They brought their own telescopes, digital cameras and Web cams to document Mars, Gary Honis, assistant director of the GHAAS, said.
"Using a Web cam, we can take movies of Mars," Honis
"We can take up to 10 minutes of footage.
We want a good crisp image of Mars so we use the Web cam."
In a 10-minute time span, 6,000 images of Mars are captured.
"Our software will pick out the best image," Honis
"The end result is a detailed image of Mars."
Viewing Mars around this time of the year means astronomers can see it around 9:30 p.m., Honis
However, the best time to view is when Mars is highest in the sky, which is around 1:30 a.m.
"That's when most details on Mars can be seen," Honis
Although this year's event is 60,000 years in the making, Mars and Earth normally move closer to each other every two years when the two planets lap each other's orbits.
"We only get a chance to do this every two years," Honis
"Just like earth, Mars has a polar ice cap," Honis
Another feature Honis and fellow GHAAS member Bob Visgaitis observed Aug. 15 from Honis' driveway in Conyngham was Phobos, one of the moons of Mars.
20-inch Starmaster telescope, the pair observed Phobos
, a rare discovery for Earth-based telescopes.
That term is given when the jet stream interferes with viewing, Honis
Although it was a clear night, the stars appeared to be twinkling because of the jet stream.
"The jet stream causes distortion," Honis