June 27, 2016
The photo above shows the planet Mars as observed from my observatory in Dayton, Ohio. Mars is the only planet that shows significant fine surface details using a small telescope. North is up in this image. The large dark feature at the center is Syrtis Major Planum. The brighter patch below this feature may easily be mistaken for the southern ice cap, but this is actually Hellas Planitia. To the north of the dark feature, Utopia Planitia and Utopia Rupes are both visible. In the north polar region, it's even possible to detect bluish limb clouds.
Mars is brilliant now. To see it just look due south when the sky becomes dark. It's the brightest red/orange "star" you can see. Currently, the Martian disk phase is 0.94 -- 94 percent full. The Red Planet will begin to recede from Earth over the coming months. Photo taken on June 22, 2016.
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