A possible new “high altitude cloud” observed


The most noticeable observation of Mars in the last 2012 season has been the imagery of what is generally interpretated as a cloud of very high altitude, because it was projecting well beyond the terminator into the night. Those phenomena look to happen regularly and many have been found on past data (read for example my ISMO essay in CMO n°400). A new one has possibly been observed this year.

I have noticed this possible candidate first on images I have taken under average conditions during the night from 7 to 8th April 2014. This detail is far from being as proeminent as in the 2012 images, but the “protruding” aspect from the terminator is significant:

marsHAC2014See full set here.

The detail looks to evoluate with time, as it passes above and beyond the terminator. The observation looks to have been confirmed now by images realized 20 days before by Darryl Milika and then Kevin ? ten days after. Each time the object is visible over the same zone, just like in 2012.

We must be careful here, because bright objects can appear proeminent on the limb, as they can “irradiate” onto the sky background. However, this one does not look that bright and the repeated imagery brings more confidence.

Moreover, the aspect is very similar to that of the 2012 cloud as it looked some ten days before its official discovery by Wayne Jaeschke. Some images had been done in France, for example by Yann Le Gall and Marc Delcroix. At the time the cloud was only a small bright point.

Now this one is found unfortunately on the evening side, that is is becoming less and less visible after opposition. On the other hand, we can now observe the Martian morning, where most of the events have been observed! This is even more interesting because Reiichi Konnaï, a Japanese observer also member of the ISMO advisory board, has just found an older occurence of the 2012 cloud but imaged in 2010 this time, by images from Bruce Kinglsey and Simon Kidd, confirming the importance of the location and the relative frequency of those phenomena.


Planetary mission at the Pic du Midi, 8-9th March 2014


On March 8/9th, I had the honor and pleasure to participate to a planetary mission at the 1-meter telescope of the Pic du Midi (T1M) lead by Marc Delcroix, President of the SAF planetary observations commission. Here is a summary!

The T1M of the Pic du Midi observatory is [...] Continue Reading…


Observing Mars: some technical advices


After the article, “What can we see on Mars this year” let’s now review some technical advices.

Make images in true colors
The Martian details are quite unequals, between the sharp and contrasted surface details seen in red, and the faint, low-contrast clouds observed in blue light. As the most interesting [...] Continue Reading…


What can we see on Mars this year?


Mars will be at opposition again on April 8th, 2014. Here are some phenomena you must look for!

Mars will be at opposition in one month and a half and is already finely observable since its apparent diameter has now passed 10″. It will reach a maximum of 15,2″ [...] Continue Reading…


Interview: Yann Le Gall, planetary imaging with a large Dobsonian


Many instruments can be used to image planets. This week I’m portraying observer Yann Le Gall, who is making splendid images with large dobsonian on an equatorial platform !
Browse Yann’s homepage here!

Astrophotographie au dobson
Hello Yann! Can you tell us about you and your activity in astronomy?

I was born in [...] Continue Reading…


Planetary ephemeris with WinJupos (II): the graphics


After the first part where we learned how to get started with WinJupos’ephemeris, here is the second part where we’re going to learn how to set the graphic simulation, which is one the best tools!

Choose your map
WinJupos is delivered with various map projections for every planets as well as [...] Continue Reading…


Jupiter with “Mickey’s head”


Since a few weeks, a curious pattern of white spots is evolving in the southern hemisphere of Jupiter, with a clear look-alike of the Mickey’s head. I have been able to image it last 22nd January; what is it exactly?

The “Mickey’s head” is a pattern of three white spots [...] Continue Reading…


Prefer natural colors to mono-band luminances


After reviewing why it is better to use a true green filter for planetary imaging, I’m now talking about the use of luminances realized with mono-band filters, in particular with red or infrared images. If you appreciate this kind of processing this is fine, but just keep in mind [...] Continue Reading…


Planetary ephemeris with WinJupos (I): getting started


WinJupos is well known for its functionalities about image processing. But its offers as well a performing module of ephemeris. Here is how to get started

Setting the software
To have the ephemeris correctly working, you need to enter your geographical coordinates. Our terrestrial longitudes and latitudes determine the precise rising [...] Continue Reading…


Use a true green filter for your images


Among the different techniques of imaging that we saw over the years, there was the use of a “synthetic” green image. Here is why it is less interesting than a true green image. This technique is quite outdated now and has never been really widely used, but this is [...] Continue Reading…

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