30 Days from Now Mars Reaches Opposition on Sunday May 22, 2016 at 07:10 EDT, or 11:10 UTC, and it will be at its largest (18.4”) across for this Opposition.

Here is my best Mars shot so far this opposition,

I captured it on the Early Morning of 04-18-2016 from my backyard Observatory in Dayton. We finally had above average seeing.

Every 26 Months Mars gets close to Earth and provides Awesome views of its surface through small telescopes.

This is why I love to view and image Mars, it is the only planet that you can see the surface details in a telescope.

All other planets you would be looking at cloud tops,
except Mercury, no clouds, but is a real challenge as it never gets far from the Sun or high enough above the horizon to get decent surface details from small telescopes on Earth.

At the top or North end you see a large darker area this is Utopia Planitia, and the Little dark island just south of it is Utopia Rupes.

Mars current Axis tilt in relationship to Earth is barely showing the Martian Northern Ice Cap as I little white spot at the top.

To the far right is a small patch of clouds over Elysium Mons, one of the Martian Volcanoes. Clouds tend to gather around these high volcanoes.

Near Center are Libya Montes & Nepenthes Mensea.

On the South end Syrtis Major Planum is clearly visible and as the largest dark feature on the bottom left.

Bottom middle & right are Tyrrhena Terra, & Hesperia Planum.

The Southern Pole & Ice cap at the bottom is shrouded in clouds as well.

Captured on 04-18-2016 @ 08:34 U.T. or 04:34am EST from my Backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio.
C8 (2000mm) Telescope & QHY5IIL CCD camera, 3x Barlow, 900 frames RGB, Stacked in Astrostackert, Registax6, Maxim DL, & Adobe CS2015.

Best Regards,
John Chumack