Telescopic View of Mars
October 01, 2003
The above photo of Mars was taken with a 16 inch (400 mm) telescope at Mount Cosmos Observatory, Quebec, Canada on August 18. Even though the Red Planet's closest approach to us was on August 27, it's still very bright and visible most of the night. Notice the polar cap at top. Since the image is inverted, this is actually the southern polar cap. Because Mars is at perihelion [it's only 1.38 Earth-Sun distances (Astronomical Units) from the Sun], the hemisphere facing the Sun is beginning to warm-up. Perihelion marks the beginning of dust storm season on Mars.