Photo credit: Peta Pixel
Astrophotographer Jean-Luc Dauvergne spent 6-nights at the Pic-du-Midi observatory in the French Pyrenees capturing the best global map of Mars yet from Earth. His team used the observatory’s 1-meter telescope and its native 17000mm focal length. The telescope was originally built to help NASA researchers prepare for the Apollo missions in the early 1960s, and to this day, it’s still one of the best in the world to study planetary surfaces in the visible part of the spectrum. Read more for a video and additional information.
After seeing the amazing images captured by amateur astrophotographers with their backyard telescopes, he was inspired to create this global map, especially after realizing that there was enough data to create this masterpiece. In all, it took just 10-days to process the last images of Mars from Pic du Midi.
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Spacecraft exploration of Mars over the past couple decades has greatly improved our understanding of what geologic materials, events and processes shaped its surface. The new geologic map brings this research together into a holistic context that helps to illuminate key relationships in space and time, providing information to generate and test new hypotheses,” said USGS scientist and lead author, Dr. Kenneth Tanaka.