Photo of the Week for December 2, 2016
While still a conspicuous sight in the evening sky, telescopically Mars is a far cry from its showing last spring. When it reached opposition on May 22, the planet was 76 million km away and displayed a –2.1-magnitude disc spanning 18.6 arc seconds. Now, as it drifts eastward through the zodiacal constellation Capricornus, it appears as a 0.6-magnitude dot only 6.5 arc seconds across. Little wonder the red planet is so diminished—it now lies at a distance of nearly 215 million kilometres.
This Mars portrait by Drummondville, Quebec, imager André Montambault, captured the planet as it appeared on June 4, 2016. He used a Celestron C11 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope equipped with a 2× Barlow lens and a ZWO ASI120MM monochrome CCD camera to record AVI data through infrared, green, and blue filters.