A Busy Winter Night!

 Deep Sky, Jupiter  Comments Off on A Busy Winter Night!
Dec 112012

It’s been clear and frosty for a few nights here on the South Coast of England, and when it’s dark by 16:30 it’s a long night! So, it’s possible to do a lot in one night.

I am still fascinated with those classic, well known deep-sky targets, so I decided to use the early part of the evening to image M33, the lovely galaxy in Triangulum. I haven’t used this combination of equipment on it before and my Pentax 75 with the ATIK-383L CCD gives a great field of view for this object, and as there was no moon to get in the way I used a clear Luminance filter on this occasion, with the intention of grabbing colour data another night. Here is the result of combining 14, 15 minute exposures:


So, by about 22:30, Jupiter beckoned! It had risen nice and high, so I switched telescopes and cameras to image it. I have my Celestron C11 OTA riding alongside the little Pentax refractor, so no need to move any kit in the dark. It turned out that the seeing conditions at very high resolution were not a good as I had hoped (the seeing does not affect wide-field astrophotography as much). So Jupiter came out a bit ‘soft’ as you can see below. This image is a combination of 9, 1 minute video captures with my mono Flea3 CCD. Frames were captured at about 60 frames per second and I took 3 runs in each colour (RGB). WinJUPOS was used to compensate for the rotation of the planet over the 9 minute capture period.


Onwards to my next target – The wonderful Horse Head Nebula in Orion. This was sitting nicely in the sky about an hour before culmination, so I switched back to the deep sky kit again and managed to grab 2 hours of data before deciding to quit for the night. How I’d love to try this target from a more Southerly latitude as it doesn’t get above about 36 degrees from here.



So, all in all a good night. Plenty more to do to turn these two deep sky shots into the finished colour images I want. I’ll probably shot some H-alpha on these as well to sharpen the up!


 Posted by at 4:09 pm

Jupiter and its Red Spots

 Jupiter, Planets  Comments Off on Jupiter and its Red Spots
Dec 062012

Another clear, frosty night here on the South Coast of England. The seeing conditions were quite stable again and I took these 3 images of the Great Red Spot and also ‘Red Spot Jr’ crossing the disc.

This one is the middle of the 3 images, all three are available via the thumbnails below.

 Posted by at 12:02 pm

Jupiter Near Opposition

 General Astronomy, Jupiter, Planets  Comments Off on Jupiter Near Opposition
Dec 052012

Jupiter reached Opposition at about 1am UT on the morning of 3rd December 2012. Here are two images of different aspects of the planet. The one with the GRS was taken on the night of the 3rd and the second image taken on the 4th, with slightly better seeing conditions.

Opposition means that the Sun, the Earth and Jupiter are in a line. The Sun is therefore shining directly on to the face of Jupiter as we look at it. It also means it is closest to us and hence the disc is the largest it gets in this apparition.


 Posted by at 1:00 pm

Jupiter – A case of the blues!

 Jupiter, Planets  Comments Off on Jupiter – A case of the blues!
Oct 152012

There’s a moral here somewhere.I went out this morning under a crystal clear sky; Jupiter blazing away in the South-East. With collimation complete and a quick butchers through the eyepiece, I got the planet squarely on the chip of the Flea3. Just finishing the run of green images when clouds rolled in, so I too about 500 frames of a very dim blue. Anyway, no more clear sky (until later when I got clouded out before any images could be captured), I decided to process the blue and hey-presto a decent RGB image!

 Posted by at 10:11 am
Sep 192012

A wonderful morning! Went out at 4am BST to be greeted by an incredible dark and starry sky. Jupiter and Venus both blazing in the East. Jupiter gets to just over 60 degrees in altitude from here in the UK this apparition, making for decent imaging if the seeing is good. Well the seeing was good this morning! This shot was the last of several runs, and has the Great Red Spot (GRS) just past the meridian. As always click on the image to see it full-size.


It was so nice – cuppa in hand and Jupiter rock steady on the screen. A glorious sight through the eyepiece too! Note ‘Red Spot Junior’ just to the South of the GRS. Lots going on too in both the NEB and the SEB.

This image was constructed out of 9, 60 second captures at about 64 frames per second. The sequence of colour filters was RRGGGGGBB.These were ‘de-rotated’ and combined into an RGB using WinJUPOS. This process prevents the features smearing out due to the rotation of Jupiter.

 Posted by at 10:12 am
Sep 152012

Hi all,

Here is my first attempt at a Jupiter image from his morning. As it turned out, it was a bit of a luxury as the seeing conditions and transparency were excellent.

One reason for my long period of astronomical quietness was that I was waiting for the RA motor and encoder on my ancient AP900 mount to be repaired by AstroPhysics in the US. Wonderful service as usual from AP, but it got held up in UK Customs for ages!


 Posted by at 9:33 am

Moon, Venus and Jupiter from Bath

 Jupiter, Moon, Planets, Venus  Comments Off on Moon, Venus and Jupiter from Bath
Mar 272012

Took this image whilst parked on Brassknocker Hill just south of Bath. Just a bit earlier I had taken a series of killer images of the trio with Bath Abbey in the foreground with my son, Tom, only to discover that I had no memory card in the camera!

This image was about a 10 second exposure, the moon is deliberately over exposed in an attempt to pick up the stars in Orion and Taurus.

 Posted by at 7:33 am

The Moon, Jupiter and Venus

 Jupiter, Moon, Planets, Venus  Comments Off on The Moon, Jupiter and Venus
Mar 262012

As described in my post on 22nd March this event was indeed a lovely sight yesterday evening with the young crescent moon very close to Jupiter and not far below Venus.  Take advantage of this current clear weather in the UK and watch out this evening when the Moon will be much closer to Venus

This image was taken from my garden in Ham with a Canon 350D using the standard 18-55mm lens. Setting were ISO800, f/5, 1/8th second exposure.

 Posted by at 6:54 am

Young Moon joins Venus and Jupiter

 Jupiter, Moon, Planets, Venus  Comments Off on Young Moon joins Venus and Jupiter
Mar 222012

This image generated by Stellarium shows the situation from the UK, looking West, as it will be on Sunday March 25th 2012 at approximately 7:15 pm. The Moon will be a thin crescent of about 9%. Keen observers will have noticed that Venus and Jupiter have moved further apart since their beautiful conjuction last week, however this will still be a lovely event to see.

If you click on this image to see it a full size, you can see that Venus is not far below the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters which is a lovely, bright, open star cluster in Taurus. Orion, The Hunter, is just off to the East. Also notice the line on the image; This is the Ecliptic which marks the apparent path that the Sun follows through the sky over the course of the year. The planets can also be found close to the Ecliptic plane and this explains why they are also seen in the Zodiacal constellations (but don’t mention the 13th constellation of the Zodiac – Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer) as it upsets the astrologers!)

 Posted by at 1:48 pm