Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, about half the size of earth, and has a more elliptical orbit which allows its oppositions to vary widely in distance from Earth.   On August 27, 2003, the planet came unusually close, to 34,646,418 miles at about 3:51 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time, closer than it had been since the year 57,617 B.C.  

Taken October 29, 2005, about 1:00 A.M., with a Celestron NexImage videocam operating on the C-14 at F:11. Image shown is the final result of a processed stack of 600 original frames. Although the planet was not nearly as close as it was in 2003, the much better sky conditions in Carbon County combined with the processing features available through videocam imaging produced a superior photo. Unfortunately, the south polar ice cap had almost completely melted away by this date.


Taken about 12:45 a.m. August 31, 2003, with the 237 camera operating at F11 through a neutral density filter.  Exposure is .05 second through each color filter.   Sky conditions were quite good, with little wind and no clouds.  The south polar ice cap is at lower left.  The image on the right has been enhanced with computer software to bring out more detail in the surface features.