The closest distance ever since the planet's sixty-thousand-year record in 2003 was the opposition on July 27, 2018. Instead of the then 55.8 million kilometers, it was now 57.6 million kilometers from Earth.
I was looking forward to the opposition with confidence as I had not had the opportunity to capture the red planet before. In addition, on opposition day, we could have seen the total lunar eclipse of the century - the longest. Would be?
Start by saying that as the planet began to approach us, a dust storm - very common on Mars - completely destroyed the visibility of the planet's surface details. The relatively sharp contrast between the dark brown details and the red color that dominated the planet's surface was barely detectable in the images. By the time of the opposition, the storm has eased, which can last for weeks, and by the time the atmosphere clears, it can be months. With that in mind, unfortunately, we had to forget about the enjoyable recordings.
In the night following the opposition, I was able to capture Mars with my own devices. The view blurs the details of the planet. This was due, on the one hand, to the tools used to make it and, on the other, to the storm.
On July 27, 2018, unfortunately, I was faced with another inconvenience (like 90% of Hungary's population): the total lunar eclipse of the century and the glorious sight of Mars were overshadowed by summer thunderstorms.
Unfortunately, this experience can no longer be replicated in a fistfight, but I hope that the next Mars opposition will make the Earth more fortunate and I will be able to enrich my gallery with a better image.
R.A. 20 h 22 m 50 s Dec. -26° 09′ 58″
57.7 million km
03/08/2018 20:49-20:54 UT
Tápióbicske, Pest, Hungary
ZWO ASI 120 MC (with FireCapture)
Home-made 200/800 mm Newtonian reflector
Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro GoTo
Eyepiece projection - 20 mm Plössl
Gain: 40, Exp: 3,45 FPS: 34, in SER
9000 frame (best 15%)
AutoStakkert2!, RegiStax6, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop