This is one of my favorite pictures I have captured so far. In my opinion, Mars is a much more captivating target than Jupiter or Saturn. Although the latter are certainly beautiful and have their own interesting features to observe, I think the fact that when we point a telescope at Mars and look through the eyepiece, we see valleys and mountains that we could possibly walk on some day, rather than swirling clouds of gasses.
My photo captures the famed Valles Marineris (Latin for Mariner Valleys) region of Mars. Below is an image of the same region captured by the by the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 on the Hubble Space Telescope. The Valles Marineris is a deep valley cut into the surface of Mars that runs for over 2,500 miles and is up to 23,000 feet deep. For reference, Mount Everest is 29,029 feet above sea level and the Mariana Trench is 36,070 feet below sea level. I wasn’t quite able to capture the valley itself. Perhaps with some more image processing I can make it out.
- Geography of Mars – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Mars
- Valles Marineris – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valles_Marineris
- Hubble photograph – http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/photo_gallery/photogallery-mars.html