The Noose of Mars in 2020

June 10, 2021


#01 (6)

Photographer: Paolo Bardelli 
Summary Author: Paolo Bardelli 

I created the photo sequence above showing Mars movement across the night sky, centered on October 8, 2020. Photos were taken every night, clouds permitting, from July 2020 until February 2021. Approximately every 26 months, Mars passes at its closest distance to Earth. Last fall the opposition of the Red Planet was particularly favorable as Mars was at its minimum distance from us -- about 38.5 million miles (62 million km). From our perspective on Earth, when opposition occurs, Mars performs two reversals of motion, passing from direct motion to retrograde motion and then back to direct motion. As a result, its trace across the night sky forms a “noose.” Also, visible (at top left) is a faint trace left by Uranus’ retrograde motion.

Photo details: Canon 6D camera; 50 mm lens; Vixen Polarie star-tracker; processing using Iris, PS CC, Startrails, and Sequator.