With Europe about to launch the EXOMARS mission this coming Monday, I'd been asked by some colleagues about amateur observations of Mars that might support such a mission. There are plenty of observers out there who turn their attention to the Red Planet near to opposition (May 2016), but unfortunately there's no single repository for this information for researchers. I've found several possible locations:
- The ALPO-Japan Mars page (http://zetta.jpn.ph/Alpo/indexE.htm) appears to have some of the most current images.
- Some recent observations can be found here: http://www.alpo-astronomy.org/marsblog/observing-alerts-recent-observations/ (a US-led website for Mars observers), and they also have a handy search tool that can access Mars observations over a range of dates.
- Another good archive is the International Society of the Mars Observers (ISMO) webpage here: http://www.mars.dti.ne.jp/~cmo/ISMO.html
- Finally (although it hasn't been updated for a couple of years), the British Astronomical Association has a Mars Section full of reports from older apparitions (http://www.britastro.org/mars/) maintained by Dr. Richard McKim.
|A mysterious cloud over Mars observed by amateur observers.|
Many of the most active planetary observers tend to post their images via FaceBook too, in the Astronomy Planetary Imaging group.