Okay, I know this is ugly — a not-very-good image of planet Jupiter. I know, and yet I’m posting this because this humble effort is the best I’ve done thus far in my beginning planetary imaging efforts. I made a stack of images around 11:11 p.m., Friday, Sept. 10. Conditions were difficult with breezes, and high altitude haze and I found achieving good focus was hard. Maybe an electric micro focus would help? A longer native focal length telescope would also help by producing a bigger image on the camera’s sensor!
On the “up” side, even this crude attempt shows several of the planet’s cloud belts, even hints at major atmospheric disruptions; that makes me happy, or at least happier. Lost in processing were nearby Galilean Moons Io and Europa which would have appeared just to the right of Jupiter’s disk. My previous planetary effort was Mars one year ago! Between the sky conditions (rarely good, it seems), and my nighttime motivation, I sadly don’t get much practice.
To produce the image I used my Vixen 8-inch Cassegrain 1,800mm FL telescope (love the scope but need more focal length), ZWI ASI178MC planetary camera, Lynkeos Stacker processing software which is a native MacOS application. I shut down a bit after midnight Friday night and hoped for clear skies Saturday night — I wanted to try again and try a a piggybacked shot using my DSLR and telephoto lens, getting Jupiter and his family of moons. Alas, no. Clouds and smoke from western U.S. fires plus continued breezes played havoc with the sky. So I tore down the rig and stowed everything hoping good conditions come soon.