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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2nd Baffle Added. Preparing for Upcoming Lunar Pictures

The scope is starting to perform like I would expect now.  I added a 2nd baffle and fixed the problem with the first one, being too small and choking off the aperture.  Because the session where I captured the shadow transit was a poor test being the conditions were so bad, I couldnt resist trying it out last night (8/30/2011).

I took a couple with the planet low - about 20 degrees and got something like this:

I was rather impressed with the images, so around 1AM I went back out.  Dew was just starting to form, and I did not have the dew heater on the scope, and not enough time really to warm things up, but I took some pictures anyway.  Things werent too bad however, because these are what I was able to capture:

The last 2 images, the dew was really beginning to interfere with things.  The 2nd one came out quite sharp, the large red oval in the NEB is quite sharp and pretty well defined.

There are no moons visible in these photos, they were all too far away.  The next shadow transit will be Friday night/Saturday morning, when Io's shadow will transit, and you can bet I'll be outside with the scope and camera.  It will be at a favorable time - 2:30AM local time, so if the sky is clear, I should have some good images to post.

I am looking forward to what this will do with the moon now that  I was able to increase the resolution substantially.  If Jupiter is any test, I should be seeing some rather small craterlets that I havent been able to see before.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shadow Transit of Europa

Since I was never able to capture a shadow transit as of yet, I happened to notice that one was going to happen around 4:30 local time, so I got up to try to capture the event.  When I went out with the scope and saw a heavy haze of thin cloud cover, I wasnt sure I would capture it.  The images of Jupiter arent real good - some are better than others, but I was able to capture both the moon and the shadow it projected on the planet's surface.

I am going to include some of the better images.  Remember, I'm shooting thru poorly transparent sky - about a 2/10.  The first image is a map of the system.

Here I labelled the major features.  The shadow is from Europa, so you can see, the sun is shining on the planet from the left.  The shadow follows the Great Red Spot and is to the left of it.

The following images show various images I've taken, again with emphasis on the shadow of Europa on the disk.

The last image appears to have a white spot between the redspot and the shadow.  I dont believe there is an actual formation, but an illusion caused by the shape of the small white area between the red spot and the shadow.  The shadow is actually traveling faster than the planet is spinning and will most likely overtake the GRS.

I would also comment that it's too bad actually that the clouds had moved in, the sky was nice and transparent when I went to bed, but I knew they were coming.  It was a crap shoot really, and I wasnt sure I would be able to get anything, but I got up anyway and was somewhat surprised as to what I got.

I also added a 2nd baffle in the scope, and in doing so, I noticed that the one I had, the hole in the center was too small, I had effectively stopped down the thing to about 90mm.  Of course I had fixed that when I found it.  I was hoping for better skies so I could test these changes.  Considering the amount of detail I did capture, I'm sure it is an improvement, but I wont know for sure until we get a clear night.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rethinking My Image Processing

Now that I'm getting a bit more detail, I've been playing with different settings in Registax as well as doing a little work on them in Photoshop.  I think I came up with a nice image with a lot of detail, and have balanced sharpness and noise.

This image was wavelet and color balanced in Registax.  Then ran it thru photoshop and rotated it.  Then I adjusted the brightness along the edges to give it a more uniform brightness across the globe without overdo'ing it.  Applied a little motion sharpness, then a little unsharp mask to come up with this final image.

I ended up taking a LOT of AVI's this morning.  Seeing appeared a lot better than yesterday's images.  Transparency was quite good, although every so often a thin cloud came by, but it was extremely thin, and noticed the brightness changing mostly on wxastrocap's histogram readings.

Here are a few more images I took last night, although I didnt go thru all the steps in processing...

Nice clear shot showing some white spots on the EZ
Taken using the green filter.

Jupiter, Io and Europa in that order

OK Shot showing the GRS.
One more thing.  I am seeing a difference between the 2 Quickcam 4000's.  The last picture was taken with the worse of the 2.  The round artifacts on this camera arent near as bad on the better one.  Trouble is, I'm not sure which is which.  I will have to take one apart to see which has the Sony and which has the Sharp CCD.  I can tell the 2 cameras apart, but I dont know which is the Sony.

The images taken with the green filter sure shows the detail, but they do have to be shot in monochrome, which makes for a less pleasing image.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Best Jupiter Yet 8/26/2011

It seems the baffling made a substantial difference.  The wee hours of 8/26 had very clear skies, but steadiness wasnt very good.  Nevertheless, I got probably the best Jupiter pictures to date.  I have photographed during better conditions, but the images I got on this evening are far superior, and I can only imagine what I'll get with better seeing conditions.

