Entries tagged as Jupiter

Jupiter and its satellites under adverse weather

Europa - Ganymede - Jupiter - Io - Callisto on June 10, 2016

Yesterday's sky was full of light clouds that became thicker as times passed. It was just enough see very bright stars and planets, so I decided to check how large the planets would appear with my old Tamron 270mm lens on my Sony A5000 camera. Jupiter came out to be about 11 pixels wide, or about 3.3 arc seconds per pixel. I then attached the camera to the telescope and saw that the planet was about 64 pixel wide, or about 0.56 arc seconds per pixel. This is more or less in line with the 1500mm focal length.

Since Jupiter was still somewhat "photographable" even with the cloud cover, I decided to take some more photos and stacked them to produce this nice result with all four Galilean satellites in view. The last time I took a photo like this was three years ago.

Telescope: Celestron NexStar 6SE
Device: Sony A5000 (prime focus)
Settings: (1500mm) - ISO 100 - 1/2s - (f/10)
Filters: None
Time: 2016-06-10 21:48 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
20 photos stacked with PIPP 2.5.6 and RegiStax

Triple planet observation 2016

Photographing Mars out the window on a clear night

With a nearly perfect weather returning last night, I set out to point the telescope out the window once again. This time, I installed the Baader M&S filter as I planned last week. It was an excellent time to take photos of the planets - it was not only about 42 to 44 hours away from the closest approach of Mars in 2016, but Jupiter's Great Red Spot was in view. At this approach, Mars will be at its largest apparent diameter since November 20, 2005 and it won't be surpassed until June 19, 2018. For future reference, next closest approach will happen on July 31, 2018 and that itself won't be surpassed until the one in September 2035.

Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars observed on May 29 & 30, 2016

I planned just for Jupiter and Mars at first, but Saturn edged into the view at the left of the window after midnight. In the end I was able to take photos of all three planets in a single session similar to what I did a year ago, except that Venus was replaced with Mars. The filter did seem to work okay, giving me a better look at the clouds of Jupiter and the dark features of Mars.

Telescope: Celestron NexStar 6SE + X-Cel LX 9mm eyepiece
Device: iPhone 6S Plus (afocal)
Filters: Baader Moon & Skyglow
Location: Naju, Korea
Stacked with PIPP 2.5.6 and RegiStax

Jupiter (200 photos): 29mm - ISO 160 - 1/25s - f/2.2 @ 2016-05-29 21:54-21:56 KST
Saturn (200 photos): 29mm - ISO 250 - 1/15s - f/2.2 @ 2016-05-30 00:16-00:17 KST
Mars #1 (150 photos): 29mm - ISO 80 - 1/30s - f/2.2 @ 2016-05-29 22:02-22:03 KST
Mars #2 (300 photos): 29mm - ISO 50 - 1/40s - f/2.2 @ 2016-05-30 00:21-00:22 KST

Triple planet observation

Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter in a single sighting

On the Memorial Day in Korea earlier this month, the night sky was clear and had three planets shining brightly in the sky at the same time. I took my astrophotography equipment outside and got some burst mode photos of the planets.

It seemed that Venus was quite bright and the default camera app didn't have enough adjustments available to make it dark enough to reveal any details on the half-disc. Also, Jupiter now being in the lower altitude hampered the details somewhat. Other than that, things turned out fine. It was nice to have a direct comparison of the apparent sizes between the planets.

Telescope: Celestron NexStar 6SE + 5mm eyepiece
Device: iPhone 6 Plus (afocal)
Filters: None
Location: Naju, Korea
Stacked with RegiStax

Settings: 29mm - ISO 400 - 1/15s - f/2.2
Time: 2015-06-06 21:44 KST
30 photos

Settings: 29mm - ISO 250 - 1/30s - f/2.2
Time: 2015-06-06 21:40 KST
100 photos

Settings: 29mm - ISO 320 - 1/30s - f/2.2
Time: 2015-06-06 21:16 KST
100 photos

Jupiter photo from iPhone's video shoot

Processed image of Jupiter from an iPhone 6 Plus video recording

Lots of planetary photos from amateur astronomers seem to be derived from a small video camera attached to the telescope. I do have lots of smartphones that could serve a similar purpose, so decided to make use of them instead. Holding it steady in front of the eyepiece was a problem, as evidenced by my earlier attempt, so some sort of an adapter was needed.

Attaching iPhone 6 Plus to Celestron telescope with Snapzoom adapter

This is where Snapzoom digiscoping adapter came in. I originally bought this several months ago to photograph stars using binoculars, but it could be made to work with telescopes by attaching an included weight. After lots of paddings here and there, my iPhone 6 Plus was able to fit into the adapter and work with the eyepieces that I owned.

Once my NexStar 6SE telescope was aligned with the stars so that I could track any celestial objects, I slid the phone-adapter-eyepiece assembly into the telescope and began looking at Jupiter and the Moon, the biggest targets.

And this is how Jupiter showed up on the screen. The bands and the Great Red Spot were faintly visible, just as I saw with my naked eyes. The shakiness due to the atmospheric turbulence was also quite apparent. I recorded the sight for two minutes and processed the resulting video through PIPP. Finally, the processed video was stacked and sharpened with RegiStax. The final result, as you saw at the beginning, has a more "natural" feel than the ones from SX50 HS for some reason.

Telescope: Celestron NexStar 6SE + 5mm eyepiece
Device: iPhone 6 Plus (afocal)
Settings: 29mm - 1920x1080 - 30fps - f/2.2
Filters: None
Time: 2015-04-27 21:57-59 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
300 frames stacked with RegiStax

First good Jupiter shots from NexStar 6SE

Getting sharper image of Jupiter from SX50 HS without using integrated zoom

After fixing the collimator screw problem, I spent some time getting my Celestron NexStar 6SE properly collimated. To see if this improved the sights, I pointed the telescope to Jupiter. Sure enough, I could see the details of the clouds on the surface much better. I could even make out the Great Red Spot.

I wanted to capture this on camera, so I attached my Canon EOS 450D DSLR directly to the telescope tube for some prime focus astrophotography. But for reasons I still haven't figured out yet, the photos couldn't resolve any details - the planet was just a yellowish disc. I'd have to take photos of the Moon to see what's going on in the coming days.

Still, I didn't want to waste a good sighting opportunity, so I pulled out my usual astrophotography gear, SX50 HS, and took the photos of Jupiter through the eyepiece and the barlow lens attached to the Celestron NexStar 6SE without using the optical zoom. This yielded a pretty good result, especially considering that I just held the camera up the eyepiece by hand. The disc is also about 2.75 times the diameter compared to what would've been possible with the camera's integrated 50x zoom (0.53 vs. 1.46 arc seconds).

Telescope: Celestron NexStar 6SE + 25mm eyepiece + 2.5x barlow
Device: Canon SX50 HS (afocal)
Settings: 24mm - ISO 80 - 1/80s - f/3.4
Filters: None
Time: 2015-03-27 01:14 KST
Location: Naju, Korea

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