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, October 30, 2011

Jupiter 1 Day Before Opposition

I was able to take some pictures of Jupiter 1 day before opposition.  There happened to be a transit of Io during my session, and I was going to create an animation, but I never got the focus quite right.  I'm thinking the objective is a little off of collimation in the refractor, as the focus varied across the field a little bit.  Since my animated frames didnt work out, I'll post the best of the frames here instead.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10/24 Jupiter

I am trying to photograph as often as I can as Jupiter comes into opposition.  I tried the dob, but the optics still arent aligned quite right, there was serious coma on everything so I took these images on the refractor:

Seeing wasnt quite as good as on the 22nd, but I was able to get reasonable detail.

Today (10/25) i received my nosepiece for the webcam, so I'll be using it on the next outing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jupiter 10/22/11 - My Best So Far

With Jupiter's opposition a little over a week away, I wanted to make sure I imaged during the next clear night that I was able.  The 22th was that night.  I was out for 2 different sessions.  The first session the sky had a thin layer of cloud which impaired the view somewhat.  Later in the evening, transparency improved substantially, and was able to take the best pictures to date.  I was also using the refractor, as I did some work on the dob, so the mirror was not aligned.

This image was taken during the first series under hazy sky.

This image was taken during the second session.  I had taken 3 AVI's during the 2nd session, ranging from 250 frames to 600 frames.  This is the 250 frame AVI.
The moons visible from top to bottom are Europa, Io and Callisto.

This next image is the 3rd image of the set, with 500 frames.  Seeing was also excellent, and Registax was set to use the best 90% of the frames - ALL of the frames were used with that setting.  Notice the detail in the equatorial zone.  I am seeing pink ovals in that area.  There is also detail visible in the NEB as well as the SEB.  This was a quick processing job, being I was excited to see what I had captured.  There is some onion skinning along the outer limb, but this next image, processed from the same AVI minimizes that effect.  I used different processing values, and also I did some color correction in Photoshop on this image as well:

As with all pictures in this blog, if you click the individual photo, you will see them in actual size.  This image I believe is my best Jupiter image to date.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A couple more Jupiter Pics - 10/14/11

Lubricated the dobsonian bearings with silicone lube last night and took the scope out and shot thru the clouds.  Had a few breaks in the cloud cover to get a couple of AVI's.  I am also experimenting more with different color and gamma settings, once I learned how to actually use those features in registax.

I actually only was able to take about 3-4 useable AVI's, but I'll post a few images with slightly different processing that seems to bring out a little more detail.  This AVI consists of about 200 useable frames.  Shutter speed 1/100 second with the image drifting across the field multiple times.  I used the 2X barlow with the QC4000.  Scope was the 6" Meade Starfinder dob I acquired for $22 at a state auction.  The black frames and blurred frames were edited out using VirtualDub.

These 2 are from the same avi.  Notice the pinkish spots right of center in the northern edge of the EZ.  It seems I saw those previously as well.

This image is from a shorter, different AVI, consisting of about 75 stacked frames.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another Jupiter Session - GRS

Was outside for a short time again last night, with a cold even.  Probably shouldnt have, but this time of year we have a limited number of clear nights, so I thought I would go with another run at Jupiter.  I'm getting better at imaging Jupiter with the dob, and I am getting some pretty good images with it.  I really wish it was on an eq mount tho.

Anyway, I think I got some of my best images so far.

The Great Red Spot is well resolved, as well as the grey around it.  The disk is also well lit, as Jupiter approaches opposition.

This last image is showing a fair amount of activity in the equatorial zone, with numerous white spots as well as 2 small pinkish storms either side of center.

The moon is Ganymede.

The main problem with a dob when using this high of magnification is keeping the planet in the field long enough to take enough frames to reduce the noise in the image.  Because there are no "slow motion" controls it is very difficult to reset it for another pass.  Most of these images, the planet is allowed to drift across the field and is then reset for another pass.  There are perhaps 125 or so usable frames out of about 500 in each AVI, so there is some noise in the images.

Seeing was average, about 3/5.  Transparency was so-so, as there was some high level haze but it wasnt too thick, just not as good as it has been the past few evenings.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jupiter 10/8

Had the scope out and tried a mosaic of the moon.  I learned you cannot do a good job with a mosaic as the dob does not rotate with the earth.  Craters dont line up, and the previous post of the last mosaic, if you zoom, you will see some rotational error.  The eq platform should help, if the session is less than an hour in length.

I was able to take some decent pictures of Jupiter, however.  I also used a slower frame rate which eliminated the onion skin effect that the faster previous post suffered from.  Here is what I got:

#3 and 4 are from the same AVI, but with slightly different processing.  I was able to stack about 120 frames on these 2 images.  I let it drift by and reset for another pass.  The only thing is, I'm not sure I had the focus down quite perfectly.  The problem with the dob is - you have to work fast to get things set.  Ther visible moon is Europa.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jupiter 10/6

Had the dob out and did some visual work with the moon.  I am also building an equatorial platform which I hope will aid in photography.  Anyway, when Jupiter was high enough to clear the trees, I photographed, and I was able to find it a couple of times with the 2X barlow.  The only problem is, I shot using 10 fps, which causes some onion skin effect.  I probably could have used a faster shutter speed, but as fast as it was moving, and the difficulty I was having keeping it in the field, I felt I was lucky to get the images I was able to get.  It seems to have been halfway decent anyway.  These are the full size images.

This was a short imaging session, around 0400Z.  You can plainly see the onion skin effect.  I'm not sure how much motion blur there is, and I dont recall the shutter speed either.

The 2 moons that you see are Ganymede on the left and Io on the right.  The GRS is almost about to rise.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Appenine Mts on the Dob

I did a mini mosaic of the Appenine Mts tonight.  I used the 2X barlow, imaging at 2400mm f/l

Considering each frame consisted of about 20 AVI frames, I thought it came out pretty well, especially being there is no tracking on the scope.

Jupiter on the Dob

I'm having some fun with this dob.  I think I got some pretty decent images of Jupiter.  Unfortunately, its pretty tricky to keep in the field, so I did not use the barlow.  An equatorial table is in the works, but for now, its the camera in the focuser, running 1200 f/l.

I am just beginning to catch a shadow transit of Io.  I got too tired to keep at it and catch the transit a little better.  I am happy, however with the detail thats beginning to show on the EZ.  The GRS is easily visible in the eyepiece as well as in single frames.

Also, I worked on collimation, and I believe its much closer than it was during the last set of images last week.

The moons are, from left to right...  Io, then Jupiter, then Europa, then Ganymede.  There is no special enhancements done to the image to make the moons visible.  They appeared in the image during normal wavelet sharpening.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Moon Mosaic With a 6 inch Dobsonian

Well, I didnt think I could do it, but....
I took a mosaic of the first quarter moon using the dob.  It came out so good, I think its my best so far.  I imaged this at f/8 - no barlow, just the webcam in the focuser.  I ran it in "drift mode", and each frame is a stack of 15 frames that were close enough together to stack.  5 fps.

Here it is:
I took a few other images as well, using the 2X barlow.  I'll post those here as well.  These are random shots...I have more yet to process.
I'm not sure where this is at the moment, I will try to find it on the map.  I dont even know at this point if north is up.

This is Mare Serenititus  I do not believe I had the barlow in for this image.