As you can see, the oval BA is resolved.  I can also make out some color in the center, and a grayish border is also there.  The color isnt perfect, because I also noticed an increase color fringe due to the fast 2 element objective.  Where I only had blue color fringe, I now have some red starting to appear as well, and it is becoming more difficult to eliminate it.  This is why the planet has a greenish hue.

If you can ignore the hue, you will see 2 additional, separate northern belts are resolved and appear somewhat busy.  The Equatorial zone is showing more detail now.  I'm not sure whats up with the southern belt where the BA is located, usually these belts are somewhat straight, but in this image it is very crooked.

Overall, I am quite pleased considering the seeing appeared to be about 3/10.  The planet was expanding and contracting wildly as I was taking the AVI's.

Here is a monochrome image taken from a different AVI, which was shot in monochrome.  The amount of detail, especially in the equatorial zone is even greater, with some additional detail in the north polar region.  Notice the white spots near the north pole.  Again the Oval BA is well resolved in the southern region.

This is one of the first images taken during this session.  Again, a lot of detail.  There appears to be a bit more detail here in the equatorial zone in this color image than in the first image, however although the Oval BA is resolved, it is not as sharp in this image.

The only real difference between these images and previous images is the addition of that one baffle in the optical tube.  It was suggested that a couple more would be optimal for this scope, and that might very well be true, but with the addition of only 1, it sure seemed to make quite an improvement.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Added baffles. Sample Jupiter Images

I added a baffle yesterday and repainted the inside of the tube with a little better quality flat black.  It appears to have made a difference.  Tonights conditions werent terrific, but it seems like the contrast has been enhanced some.  Transparency was bad, but seeing appeared to be ok, as it wasnt jumping around much.  The rising moon was a different story however, but it was low and I'm not going to post any images of the moon, as I dont feel it was a good test.

 This one appears to have a decent amount of detail.  Beginning to see some activity in the EZ.  There is a dark red spot in the SEB, just ahead of the GRS, which in this image is just over the horizon.  CM I: 155 II: 82  III: 15

 The moons which may be visible in this image (they were when I processed) are Europa on the left and Io and Ganymede on the right.

 This image is showing some activity in the STrZ rising.  I: 165 II: 93 III: 25.5  The same 3 moons may be visible in this image as well.

Here is a monochrome image.  I believe when we get better conditions, the amount of detail will improve.

This image and the next were taken using Sharpcap on my Windows 7 laptop.  These were taken about 30 minutes later, and show
 CM I: 196 II: 123 III: 56

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jupiter & Moon Frames from 8/17/11

Took a few pictures on the 17th also, unfortunately the seeing hasnt been real good as of late, but I got a couple good ones...

First the Jupiter images.

Nothing spectacular, but you can see the GRS setting on the right.

Now for some moon segments

Rupes Altai
This is a nice one of Rupes Altai with the sun hitting it from the other direction.  Instead of it being bright, it is now a shadow.

 Here is Mare Nectarus with the sun in the opposite direction of all of my previous pictures of this area.

Jupiter 8/16/2011

The moon wasnt the only thing I imaged on 8/16, I also got this image of Jupiter, but it wasnt as high in the sky as the other images I have taken, so the detail isnt quite as good, but It's not too bad.

Different avi, but it seems I'm able to extract a little more detail and sharpness if I enhance the green slightly and reduce the blue.  This is most likely due to the blurred blue light coming from my achromatic objective running at f5.5.  There is a blue halo on all my images that I have to remove.

Mosaic - 'Along the Terminator' 8/16/2011

I took 20 avi's of the moon on 8/16, and after looking, it seems I'm able to make a mosaic of the terminator with nothing missing, so I did.  Here it is...

This was made up of 19 individual 640X480 images glued together.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Can You See the Apollo Moon Landings Through A Telescope?

This has been asked of me a number of times, so I thought I would post a story and answer the question on here.  Some time ago, I photographed portions of the moon's surface with as much resolution as I could do, and I have taken one of those images and cropped it to show the area around Apollo 11's landing site.

Here you can see the southern part of Mare Tranquillitatis.  The little white circle shows the approximate published landing site.  There is a small crater close to it, called "Moltke".  To reference the size, Moltke is 4 miles (7km) across.

The lunar landers measured 14 feet by 13.3 feet square.

