Mars Section Overview

Richard McKim
Dr Richard McKim

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 (appointed in 1991) 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 BAA Journalwhile selected current work will appear on this website. The ‘current observations’ part of the website is updated often, so please check back frequently to see some of the current work, 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 in the form of a Blog on the current Mars opposition, with a complete set of downloadable reports on all past oppositions reported upon by the BAA. 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.

Some of our longstanding contributors post images to the well-known archiving websites. This is fine for routine work, and I am happy to obtain their work from these sources, but I would ask observers to let me know at once if they see something really interesting, such as an unusual white cloud or a new dust storm event.

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

Latest update (2024 July 5)

The SPC continues to shrink, and is too tiny upon the sub-6 arcsecond diameter disk to offer any interior details.  See the latest blog posting for more.

Several more observers have joined in our programme, and I have now produced a Word document listing all of them. It will be updated as necessary.

Richard McKim, Director

Click on the images of the maps below for full size versions (1316 x 650 pixels).

Mars 2022-23 Albedo Map annotated Final MRLewis

Mars 2022-23 Albedo Map Final MRLewis FULL SIZE


Mars 2020 Albedo Map annotated

  • Mars Opposition 2024
  • Mars Opposition 2022
  • Special Features For Observation
  • Maps of Mars
  • Instruments and observing techniques
  • 2020 Mars Opposition Observations Part 2 (from 20 September)
  • 2020 Mars Opposition Observations Part 1 (up to 19 September)
  • Read reports on past oppositions of Mars
  • History of the Mars Section
  • The Director's monograph on Telescopic Martian Dust Storms
  • Report Forms, observing cards and graticules
  • Publications by the Director
  • An Introduction to the Mars Section
  • The British Astronomical Association supports amateur astronomers around the UK and the rest of the world. Find out more about the BAA or join us.