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Mars

Mars has not been a main object of study in Kazakstan recently, but some regular observations of this planet were done during the opposition periods in earlier years. In 1956 at the so-called Great Opposition of Mars the first electrophotometric measurements were made by the Astrophysical Institute. Many Mars photographs were obtained in January 1963, when the weather on the observatory was continuously clear and warm: 20 clear nights during the month and daily temperature to +15 C. (Usually in January the weather is cold and cloudy) . Interest in Mars has increased recently as more ambitious spacecraft exploration programs by a number of countries are being conducted. In addition to the exceptional imaging of the planet in 1988 in Kazakstan, the spectral reflectivity of Mars was measured in 1990 at different longitudes with the 70-cm telescope and a grating spectrometer. Photographic images obtained in red light in 1990 were analyzed by computer photometry to estimate the limb darkening coefficients for many regions of the Martian disk, and maps of these values and the normal albedo were generated. Many CCD images of Mars in ultraviolet to near infrared light were also obtained during the Mars opposition of 1997 as part of the international "MarsWatch" project. Some of them you can find on the Web site MarsWatch.

Mars, photographed in the red light
with 1-meter telescope in 1988, September 30

New series of Mars observations were made in April-May 1999 and the collection of CCD-images will appear soon. Most interesting case in these observations was the detection of big Martian cyclone in the Northern hemisphere on latitude about 65 degrees. The cyclone was discovered from the Hubble Space Telescope 27 April 1999 and also this cyclone is seen well on our images of Mars recorded 24, 25 and 26 April 1999. It permits to estimate the velocity of this cyclone movement towards the planetary rotation direction.

GIF 47.9K