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Astronomy Projects
MarsAtlas200 shows how the stars look as viewed from the surface of the planet Mars. After NASA's Viking landed on Mars in 1976, I started thinking about how Mars' polar axis is tilted with respect to Earth's. Also Mars' orbit around the sun is inclined at a different angle than Mars. Finally the vernal equinox of Mars is also different. It took many years searching dusty old astronomy books in libraries to find the angle from Mars VE to it's ascending node. When I found it in the US Naval Observatory's Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac, I started to work on a transformation matrix to convert Earth-centered celestial coordinates to Mars-centered coordinates. The result is a 10x10 matrix, which I will post in the near future. In 1996 I wrote a C program to process the coordinates for over 2000 stars. Then I plotted the stars on graph paper and transfered this to a Photoshop project which is shown here. Currently I'm converting it to Visio. It's easy to see the difference between the celestial shperes of Mars and Earth. Look at the Northern Hemisphere map on MarsAtlas2000. You can see the star Polaris is at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper. Polaris is the North Star of Earth. If you could stand on the North Pole of Earth and look straight up, you would be looking at Polaris. A similar star chart for Earth would show Polaris in the center of the Northern Hemisphere map. The polar axis of Mars is tilted with respect to Earth's, so it points in a different direction. If you stand on the North Pole of Mars and look straight up, you will be looking in the direction of Deneb, a bright star, which is the North Star of Mars.