Thursday, November 29, 2007

Figuring Out Mars

Two nights ago I took several .AVI files of Mars. Seeing was about 4/5, transparency 2/5. It was very hard to reach perfect focus, and Mars seemed to dance around in the field of view of the Toucam camera. I took about seven files all up, ranging from 300 frames to 1,700 frames. The image to the right is one of the better images after processing in K3CCDTools. You can make out the ice cap rather clearly, and also some of the more prominent darker features to the South (in this picture, the top of the planet). There are also some barely visible surface markings on the rest of the planet. It's not a brilliant photo by a long stretch, but is actually the best yet I have taken of the red planet. I need to keep working on my focusing technique. A wedge will probably do wonders!

Just for kicks, the image below displays the same Mars photo run through the "unsharp mask" filter in Photoshop. It reveals some more surface detail. I put it next to the calsky.com representation of the planet for the same time at which I took the image, just to help point out the features a little easier.

Click on the images for the full size image.








And in case you were interested about the raw video, here it is:

video

2 comments:

imjeffp said...

Nice job Phil! Have you tried Registax for planetary processing? Works well for me (or it did back when I could actually see stuff besides clouds at night).

Phil said...

Thanks, mate! Actually, when I use Registax for the same .AVIs I get a blurred image. K3CCDTools (which is what I used to caputre the images) gives me a much nicer image. It could be I'm not used to the Registax software yet so I'll keep having a go!