Online Astronomy eText: The Planets
Global Pictures of Mars Link for sharing this page on Facebook

June, 2003 view of Mars showing typical view through a 10-inch diameter Earth-based telescope.
The South polar cap is clearly visible but the image is quite fuzzy because of atmospheric turbulence. (Thomas Dorman & Jim Gamble)

    A series of images showing the rotation of Mars over a two and a half hour period on October 22, 2005. At that time the planet was approaching opposition, and was just over 40 million miles from the Earth. The yellowish smudge running horizontally across the dark area on the western (left) side of the southern (bottom) half of the planet is a large dust storm. Such storms often occur when the planet is near perihelion (which it passed about two months earlier). The images were produced by a 9-inch diameter telescope, but look much sharper than in the previous image because (a) the "seeing" was extremely good, meaning that there was much less atmospheric turbulence than usual, (b) filters were used to enhance contrast between regions with different color and albedo and (c) image processing software was used to further sharpen and enhance the contrast of the images. (Original images by Chris Cook, apod051028; animation by Courtney Seligman. In the original images South is on top, a normal telescopic inversion. In this animation North is on top, so that the rotation of the planet from west to east is seen as being from left to right.)

One of the best Hubble Space Telescope photos of Mars (during the opposition of 2001)
(Jim Bell (Cornell) et al., Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA), apod010718)

Spring begins on northern Mars in May 2002.
(MSSS, JPL, NASA, apod030422)

Three Hubble Space Telescope views, showing various features (February, 1995)

Four Hubble Space Telescope views, showing Mars at 1/4 "day" intervals (March, 1997)
(P. James (U. Toledo), T. Clancy (SSI Boulder, CO), S. Lee (U. Colorado), NASA, apod970522)

     Photomosaic of Mars from Viking (1970's) orbital photographs, centered on Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the Solar System. The canyon is 2000 miles long, as much as 400 miles across and 5 miles deep. Current thinking is that the canyon started as a crack caused by geological uplifting or cooling (there is a widespread pattern of cracking on the western (left) side of the image), and was then eroded by winds and landslides. (USGS, The Viking Project, NASA, apod060730)

     Photomosaic of Mars from orbital photographs centered on nearly 300-mile-wide Schiaparelli crater. It and the numerous other craters visible here were created by impacts which mostly occurred 4 billion years ago. At upper left wind erosion and deposition has created "shadows" of a number of smaller craters. At lower right dry ice frost (frozen carbon dioxide) covers Hellas Planitia, a 1300-mile wide, 6 mile deep impact basin. (NASA, Viking, USGS, Malin Space Science Systems, apod960203)

Photomosaic of Mars from orbital photographs, centered on Syrtis Major

1980 Viking 1 orbiter photomosaic of Mars
(USGS, Viking Project, NASA, apod030502)