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Mars Imaging Presentation for Pixel Camera Club

Hubble Space Telescope Picture of Mars

I’ll be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Pixel Camera Club Tuesday, December 19 at the Schaumburg Library. The subject of my presentation will be “Imaging Mars” and it should last approximately one hour. My presentation will focus on the workflow and techniques that I use to process the raw PDS (Planetary Data System) image files from the Viking, Mars Global Surveyor, and Mars Exploration Rover missions to Mars.

Aside from using either the NASAVIEW or GIMP programs to open the PDS files and save them, all of my processing is done in Adobe Photoshop. This includes noise removal, destriping, contrast enhancement, and colorizing. Technically the most difficult of these tasks is the destriping of the push-broom noise inherent in the Mars Global Surveyor images and the stitching together of individual Mars Exploration Rover picture frames. Aesthetically, the most difficult task is the application of false color. I have developed several different methods of applying false color to pictures of Mars but which to use depends on the image itself.

I may also venture into some discussion of Hubble Space Telescope images of Mars. These pictures are stored in the FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) format which is the standard image format used by the astronomical community. In fact the picture that appears at the top of this post is a Hubble Space Telescope picture of Mars. For the inquisitive, Arabia Terra is the large light colored region on the right side. Acidalia Planitia is the dark region at the top. The light colored circular patch at the 7:00 position is Argyre Planitia.

In addition to the coloring challenge posed by these Hubble images, another challenge is locating the necessary FITS files. Locating and retrieving the FITS files for me begins at HubbleSite and ends at MAST (Multimission Archive at Space Telescope).

The folks at Pixel may get more than they have bargained for in that I’ll also be speaking about the geology of Mars. After all, how can you show pictures of Mars without explaining what the picture is. I suspect that many will find some interest here since one of their members indicated to me that many have an interest in nature photography.

Imaging Mars
Pixel Camera Club
7:30pm Tuesday, December 19 2006
Schaumburg Library, Schaumburg IL

Ad Astra, Jim

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3 Responses to “Mars Imaging Presentation for Pixel Camera Club”

  1. Akela says:

    Nice! Happy New Year!

  2. Plaxco says:

    Hi and Thanks.