This experiment gathers a number of different astronomy activities from observation of the night sky to astrophotography. The Astronomy experiment includes the following activities:
- The beginning and end of the transits and occultations of the moons of Jupiter will be observed. The opposition of Jupiter on February 6th will make the observation of its moons optimal. Further astronomical recordings of this event by other MDRS crews for the season would enable the gathering of a big amount of which can later be correlated with other observations. This would also show how crews at MDRS manage to organize themselves for continuity of experiments.
- There will be a full Moon on February 3rd, in the middle of our rotation, which means that the Moon will be present in the sky during the whole length of our mission. We will therefore take detailed pictures of the full Moon during the mission (with a smartphone/digital camera).
- We will conduct observations of deep space objects (and conduct astrophotography with a smartphone/digital camera if possible). Due to the presence of the full Moon during our mission, objects with a low magnitude will be hard to spot (and photograph). Consequently, our focus will be on brighter Messier objects (such as the Crab Nebula and the Orion Nebula), which are fairly easy to spot and can provide significant results in astrophotography.
This project is relevant to Mars because these objects will also be visible from Mars and their observation and photography could be an objective of a mission on Mars. This project can contribute to evaluating the inclusion of astronomy in such a mission.