I've found the way to get the best Mars shots, stay up past midnight marking exams, until Mars it at its highest, the wind is at its stillest, and the turbulence is at it lowest. This one actually looks like a planet, rather than a fuzzy semi deflated beachball, and has a more than passing resemblance to what Mars was predicted to look like. This is about as good as it gets, I'm limited by a number of things, pixel size, resolution of the stacking program, and the fact I don't have a clock drive. To get better images without buying new kit (must resist urge to buy ToUCam) I would have to stack more frames. Stacking multiple frames averages out the bad seeing and reinforces features that are consistent. I've stacked about 40 frames here, having tossed about 20 (and this was under good
conditions). Many of the really nice webcam images you see have stacked over a 100 images, but 60 frames represents about 30 Meg for me, so I'm reluctant to take up more disk territory. Still, It doesn't look half bad. The purpose of this is not to skite, but to show what people can do with really simple and cheap gear.
I've lined up a selection of my Mars shots here. Apart from the fact that the early ones are really wobbly (I should go back and restack, being ruthless in discarding, this might make a little bit of improvement), you can see that Mars is gradually diminishing, as it recedes from us. One night I might try and get Mars rotating, if I can stay awake that long.