The Road to Mars

August 02, 2018

RoadtoMars051618HRweb (3)
August 2018 Viewer's Choice
: John Chumack
Summary Authors: John Chumack; Jim Foster

Heck, there's no need for risky and expensive launches to the Red Planet. NASA might be able to get there if they just stay on this road -- make sure that the gas tanks are full, though. Mars is the bright red (reddish) object seen directly above where this road, in Arches National Park, comes to an end. It's as bright as it's been in 15 years. The photo was taken on May 16, 2018, at approximately 4:30 a.m. -- the camera is looking south. I taught a night sky photography workshop at Arches this past May and decided to do a little prep work before the workshop started.

The Milky Way stretches diagonally across the scene at upper right with Saturn just below (upper right center). The greenish glow above the horizon, but below Mars, is natural airglow -- weak light emission from Earth's upper atmosphere. At lower right, the amber-colored glow is light pollution from the town of Moab, Utah.

Photo Details: Sony A7SII camera; Sony E-mount to Canon lens adapter and Canon 16-35 mm lens set to F3.2; ISO 12,800; 13 second exposure; camera on a tripod. I used low-level lighting (LLL) for the road and roadside scenery.