clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Animations

I reprocessed one of the images I used in the animation in my last post and I found I could be a little more aggressive on the wavelets, so I thought I would post 2 more animations.  The first one shows Callisto below the planet's disk, but in batch processing the 7 images used to create the animation, a purple haze also showed up in the images.  I removed most if not all by stretching the histogram in the 2nd animation, but in the latter images, I lost Callisto, so I'm posting both gif's.

I still see some purple haze in a couple of the images in this second image. Also, there is a variance in the amount of detail in image #4.

There is substantially more detail on all of the disk in these animations.  The first gif seems more consistent between theframes.  I posted this one because some of the features seem a little clearer to me on this one.

Oh, some details about these animations:  Each image used (there are 7) consist of 1000 frames stacked in Registax 6.    The AVI's were taken roughly 9 minutes apart.  Each AVI was processed identical to eachother - wavelet, etc.  The images were cropped, and saved as .png's.  From there, the 7 png's were reloaded in Registax where the planets were aligned.  I then saved the batch, overwriting the unstacked images.  Then I worked on the brightness on each image, also in Registax, then once that was done, I created the animated gif at

My Best Jupiter Images Yet

I was busy yesterday.  I rebuilt the optical tube on my 127mm because that home made focuser just wasnt aligned and I could not improve on it.  The optical tube was also too short, which I made up the difference using a piece of 2 inch pvc.  I had another piece of 5 inch tube that was a little bigger than the correct size, so I cut the tube, and it is now the perfect length.  I have also aquired those 2 114mm reflectors.  I removed one of the focusers from the worse of the 2 scopes and epoxied it to a new end plate made from a piece of raw electronic printed circuit board material.

Everything is nicely aligned now.  I started photographing Jupiter around 0400 local (0800Z).  I finished the session taking a sequence of 7-1000 frame AVI's to be used to make this animation:

As you can see, the detail that you can see on the planet is real and not noise due to sharpening.  I actually was a little conservative on the amount of sharpening that I did on the image.  The GRS is visible, as well as a barge in the NEB.  Note that the NNTeB and the NTeB are both resolved and rotate.  Detail in the EZ is resolved.  Going to the south, I am resolving a north and south component in the SEB with white spots seperating the 2.  The STeB & SSTeB are there, but poorly resolved, however you can see rotation there.

This is my first attempt at an animation.  I havent quite figured out how to make an avi animation, but this animated gif worked out.

The following images are images I had taken earlier in the evening, testing the changes made to the scope.   I could see right away from the images on the screen that I had made progress.  My most detailed still image I believe is to the left.  I have never been able to get this much detail before.  Also, the red spot is more yellowish in this image, which approximates the color I have seen in other recent photos.

I took quite a few AVI's this evening, and if I posted everything, this would be a rather long post.  I will, therefore, put up only the best images I took this morning.

This last image is a tossup between the "best" image at the top of this post.  This image shows more detail in the white areas than the other, but the other shows a bit more contrast.   The 2 images were taken about 5 minutes apart.  The difference between the 2 are mostly post processing differences.

This morning's conditions seemed quite good, transparency was excellent because of the lower humidity, and seeing wasnt half bad, better than average.

I am still having trouble finding the optimum focus.  It is difficult to tell on the screen .  Basically, I have been shooting for sharpness on the fully lit side of the disk, as well as best contrast in the belts.

Also, I was able to see (but not photograph) Mars.  I believe it is still quite small.  The next morning I do this, perhaps I'll take an AVI or 2 of Mars, just to see if I can see anything with it so far away.  I doubt i will be able to, which is why I didnt attempt it this morning.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jupiter, Morning of 7/29/11

I was up again in the middle of the night, so I ran a photo session.  Conditions werent very good, as I was imaging thru some light fog.  I needed the dew heater to keep the scope from getting wet.  The later images werent too bad, including one taken during the early morning dawn.

Here is what I got:

This was taken thru some pretty bright dawn light.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cleomedes, Burckhardt, Geminus and part of Messala

This image was taken on 7/5/2011 and is a nice image of the 4 craters, Cleomedes, Burckhardt, Geminus and the southern half of Messala just above Mare Crisium.

