Conlin Hill Observatory -- 42° 7' N, 71° 54' W

Image Gallery - Planets  

Saturn - posted 3/31/08 Firstlight with my new Neximage planetary camera, yea! I applied the resolution improving "raw mode" firmware to the camera and used Registax to align and combine the frames. I did a little touch up in Photoshop, including curves and noise reduction. I didn't adjust the color at all and I'm very pleased with it. The last time I had a true planetary camera it was a SAC7 which gave a strong magenta caste to everything. Seeing was poor on this night and I'm still learning how to work the camera. Next time out I will gather much more data, I'd like to get a couple thousand frames and combine the best 10%.
6/8/2004 Venus: For the first time since 1882 Venus made a transit across the face of the Sun. The event was well under way by the time the Sun rose over the peak of my house. I was able to squeeze off a few shots with the Coolpix 995 just before third contact. This was done using eyepiece projection with a 15mm Plössl, providing magnification of about 166X. Unfortunately clouds caused a brief interruption at the moment of third contact, but just before, I was able to get this shot showing a hint of the "black-drop" effect. This is where a dark protrusion appears to reach out, connecting the sillouette of the planet with the dark background behind the Sun. Click the top image for a closer look.

I put together the shots that I was able to take in order to produce an animation of the event. As noted, I only got the egress, but it's fun to watch. Click the bottom image to see the animation.

5/13/04 Jupiter: I didn't get much planetary work in this season but now that I've got the CoolPix tamed I think I'll be doing a lot more solar sytstem stuff! A friend sent me an article saying that on this night certain areas of New England and the East Coast would see jupiter occulted by the ISS. I was all set to go but the space station went just south of Jupiter (bummer). In any case, I got a decent shot of the planet and 3 moons.
10/10/03 Mars Retrospective. These 4 shots, taken over the last 4 months show not only the growing and now shrinking size of Mars as seen from Earth, but they also highlight the shrinking and now growing Martian South Polar Ice Cap as the Southern hemisphere of Mars has gone from Spring to Summer and is now moving into Martian Fall. The distance between Earth and Mars is increasing rapidly now as the orbits of the two planets diverge.
10/10/03 Mars is shrinking fast!
9/13/03 Yes Virginia, Mars does spin on it's axis. In fact, the Martian day is almost the same length as that of Earth, 24 hours 37 minutes and 48 seconds. I decided to do a movie by taking shots every 15 minutes or so. It was mostly clear but I did battle clouds a couple of times that caused some delay between certain frames. The image to the right is the best of the bunch. Click on it to see the Mars movie, and all the other frames that were used to create it.

08/29/03 Decent detail in this one but the jet stream is playing havoc with the seeing. Looking at Mars has been like looking through moving water. I've included a map and data from a nice freeware program called Mars Previewer II. At one point I guess they had an infected version out there but I picked this one up clean from an astronomy club site.
8/20/03 It's almost as close and as big as it's going to get. Seeing was very unsteady, like looking through a fish bowl, but it was clear, a refreshing change from the near constant clouds and rain we've had for the last month.

7/20/03 More Mars! This one resampled pretty well...

7/13/03 I got some good data on this night under the full moon. I used a tool that's new to me, Registax, to align and register the images. It does all the quality selection work I used to spend hours doing automatically. It's an excellent tool and has many features I have yet to explore.

Click on this image of Mars to see the processing steps.

7/5/03 Here's another, this one is rather ugly, poor seeing conditions followed by over sampling and over processing. Rumor has it a Martian dust storm is starting up, hope it doesn't go global before I get some better pics!
6/21/03 Let the Mars apparition begin! This is my first ever image of the red planet, taken at F20 with the SAC7 camera. Images should be getting more detailed as opposition approaches in August. This year Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been in about 60,000 years! Don't miss it!
1/26/03 Yea! My first decent Jupiter shot with the Great Red Spot just left of top center. I took 20 second movies every five minutes for 2 hours. This was the best of what I got. Click Jupiter to watch it spin!
1/27/03 Pretty happy about how this one came out! This image really highlights the 3 dimensional nature of this captivating planet. To create this image I took several 20 second AVIs and spent a great deal of time picking out the best 30 of almost 900 frames. The good material required very little processing, but a Lucy-Richardson deconvolve did wonders for bringing out the Cassini division and weather bands.
3/6/03 My first solar system object image taken with the ST8i. I'm used to video style cameras. The ST8i takes individual frames instead of .AVI movies. I limited the area of exposure to 1/4 of the chip to speed download times, I also used a dark green filter and the shortest exposure time (0.01s) to obtain 20 images which were then stacked and combined in Astrostack.
A little Saturn and moons pic, the moon Titan which has a thick atmosphere is seen at lower left...
Saturn and Jupiter were just about gone when I bought the SAC7, and were completely gone by the time I got the LX200. So, I haven't got much material. I have managed to take a couple of decent Saturn images with the LX200.
The Cassini Division is a little better defined in this image.

I'm looking forward to doing lots more high magnification planetary work this Fall and Winter. I'm also -really- looking forward to the close view of Mars we'll be getting in 2003.

This was a fun shot to take with the ETX70 and SAC7. It's a composite of an extended exposure picking up the moons combined with an image of the planet taken via .AVI
The planet Venus goes through phases just like the Moon does. Depending on the angle between Earth, Venus, and the Sun, it's shadow blocks our view, showing us only an illuminated fraction of the planet's disk.
My first exposure to imaging was doing the planets with the ETX70 and Meade Electronic Eyepiece.

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