British Astronomical Association
Supporting amateur astronomers since 1890

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BAA Observing Sections

Mars Section

The BAA Mars Section is the oldest body in the world for the collection and analysis of observations of the Red Planet. It was formed in 1892 by E. Walter Maunder, the Greenwich astronomer who founded the British Astronomical Association. The present Director (right) has been responsible for all analysis since the apparition of 1979-80.

Your contribution, however small, will be much appreciated and will be acknowledged in the reports which appear in the Journal, while selected current work will appear on this website. The 'current observations' part of the website is updated every few days, so please check back frequently to see some of the current work, together with a running commentary.

This website also provides a guide to how to go about making observations, gives a selection of topographic and telescopic maps, a gallery of observations and a running commentary on the current Mars opposition, and downloadable reports on all past oppositions. There is also a bit of biographical information about past Directors, and some little bits of history here and there. There is also information about the comprehensive BAA dust storms Memoir, and how to obtain your copy.

One small point. Although it is excellent to see members posting their observations at their member's pages, unless they send their images or drawings directly to me I will not normally see them. Some of our longstanding contributors post images to other well-known websites, from which I download them at intervals of a few days or weeks. This is fine for routine work, but I would ask observers who post elsewhere to let me know if they see something really interesting. 

2020 is a very good year for Mars, so send in your observations to the Section and join over 80 other observers (as of September 20) and become part of the Great British Marswatch effort!

Richard McKim, Director

Most recent updates (selected):

We have had to start a 2nd page for the 2020 Mars opposition blog.

All the latest updates from September 20 onwards appear there.

2020 September 20: Terminator projections and diurnal clouds

2020 September 19: The martian moons

2020 August 13: NASA's new Perseverance mission


The 2020 Mars opposition blog page is updated every few weeks. See the link to it on the right-hand side of this front page. 

We have also recently updated the past oppositions page: thanks to the efforts of Stuart and Andrew Morris, all of our publications back to 1892 are now available online!