Mars at opposition.
Imaged from the summit of the Canary Island of La Palma
at the 'Roque de Los Muchachos'. Altitude 2426m,
using a 14cm Maksutov and a Panasonic Digital Camcorder.
24th August 2003

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The image speaks for itself! The use of a digital camcorder was a leap of faith that really paid off.The final processing is more involved than when using a webcam, since the image has to betransferred from the tape onto a computer. The big advantage is that you need no computer 'in the field'.
Coping with technology and trailing leads seems to become more and more difficult as you become tired and cold, and of course 'Murphy's Law' starts to operate very reliably when there is no chance of 'popping indoors' for that forgotten lead, battery or usb adapter! A camcorder is so self contained and easy to use that the many factors that may have led to disaster were bypassed. We have since used webcams to great effect but still feel we made the right choice in this instance.
There are so many great images of the planets, imaged by amateurs, that we have all started to take them for granted. The truth is that not many years ago an image like this would not have disgraced a major observatory and yet this image was taken using a 5.5" telescope with equipment that fitted into the boot of a car. Sometimes we need to look back just to appreciate how far we've come!

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