In order to see the lander, a telescope 1000 times more powerful than mine might possibly show a bright pixel, MAYBE.  Couple that with atmospheric distortion that tends to blur everything, using even the most powerful earth based telescope it would be completely impossible to even come close to seeing any detail of any of the landing sites.

To take it one step farther - what about Hubble?  Can it see one of the landing sites?  Well, to quote ""...

"Can Hubble see the Apollo landing sites on the Moon?
No, Hubble cannot take photos of the Apollo landing sites.
An object on the Moon 4 meters (4.37 yards) across, viewed from HST, would be about 0.002 arcsec in size. The highest resolution instrument currently on HST is the Advanced Camera for Surveys at 0.03 arcsec. So anything we left on the Moon cannot be resolved in any HST image. It would just appear as a dot."

Remember, the moon is about 250,000 miles away, and in order to see something 14 feet square at that distance would take one large telescope in orbit.  The best we can do is photograph the terrain near the landing sites, but we cannot see the site itself.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Southeastern Oceanus Procellarum

I have no idea why I put this image up.  The only named crater in this image is at the bottom of the image, Siralis.   Grimaldi is just over the terminator, its western wall is visible covering the top half left edge.  Rima Grimaldi is visible in the mountainous area on the left.  The light streaks on the mare floor are lava flows.

Mare Humorum

Although I had photographed Mare Humorum before, I dont remember if I ever photographed it in its entirety.  This image uses parts of 4 frames to create the entire mare and surrounding area.

Mare Humorum is 391km in diameter and covers 113,000 square kilometers.  It is a large feature, but is one of the smaller mare's.  If you look real close along the eastern edge of the mare, you will see a 2nd ring a little farther east.  It is thought that the mare's are very old impact craters from tremendously large chunks that struck the moon early in its formation.  The dark floor was caused by the tremendous energy created in the impact, and what you see is molten rock (lava) caused by the energy of the huge impact.


It was so clear last night, I just couldnt stop!  I kept taking more and more AVI's, like this one of  the area around Vieta, and all the detail surrounding it.
Vieta is the large crater in the center of the photo.  Vieta is 90 km in diameter.  The crater southeast is Fourier.

I posted this image because of all of the detail in this area.  Thats Mare Humorium on the east edge.

Crater Schickard 8/12/11

It was so clear and transparent last night, and the moon was higher in the sky, I was able to get some decent pictures of the waxing gibbous moon that I have never taken before, like this area:
The largge crater is Schickard, on the western limb.  These photos of 8/12 were all taken with the green filter and the 3X barlow.  Seeing was pretty good, and the transparency was excellent.  Schickard is a big crater, measuring 233 km in diameter.  The crater walls and the floor is riddled with smaller impacts.

Crater Aristarchus

An area that caught my eye as I was photographing the moon last night was crater Aristarchus and its surrounding area.  This was also one of my better images taken.  I also took the liberty to resample the stack 2X to better show the landscape around the bright rayed crater in the northwestern quadrant of the lunar surface.  Vallis Schroten is very well defined also.

This is the X2 image, cropped to show the area of interest.

These images were taken on 8/13/11 around 1:00AM local time using the 127mm refractor with the green filter and the 3X barlow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jupiter 8/10

Photographed Jupiter again, this time I was trying to correct the brightness issue I've had in the past.  This time I got everything too bright.  A couple of images were salvageable, but they are lacking detail.  Part of it might be focus, as it is more difficult to focus on a brighter object.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jupiter 8/8

Couldnt sleep again, and photographed Jupiter.  I'm beginning to think I have something wrong...with ME, being I'm not sleeping well.  Nothing fantastic, but here are the images...

This image was photographed using the green filter and adjusted the hue to appear more reddish.  The green filter seemed to bring out the moons a bit better, as well as detail on the white areas on the disk.

brightened slightly to show 3 of 4 moons.
These were all taken between 0635 - 0700Z.  Seeing was poor.  These were photographed right after a thunderstorm which occurred about an hour before.  The temperature had cooled about 20 degrees, and there was some surface fog, caused by the rain evaporating off of the warmer ground.

Also, I have 2 Quickcam 4000's Trouble is, I dont know which is which.  One has the Sharp CCD, the other the Sony chipset.  I am also trying to determine which camera takes better images.  When I have more time, I'm going to try both cameras and label the images as to which cam I used.  I have been getting some kind of issue with the brightness gradient on the disk, as seen by dark circles on the disk.  I'm trying to determine if this issue is camera specific.