possibly just the minima) is just visible.  Click HERE for a single color view of the planet.  C14 at F/28 with the Lumenera @ 03:08UT (03/08/06), from Alpharetta.

Saturn, January 31, 2006:  Mars wasn't the only thing on the menu for the 31st.  I hadn't been able to image the Saturn opposition, but this is as close as I could get (4 days late).  There is an interesting storm on Saturn now that shows up as a distinct white spot in this image.  Click HERE for a single color view of the planet.  C14 at F/28 with the Lumenera @ 04:20UT (02/01/06), from Alpharetta.

Mars, January 31, 2006:  Mars is down to only 8.8" seconds now as Earth continues to out run it.  You can easily pick out Solis Lacus and the massive Olympus Mons basin.  C14 at F/28 with the Lumenera @ 02:39UT (02/01/06), from Alpharetta.

Mars, December 27, 2005:  Here's my last image for 2005.  This one was taken with the Lumenera Lu075M camera.  The seeing conditions were decidedly on the poor side but the new camera was able to pull out some detail.  I'm still experimenting with the camera, so there is a bit of saturation in the image, but it's generally not bad for the conditions.  C14 at F/58 @ 00:15UT, 12/28/05 from Alpharetta.

Mars, December 22, 2005:  Mars is getting smaller by the hour.  This image was taken under rather bad seeing as is the case almost every night now.  If you look closely, you can just detect the tiny hint of a south polar cap.  C14 at F36 @ 01:28UT from Alpharetta.

Mars, December 6, 2005:  Through high thin clouds and relatively good seeing, here's my first image this December.  Mars is down to 15.88" now.  C14 at F36 @ 02:44UT from Alpharetta.

Mars, November 26, 2005:  Finally a conjunction of clear skies and free time.  Mars is getting smaller now, 18.5".  Also the morning terminator has started its slow march across the planet and there appears to be an increase in polar hood clouds.  C14 at F36 @ 02:53UT from Alpharetta.

Mars, November 7, 2005:  Opposition 2005!  This set was taken several hours after opposition, but there is no terminator to be found.  The bright spot near the left limb is Olympus Mons, towering above the surrounding landscape near Martian sunset.  C14 at F36 @ 03:48UT from Alpharetta.

Mars, October 30, 2005:  This set of images was processed in mid November.  The detail and contrast are rather nice.  The RED image seems to have caught the steadiest air.  C14 at F36 @ 04:18UT (10/31/05 UT) from Alpharetta.

Mars, October 29, 2005:  These images were taken just after the close approach of Mars this apparition. The color of the planet seems to have shifted to a monochromatic "yellow" (except for the north polar hood) and visually the contrast is somewhat subdued over previous weeks.  This may be due to an atmosphere heavily laden with dust.  C14 at F36 @ 03:47UT (10/30/05 UT) from Alpharetta.

Mars, October 27, 2005:  More dust.  There is an interesting dust "ring" to the South and more dust streaming northward.   The north polar hood remains interesting with ever changing patterns of blue mist and clouds.   C14 at F36 @ 07:39UT from Alpharetta.  Here's the IR-R-G-B breakout.

Mars, October 19, 2005:  Dust storm inside Valles Marineris!  You can actually see the outline of the floor of Valles Marineris in bright yellow dust.  The first series of images were done with a NexImager and it seems to have done a better job than the ToUcam Pro.  C14 at F36 @ 06:50 to 07:30UT from Alpharetta.

Mars, October 14, 2005:  After nearly a month of cloudy or very unsteady skies, finally a break.  This image of Mars actually shows surface relief.  Take a look at the bright edges of the cliffs of Valles Marineris and the surface relief around Olympus Mons!  C14 at F36 @ 08:57UT from Alpharetta.

Mars, September 23, 2005:  Through Rita's skirt.  I hadn't planned to process this image because of the poor stability, but found some time.  The image was taken through the edge of hurricane Rita, with rows of high thin clouds and fast moving low altitude clouds.  It's an interesting image, but with a bit less resolution.  C14 at F36 @ 07:23UT from Alpharetta.

Mars, September 21, 2005:  Variable stability but this time I was able to take a full set of exposures.  C14 at F36 @ 07:45UT from Alpharetta.


Mars, September 20, 2005:  Stability started out fair, but just after taking an IR exposure the wind kicked up and the seeing turned Mars into a fuzzy ball.  C14 at F36 @ 08:30UT from Alpharetta.


Mars, September 18, 2005:  Seeing was fairly good, but most of the morning was spent experimenting with frame rates and fine tuning polar alignment, so I was only able to capture a single color image.  C14 at F36 @ 09:10UT from Alpharetta.

Mars, September 13, 2005:  It's a cloudy day up north.  Check out the cloud bank at the north polar hood.  C14 at F36 @ 09:16UT from Alpharetta.


Mars, September 9, 2005:  Solis Lacus is around again in this image.  See if you can find Olympus Mons.  C14 at F36 @ 09:16UT from Alpharetta.


Mars, September 3, 2005:  The "lumps" are still with us.  The northern most lump is Olympus Mons.  C14 at F36 @ 09:16UT from Alpharetta.


Mars, September 2, 2005:  Some nice "lumps" near the evening terminator.  The image was taken with the C14 at F36 @ 09:16UT from Alpharetta.


Mars, September 1, 2005:  Some nice detail, but stability was terrible this morning.  The image was taken with the C14 at F36 @ 09:05UT from Alpharetta.


Mars, August 28, 2005:  Fun with filters.  I now have a Sony based ICX098BL monochrome CCD.  Its broadband spectral response will enable the use of a variety of filters.  I reprocessed the color image and used the RED mono image as a luminance layer to enhance the detail.  The image was taken with the C14 at F36.


Mars, August 26, 2005:  The skies were not friendly this morning.  High thin clouds and poor stability were the rule.  This is a stack of 3200 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Mars, August 20, 2005:  This image shows an interesting lighter colored polar zone surrounding the south polar cap that I have not seen in previous images.  It shows up in the 8/19 image but not quite as clearly. This is a stack of 3000 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Mars, August 19, 2005:  Some interesting Hellas detail in this image. This is a stack of 3150 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Mars, August 16, 2005:  The stability was somewhat better than normal, still not great. This is a stack of 3134 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Mars, August 15, 2005:  Relatively good stability and transparency this morning, but it only lasted for a few minutes.  This is a stack of 3200 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Mars, August 13, 2005:  Not a great image, due to - you guessed it, stability. This is a stack of 3100 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Mars, August 12, 2005:  The stability was a bit better, but only for a short while.  It got worse as dawn approached, but I'm fairly pleased with this image.  Note the clouds streaming from the polar cap and the prominent north polar hood.  This is a stack of 3200 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Mars, August 11, 2005:  This is the last image taken before dawn.  The other AVI's taken that morning were useless because of atmospheric turbulence.  If I could just get some steady skies, I could take some remarkable images with this scope.  This is a stack of 3200 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Mars, August 4, 2005:  This is the last image taken before dawn.  It is a bit better than the first 8/4 image and shows much clearer south polar cap detail.  Note the lighter area just below the polar cap.  This is thought by Dr. Schmude of ALPO to be a brief dust storm.  This is a stack of 3000 frames - TouCam/C14/F36.


Links to some large size for printing:

Saturn 031606
Saturn 032807
Mars  103005
Moon Saturn 032807

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Last Updated Wednesday, January 30, 2008