Mars on August 17, 2003

The south polar ice cap is shrinking as the seasons change in the southern hemisphere of Mars. Meanwhile, clouds can be seen forming over the north polar cap, which is tilted away from us. As the seasons grow colder in the northern hemisphere, water will condense out of the thin atmosphere of Mars and cause the north polar ice cap to grow in size. In this image, clouds have also formed on the eastern limb of Mars, providing a morning cloud cover for Syrtis Major at sunrise. Mars was 10 days away from its closest approach when this image was taken. The planet had an apparent size of 24.6 arc-seconds and was 99 percent illuminated.

To see an image taken over two hours earlier that same night, click here.

This image of Mars was taken from my backyard in Scottsdale, Arizona, using a ToUcam web cam on a FCT-150 refractor with a Televue 4x PowerMate. The focal length was about f28. The images were aligned and stacked with Registax.

Constellation: Aquarius
RA: 22h 48m 22.3s Dec: -14d 48' 55"
August 17, 2003
Image by Sid Leach
Scottsdale, Arizona

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