Maps of Mars


All intending observers need a map to refer to. Although certain features have undergone significant and apparently permanent changes since its compilation, Dr Ebisawa’s detailed general map of 1957 is useful for the naming of small features, and the writer’s paper in the Bibliography includes reproductions of both the IAU map and the Ebisawa map. A recent map compiled by the Planetary Section of the Unione Astrofili Italiani (UAI) is reproduced here to show what the observer might currently expect to see at the eyepiece. All these charts, together with a high-resolution map by Damian Peach (from the 2005 opposition), are available on this website (see Maps.)

Submission of Observations

Images, preferably in Jpeg format, should be e-mailed to the Director on a daily basis. The preferred file name format is yyyy-mm-dd-ttttUT-initials: for example, 2008-04-30-2030UT-RJM for an image taken on 2008 April 30 at 2030 UT by the Director. There is no need to preface the file name with ‘Mars’, and any images submitted in another format will in any case be changed to the above style for archiving purposes.

Any further information should be written upon the image rather than added to the file name. These details should include telescope and camera, observing location, the origin of any filters used, and a note of seeing conditions (especially if very good or very poor). Some observers like to add a few brief notes, but these should really be brief.

Drawings may be sent through the post as hard copies in the usual way, or emailed regularly as above. It is useful if the standard report form for drawings is used: a copy may be downloaded from this website.

Maps of Mars

Ebisawa : Mottoni : Frassati : Aeschliman : Peach : Adelaar : Lewis

A three-part map by Shiro Ebisawa (1957), with very detailed nomenclature appears below. This map is regarded, by the BAA Mars Section, as the standard reference for names, for the IAU map from the same era (below) contains too few names to be of real use. However, both are average representations of the planet, and Mars will never exactly resemble either map. Since the epoch of the 1950s, major and apparently semi-permanent albedo changes have occurred in the Casius–Boreosyrtis region, and the curved feature at the E. side of the Syrtis Major, Nepenthes, has not been seen since the decade of the 1970s. Mario Frassati’s more recent map (below) gives a better impression of those areas. Large versions (1900 x 3000 pixels).

The standard IAU map by G. de Mottoni (1957), based upon the best available photographic work from the 1940s and 1950s. It shows all the detail visible with small apertures, and is good for quick reference. Large version (2060 x 2200 pixels).

The map drawn by Mario Frassati (2001) for the Unione Astrofili Italiani. It is based upon that organisation’s work during 1988–99, and shows the principal features of Mars at the 1999 opposition. This is a convenient up-to-date reference chart, though the most currently useful maps will always be those that appear in the BAA apparition reports. Large version (1500 x 800 pixels).

Two maps of Mars (north at top) prepared by Ralph Aeschliman, originally published in Sky & Telescope (2003 June), and reproduced here by kind permission of the artist. (Upper) classic nomenclature; (lower) modern nomenclature. Large version (1200 x 1200 pixels).

A general map of the planet (south at top) with telescopic nomenclature added, prepared by Damian Peach from his CCD images of 2005 October–November. Most of the albedo features have not changed much since 2005, though Pandorae Fretum has been the most variable feature in the following years, as it waxes and wanes according to dust storm activity. Large version (2284 x 840 pixels).

Comparative Mars apparition charts for 2005 and 2007, compiled by Jan Adelaar from his images obtained 2005 October 6–November 9 and 2007 November 15–December 30. These maps appear in the second interim report of the 2007 opposition. (No larger version.)


Map by Martin Lewis, 2012. Large version (2000 x 846 pixels).

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