On the late evening of May 9 until the early morning of May 10, 2018, Al Sadeem Astronomy Observatory imaged the red planet Mars and the largest planet Jupiter in opposition. Equipment used are Meade LX850 16-inch SCT mounted on Skywatcher EQ8 mount, ZWO120MC uncooled camera, and GSO 2.5x Barlow lens.
The two planets were taken under an average seeing and transparency due to light to moderate air turbulence and slight haze which resulted in some loss of detail after stacking and post-processing due to noise and shaky filming. Particularly, these images were the result of 50% out of 100 images stacked. Jupiter was around 658 million kilometers away from Earth by that time. Jupiter’s atmospheric bands, the Great Red Spot, and its volcanic moon Io were distinctly seen. On the other hand, few dark patches which are the basis of Mars were observed.
When a planet is in opposition, it only means that it is situated directly opposite the Sun in the celestial sphere as seen from Earth. It is also the best time to observe the superior planets because it is usually when it will be at its closest distance from Earth and away from Sun’s glare throughout the observation and usually seen at its brightest. A good and simple analogy for this phenomenon is the occurrence of a Full Moon. During the full moon, the Earth’s natural satellite is situated opposite the Sun in the sky. At this period, the Full Moon will show up after the Sun completely sets.