Mare Crisium

This one is a mini-mosaic of Mare Crisium and the surrounding area.  This image was taken on 7/5/2011

Vallis Alpes

From the same date.  I cant believe I never posted these, theyre really not too bad.  2 images.  I'm not sure if theyre from the same AVI, they might be totally identical, perhaps different stacking settings.  Taken 6/7/2011

Crater Walter

Another one I have never posted, this one of crater Walter.  Taken 6/7/2011 also.

blown up of the craters

Crater Aristillus

I was going thru some old AVI's and ran across some I've never posted.  This one is of crater Aristillus.  Its not perfect, somewhat blurry, but I thought I'd put it up in case I wanted to compare to future images of the area.  Taken 6/7/2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jupiter 7/22/11 Morning

I couldnt sleep last night, possibly because I went to bed at 8:30pm.  Woke up around 2:30, and I have to work today so I'll probably be dragging.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to photograph Jupiter.  The weather was clear, but the temperature was 80F at 5AM.  I got my best image at the end of the session because the telescope sits in an air conditioned room, and when I took it out, a thick layer of dew formed on the optics.  I installed my dew heater and dried the objective off.  It took at least an hour for the dew to stop forming!

I'll post a few images, one is actually quite decent, the others are in various amounts of focus.  It's very difficult to focus with dew on the objective!

This is the last image I took.

Here are a few more.

These images are in ascending order in which they were taken.  As you can see, the GRS is setting in the first image.  The dew severely blurred the first 2 images. Tthe last image isnt too bad as the objective had finally dried totally.  Transparency was about average, but the seeing was a little below average.

I was imaging from about 3AM - 4:30AM  (0700 - 0830Z)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saturn 7/20

Was working on the telescope today, I removed the objective from the cell and checked to make sure the lenses were in correctly.  Also cleaned them up some, there was some dirt between the lenses.  I took it out and tested on Saturn, but Saturn was quite low, and the humidity was very high, so the transparency was not great.  I took 3 AVI's, and these are the images I was able to get.

These actually arent bad considering how bad the conditions were.

Also, I was having a problem with my XP laptop with Sharpcap.  It would not capture, so I took the Windows 7 machine out, but I have less control over the camera with that pc, most notably with the color balance, and I could not zoom, so I was stuck with what I had got.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oval BA 7/16 image

I was restacking a few images taken recently of Jupiter.  I was looking at other's images of Jupiter lately, and was trying to figure out where the Oval BA was located on the disk.  I noticed that the GRS was not visible in images where the BA was shown.  Therefore, I pulled my best image from 7/16, taken at at 0908Z (EDT + 4 Hours), reprocessed it, (a bit over processed) to bring out the Oval BA.  I think I captured in this image.

See if you can see it, its centered on the disk located in the STeB / STeZ.  It is pale yellow in this image.  I'm pretty sure thats it.

Being I easily captured the GRS, I thought I'd see if I could resolve the BA, so went looking for it.

Notice also the bright white spots in the NTrZ.  Its odd however that the detail was lost above the North Tropical Zone, no bands are defined north of  the zone.  I have seen numerous white spots in this tropical zone in other images.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Some "Last Ditch" Saturn Images

Saturn is getting rather low in the sky, and as a consequence, the planet is getting dimmer and blurrier.  Tonight wasnt half bad however, as I was able to resolve the Cassini division nicely.  The images are rather small tonight, because when I zoomed, I lost what little detail I got.  I dont see the Serpent Storm in these images.  Maybe someone with a good eye will see it.  Saturn is a lot more difficult than Jupiter, thats for sure.

Here's what I got:

The 1st image was uncropped, and is the actual 640X480 stack.  The 4th image I used a small amount of camera digital zoom.
The 1st image I used some color correction, the rest I did not use any.
All images were taken with the 127mm with the 3X barlow.  Most used 1/10 sec shutter, with about 25% gain and 25% or so gamma.  This is getting much harder to image.  It will be one of my last Saturn images for the year, I imagine.

Jupiter & The Great Red Spot

I was looking at a planetarium program and saw that the Great Red Spot would be visible, so I got up again at 3am and went out and photographed.  Got it.  Also photographed 2 sets about half hour apart so you can see how quick this planet revolves.  The imaging took place between 3:20AM - 4:41AM EDT.

