Apr 132014

It’s been a long, long winter.  So long that I have mostly missed the Jupiter apparition that had such a promising start last fall.  It was good to be out under the stars again last night after a long layoff due to weather and equipment problems (a brief bout with a faulty circuit board that drives the right ascension motor in the telescope mount that was emitting more black smoke than usual for a Celestron mount).

So, here’s Mars in relatively poor conditions overall, but still a sight for sore eyes to me!

Sep 192013

The seeing was exceptionally rare, this morning.  There was heavy dew (but more manageable than yesterday) and it was cool (about 44 degrees F).  There was little to no trace of upper level winds and at times the only wavering of the planet on the monitor was due to the “flicker” associated with the camera running at about 80 frames/second.

Attached is a quickly processed view of the final capture, just as dawn broke and the background sky began to lighten.  I’ll be adding the rest of the data from this session later, when I have time to process it.

It’s noteworthy that the planet’s altitude was only about 54 degrees when this was taken, as the level detail rivals shots from prior apparitions when the planet was much closer to opposition (closer to us) and higher in the sky.  Also, I continue to use the Flea3-m camera.  A new camera has been introduced that many imagers are adopting (ASI120mm) but I haven’t gotten around to ordering one.  I was considering doing so closer to opposition.


Here’s a three-frame animation covering 9:44-9:56ut.  Comparing the three overlapping frames allows for a clearer view of the significant portions of the data.


and the customary versions…



and an image in IR light.


Sep 182013

Despite very heavy dew this morning, there was very good seeing with just a slight hint of upper level wind.  Here is Jupiter just as dawn broke.  Note the tight cluster of three bright spots in the NEB, near the meridian.


Sep 072013

Jupiter has made a pass behind the sun and is now back in the morning sky.  This year, it will reach a very high altitude in the sky (around 72 degrees) for observers near 40 degrees North, so there should be many great observations from observers across North America and Europe.  If you’ve never had a chance to see Jupiter through a telescope, this is a great year to do so.

Here is my first observation of the apparition.  Seeing was fair and there was very heavy dew this morning, but I managed to take some data in RGB and IR. Here is the first RGB image.  I will update with IR as I process.  Please note that my colleagues at ALPO have elected to retain the “south up” orientation for images during this apparition, so I will present them here in the agreed-on manner (for the most part).

Oval BA is seen rotating off the visible portion of the disc, here.  Note that Jupiter is only partially lit, here, due to its angle relative to the sun from our perspective here on earth.  As we get closer to Jupiter throughout the rest of this year, Jupiter will appear larger and more detailed.  This is just the start of a long Jupiter season (and Mars will be joining in!)


Jun 222013

The current apparition of Saturn is in its final weeks, as Saturn will soon be too low in the sky after sunset for any reasonable imagery.  Here’s an image from last night.  It was warm and windy once again, but the seeing was fair.

This is 30 total minutes of capture through R, G, and B filters (about 5,000 frames per channel used).