Clear sky and good transparency towards the southern horizon last night so I went for my first shot of Mars during the 2018 opposition. With just under 2 weeks until the actual date of opposition the Red Planet is a brilliant sight just after midnight!
Here was the end result of my attempt to image Mars:
This was taken with the Meade LX10 (200mm / 8 inch) telescope with a QHY5 mono camera. Colour data was added from a subsequent exposure on the Nikon D90. The atmospheric seeing was below average with large undulations. Mars was 8 degrees above the horizon when the images were taken.
The central meridian longitude was 173 degress. According to Sky and Telescope’s Mars Profiler the long, horizontal feature comprises of Mare Tyhrhennium, Mare Cimmerium and Mare Sirenium. The view on SkyTools 3 matches the features quite well:
At present there is a global dust storm making surface markings very difficult to detect. Hoping this will subside and better pictures are on the way!