The last image has some sort of strange blur, not sure what caused it.  You can see how the spot rotated around the disk in the hour or so I was photographing.

Also got a picture of the 4 Galilean  moons.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

First Jupiter of the Year

Everyone is taking pictures of Jupiter, and in all honesty, I kind of miss my old friend.  Jupiter is much easier to image than Saturn- its brighter and much larger.  With all of the progress I made with Saturn in the past few months, I felt quite confident I would do a pretty decent job with Jupiter.  Therefore, I woke up at 3:30AM local time just to take a few pictures.

When I got up, there were broken, thin clouds moving in.  I didnt have time to set up until the final images just before dusk.  I took several, attempting to photograph thru the clouds with mixed results.  Just before dusk there was a big break and I was able to take this image.  Just to the left of the planet you will see Ganymede quite easily.  Unfortunately, the Great Red Spot was either not up or I was unable to resolve it, but actually, I think it was on the other side of the disk, not visible.  This image is a wee bit over exposed to show the moon.  Io was also captured in this image, however for it to be plainly visible, I would have had to overexpose more.  If you click on the image and look to the right, you MIGHT be able to see it.

Here are a few more images that I had taken.
Adjusted color settings

Lots of cloud detail here.  Ganymede off to the left.

Experimenting with color settings

Greyscale.  Ganymede on the left.
These images give me some idea as to what to expect now with the 127mm, 3X barlow and Quickcam 4000.  Seeing was about average, transparency was variable.  Not the best morning to image, but I cant complain.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7/13 Saturn

Nothing remarkable, took 8 AVI's.  Saturn is getting pretty low, 20 degrees above the horizon when these were taken.  I'm just going to post 2 of the best images, one color, one b&w.  Seeing was so-so, but the elevation was low.  Cant wait for Jupiter to come up early enough so I can work with it.

A HUGE Thank You!

Hi Folks,
I thought I'd write all of my visitors a little note thanking you for visiting the site.  Yesterday this blog hit 10,000 hits, and it did so after it has only been in existence for 6 months.

I get a lot of comments and suggestions, and every once in a while someone points out an error, and I do try to accommodate everyone.  I removed the daytime moon image because there was a major boo-boo  that occurred when I put it together, and in all honesty, I dont have a clue what happened.  Thank you for that, I cant believe I didnt catch something so obvious.

What I'm saying is this:  I put images up here and sometimes I'm not 100% on everything.  I'm as new to astrophotography as this blog is.  I've learned a lot from all of you who come to visit the site, whether thru email posts or posts to the blog.  I think I've come a long way since I took my first picture of the moon using a point & shoot camera, but you all have guided me along the way, and I do thank you for that.

I'm glad that you all like what you see here for the most part.  If you see anything that is inaccurate, please point it out to me, we all learn from our mistakes and I am not offended by some constructive criticism.  I consider all visitors to my blog my friends, and I'm glad you take the time to look at my images and read the stories.


Monday, July 11, 2011

More Lunar Images - 7/10

These next images are images I also took last night but didnt get stacked until today.  The first is of Crater Plato, the second is Tycho, 2 areas that are well photographed, but I thought I would give it a shot again.  The Plato image isnt what I would have liked, it seems the last time I photographed it, I got a few tiny craters captured inside the big one, this image shows a bare, craterless floor.  The craterlets on Plato's floor are quite tiny, but I thought I would have been able to capture at least a few, but apparently not last night

Crater Plato

Some words on the conditions from last night's imaging session.  The seeing was exceptional most of the time.   Towards the end of the session, some small clouds moved in, and the seeing changed during the time it became partly cloudy.  The moon was "dancing" a bit in the scope for the last few images during times when the moon was fully unobstructed by the clouds.  Up until that point, the seeing was perfectly steady.

Crater Tycho

Moon with Excellent Seeing

Went and photographed areas of the moon which I havent been able to do in awhile.  Got some areas which turned out exceptionally good.

Sinus Iridium in color

Sinus Iridium B&W
Archimedes & the Apenine Mts
Copernicus & the Carpathian Mts
Clavius & west
Bullialdus & Southern Mare Nubium
Top of the moon, West of W Bond