Mars in 2005–06


Dust in the Eye of Mars




This montage appears on the front cover of the February 2006 issue of the Journal. The ten smaller images by Clay Sherrod (400-mm Ritchey–Chrétien, f/32, Arkansas Sky Observatory, USA, stacked webcam images) show the progress of a large regional dust storm that began in S. Chryse/E. Valles Marineris and then expanded to the south, east and west to blow dust into the Eye of Mars (Solis Lacus). Left column, top to bottom: 2005 October 18, 19, 20, 21, 23; right column, top to bottom: October 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. The large centre image, secured on November 6 (23h 05m UT, CML = 138 deg) by Damian Peach (355-mm Schmidt–Cassegrain, f/40, Loudwater, Buckinghamshire, UK, stacked webcam images) shows Mars after the storm, and is arguably the finest amateur image ever obtained of the planet. It shows a large and complex Solis Lacus to the upper left, a dull S. polar cap, the bright Olympus Mons passing the CM in the north, and a bluish N. polar hood.