I purchased a modest dedicated astronomical camera (ZWO-ASI178MC) recently, mostly for eventual autoguiding of my telescope during long-exposure imaging. The ZWO is described as a “planetary camera” so I thought why not? With Jupiter and Saturn near opposition and in good viewing position, let’s get first light tests using those beauties?
July 4 – 5 was the night of the very weak penumbral lunar eclipse and everything was set up in my yard for that. I had also made significant progress getting the new computerized telescope mount functional. Using SkyWatcher’s Wi-Fi module and my iPhone, helped immensely, providing precise GPS location and time information to the mount. Finder scope alignment helped, too!
So after finishing with the Full Moon and removing the DSLR camera from the telescope, I installed the little ZWO.
The camera worked well and I was quickly able to record images of Jupiter and Saturn. As a bonus, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot happened to be on the Earth-facing side of the planet. As for Saturn, I could see the image swimming on the computer screen so I didn’t expect much and didn’t get much. You can tell it’s Saturn and even begin to see some atmospheric banding.
I still have much to learn about operating the camera control software and post-processing. As crude as the resulting images are, for first efforts the results are encouraging.