Mars on April 21, 1999

Oppositions of Mars come once every 26 months or so. Some oppositions are less favorable than others, based upon where we are in our orbit relative to Mars at opposition. During the opposition of 1999, we got no closer than 54 million miles to Mars (on May 1st). Mars got as large as 16.2 arc-seconds in size at this time, which was still rather small even at high magnifications. A more favorable opposition will occur on August 27, 2003, when Mars will reach a size visually of 25.1 arc-seconds.

The Martian South Pole is on the left in this photo. The dark area near the South Pole is Mare Cimmerium. The dark area at the very top edge is Syrtis Major. The faint dark spot in the center of the planet is Stymphallus Lacus. The dark area near the top right edge is Utopia. The Martian North Pole is on the right.

This photo was taken with a Takahashi FS-128 refractor using eyepiece projection (5mm occular). The film was Kodak Elitechrome 100 slide film.

Constellation: Virgo
RA: 14h 14m 14.7s Dec: -11d 55' 23"
April 21, 1999
Photo by Sid Leach
Iola, Texas

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