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Mars at the Island Star Party 2003

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It was a late night � well I guess it was a late morning :-)  After waiting through only patches of clear sky on Friday night the skies opened up just before 3am at the Island Star Party. Many people had already called it a night, just the diehards (stubborn optimists). Mars blazed a bronzy red in the southern sky.

Those of us that we were still up focused on a somewhat bouncy globe shifting around in the turbulence. In spite of the bad seeing everyone could see that brilliant polar cap. Experimentation ensued as often happens at events like this. Various combinations of filters were tried, to coax out any detail that the planet might offer. I ended up using my lunar polarizing filter which worked quite nicely controlling the brilliance of the subject.

Enough observing I thought, every photographer has this incessant urge to record. Out came the Astrovid 2000 fresh off it�s Varsavia occultation assignment. I could see the bouncing image on my laptop screen. Certainly there were moments when the atmosphere was still and I could see the distinct polar cap as I saw when observing. Perhaps the view was even better since I could freeze frames at a 1/60 second, keeping the good ones and throwing out the bad. Don�t you wish you could do that with the bad things that happen to you in your life :-) .

The image I ended up with was stacked with Astrostack 2 based on 4 images that I captured. I used deconvolution and removed the interlacing that occurred on one of the frames. The final tone adjustments I made in Adobe Photoshop.

David Lee

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Last updated: December 12, 2013

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