Mars in 2005–06 – Dust in the Eye of Mars

This montage appears on the front cover of the February 2006 issue of the Journal. The ten smaller images by Clay Sherrod (400-mm Ritchey–Chrétien, f/32, Arkansas Sky Observatory, USA, stacked webcam images) show the progress of a large regional dust storm that began in S. Chryse/E. Valles Marineris and then expanded to the south, east and west to blow dust into the Eye of Mars (Solis Lacus). Left column, top to bottom: 2005 October 18, 19, 20, 21, 23; right column, top to bottom: October 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. The large centre image, secured on November 6 (23h 05m UT, CML = 138 deg) by Damian Peach (355-mm Schmidt–Cassegrain, f/40, Loudwater, Buckinghamshire, UK, stacked webcam images) shows Mars after the storm, and is arguably the finest amateur image ever obtained of the planet. It shows a large and complex Solis Lacus to the upper left, a dull S. polar cap, the bright Olympus Mons passing the CM in the north, and a bluish N. polar hood.


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