MARS 2003

The planet Mars is closest to the earth in 60,000 years.  Many things fell into place.  I got a new webcam which is excellent for planetary imaging and a new AP900GTO computerized mount.  The images here were taken using a Philips Toucam Pro Webcam.  All imaged were processed and aligned using Registax, MaxIm DL, and Photoshop..

All images were taken at Banilad, Cebu City, Philippines which is located at 10 deg N Latitude.

October 9, 2003

Today my baby daughter is 1 month old!  It was also very clear!  I had some very nice seeing.  I was excited because today I could image the Tharsis and Solis Lacus region.  The image was made by stacking a 900 stack Luminance frame with a 1,600+ RGB stack.  The detail is impressive but not at par with the Planet Masters.   

This might also be my last image till November.  I am leaving for the USA on October 11. 

October 5, 2003

I had another clear night tonight.   Seeing was  better than on Oct 2. My RGB image is better and had I combined it with a luminance frame.  This image is a total of 2,000 frame stack.  500+ image for luminance and 1,500 for RGB (500 each for each color).  Note the  faint cloud details on the surface of Mars.  I used a Celestron C8 mounted on my AP900 GTO mount.  A JMI motofocus was used to make fine focusing. This device was controlled by Pulseguide 1.2 by Ray Gralak.  The RGB part was imaged using a Homeyer filter wheel. IR blocking filter was used.  To boost the magnification, a Televue 2.5X Barlow was used.  This image was done at around 9:05pm to 9:20pm local time.



October 2, 2003

The sky was clear tonight but seeing was terrible! I can only salvage a few frames.  Anyway, the images below were taken with my C8 and my TV 2.5X Barlow.  IR blocking filter was used.  My RGB images did not come out well.

 The image  was taken by stacking 500 frames out of 1900.  Still the details above are impressive for a C8.


September 24, 2003

It's almost a month since the last clear skies.  Many things happened in between.  My wife gave birth to our third child whose name is Jeanne Frances.  ICTZ send lots of rain at this part of the world.  I tried to image Mars last Sept 20 with my AP130 but the results were not good.  This time around I followed the suggestion of my friend James Kevin Ty to use my C8 instead of my  AP130.  I mounted my C8 on my AP900 mount.   RGB was taken through my Homeyer Filter Wheel and an IR Blocking filter was use on all images.

To my surprise the image came out quite well!   Much better than my image with the AP130!  I guess with planets, aperture always wins!


The image above was taken using my C8 and a Televue 2.5X Barlow.  This is a stack of two images.  One of the image is a 535 stacked image using only IR blocking filter.  The second image is made using a total of 1,600 stacked RGB image.


The image above was taken using my Celestron C8 and a Celestron 2X Ultima Barlow.  A 1,000 frame Luminance image was stacked with a 2,000 frame RGB image.


August 26, 2003

It's 1 day to go before Mars Opposition.  The day started and ended with rain, rain and rain none stop!  But strangely the sky cleared at around 9:30pm to 11:50pm!  I was only able to take one shot with Mars at a favorable altitude.  I had a guest tonight. This is Antonio Java, community editor of Cebu Daily News.  Clouds rolled in at around 11:45pm and it rained  immediately!  It's a good thing I was able to get a good show and it's also one of my best image so far!  Hope we get good weather in the next few days!


The image on the left is a stacked image using IR Blocking filter. About 1800 images were stacked to get this picture.  This image was taken at around 11:30pm local time.

August 21, 2003

Today, the Philippines commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the  martyrdom of of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.  He is a person who has great heroism and love for our  country. He is one of the person whom I admire most!   His assassination was the beginning of the end of the Marcos regime which culminated with the People Power revolution.   I dedicate these images to his memory.

The sky was clear most of the evening but smog set in late  in the evening.  In fact, the second image was taken through a thin layer of smog!   The image below shows distinctly Syrtis Major and Syrtis Minor and most importantly the gap between Mare Tyrrhennum and Mare Cimmerium which was not clear with the images I took on August 19.    RGB was done through my Homeyer Motorized Filter Wheel.

At around 12:00am, lightning started to appear in the eastern horizon.  I rushed to take down my telescope before any damage is done.


  This image was in an RGB stack with a total of about 3,000 frames.  This was taken at around 10:30pm local time.  Images processed in Registax and MaxIm DL (Unsharp Masking and Combine). This image wsa taken at around 11:35pm local time with Mars at around 60 deg above the horizon. This is a single frame shot and stacked on 2,800 images. IR Blocking filter was used along with the  5X Powermate.   

August 19, 2003

Another shot at Mars. These images were taken using separate RGB channels with inline IR rejection filter on  my Homeyer motorized  Filter Wheel.   Due to the low contrast of the image due of the filters.  I only used my 5X Televue Powermate to amplify the image.  The image below features one of the most famous features of Mars, Syrtis Major.  This is the feature that looks like India.  On top Syrtis Major is the Hellas region.  The Southern Polar caps are distinctively smaller that on August 9.  The  images below  are stacked using Registax and processed using Registax Wavelet processing then with Unsharp Masking Filter with MaxIm DL.  The individual channels were combined using MaxIm DL.



Mars at 10:30pm local time.  RGB with IR rejection filter.  A total of more than 1800 frames.

Mars at 10:15pm local time.  RGB with IR rejection filter.  A total of more than 1200 frames.


August 9, 2003

Another clear night.  I rained at around 5:00pm but the sky was clear by 7:00pm.  I took another shot at Mars and got better images than yesterday!  I used IR Blocking filter for the images below.  Check  out the detail at the Chryse Region.  All shots were taken at around 10:30pm local time or at around 2:30pm UT.

1/33 sec with 1,300 frames stacked. 1/50 sec with 1,250 frames stacked

August 8, 2003

Tonight is the first clear night in many months!   Mars is up and so am I.  These images were take at around 9:00pm-10:00pm Philippine Time.   The white area is the Southern Polar cap or Mars.    The dark bar at the center which looks like the Italian Peninsula is Sinus Sabaeus.  The dark area to the right of Sinus Sabaeus is Mare Erytheaeum.   The dark spot at the bottom of the image is Niliacus Lacus.

Mars Image just with the 5X Powermate. 1/50sec exposure with 1,070 frames stacked.

1/33 sec image with Baader Planetarium Moon and Planet Filter.  1100 frames stacked. 


Copyright 2003 Christopher Go