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.
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
|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
|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
|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.
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
|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
|A little Saturn and moons
pic, the moon Titan which has a thick atmosphere
is seen at lower left...
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.
Cassini Division is a little better defined in
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.
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
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
exposure to imaging was doing the planets with
the ETX70 and Meade Electronic Eyepiece.
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