Based on images of Mars taken during 6 nights in October and November 2020 with the 1-meter telescope at the Pic du Midi Observatory in the French Pyrenees, astronomers led by Francois Colas built a complete planisphere of Mars and generated hundreds of images to make a rotating globe of the planet — an unparalleled 3D animation of the planet.
During their photo campaign, from October 8 to November 1, planet Mars was closer to Earth than usual, appearing almost twice its average apparent diameter. It came closest to Earth on October 6 — at about 62 million km (38.6 million miles). The next time Mars comes this close to our planet will be in September 2035.
"We think this is the best map of Mars ever taken from the ground," a renowned astrophotographer Thierry Legault and a member of the imaging team said.
"The animation shows a complete rotation of the planet."
Featured image credit: Thierry Legault
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