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 back to 1995. 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. But recently (2018 late March) there was a burst of dust activity at the E. end of Valles Marineris, and the relevant images were not sent directly to me so I did not see them until after the event had ended. This is fine for routine work, but I would ask observers who post elsewhere to let me know if they see something interesting. The same can be said about the current large regional dust storm (May 30- June).

Do send in your observations to the Section and become part of the Great British Marswatch effort!

Richard McKim, Director


Here is an extract from the latest update of 2018 July 15:

........Images just received from Barry Adcock (Australia) for July 14 show that Sinus Meridiani has finally reappeared, albeit weakly. The SPC remains affected by dust fallout, and has a complex pattern of bright and dark areas. With opposition in less than a fortnight it seems that the major markings will be visible again in time, though they will remain at least another month below their average intensity. Good observing!