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By Victor Boesen
Yesterday I managed to climb out of bed at a little past 3:30AM to get my small portable rig out to a small nearby park and setup to observe Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. I got the Skywatcher Evostar 72ED DS-Pro last summer so I was especially excited to see how it would perform on Mars because of its red wavelengths which many small fracs often have trouble with handling.
At first it was partly cloudy but I persisted and was out and setup on the field at around 4AM. The sky was already surprisingly bright here in Denmark but Jupiter was shining bright and Saturn faintly visible almost right besides Jupiter. Fortunately for me it wasn't too cold, but I was happy I brought some gloves anyways;)
This picture was taken at 5AM while I was observing Mars.
I remember from last year that my scope didn't perform great on Jupiter for some reason, and the view of the gas giant wasn't anything different this time either. Using my 4.7mm ES 82 degree eyepiece not much detail visible except the two main bands and its moons. I would later return to Jupiter after the scope had cooled down a little and the view was perhaps a little sharper.
Pointing the scope at Saturn, which I was very satisfied with last year, I was amazed of the detail the small scope managed to squeeze out. It doesn't compare to the view I had last year with my 10" dob under great conditions at 255X but I was able to easily spot surface banding on the planet itself, and the Cassini division was also surprisingly stable. I really enjoy the stable and consistent view through the small refractor! I observed Saturn for quite a while until I eventually set out to try to find Mars. At this point I couldn't even see Saturn with the naked eye but I was fortunate that Saturn and Mars were approximately the same elevation above the horizon.
After a few sweeps across where I though Mars would be I finally located the small red speckle, this time with my 6.7mm eyepiece so I had a larger FOV. Switching to the 4.7mm, though still very small, I was surprised that I could pick up a dark surface marking across the disk on the lower southern half of the disk. Furthermore, the southern polar cap was really pronounced and you couldn't miss it. I watched Mars drift through the FOV until about 30 minutes after sunrise where the contrast between the planet and the sky became too low and the dew started to set on the lens element.
Using my small refractor for observing the planets I have always wanted to magnify things a little bit more, and I think the telescope would have no problem doing so. A Nagler zoom 3-6mm has been on my wish-list for a couple of years now, but the upcoming planet season really makes me want to find one second hand
Here's a video I've made that covers what I've written above with some footage I tried capturing through the eyepiece:
I hope everyone on here is still doing well despite the current situation!
This planetary grouping from 20th March around 5.30am shows Saturn to the left with conjunction of Jupiter above & Mars below, sharp eyed may also see... Io, Ganymede & Callisto in a string just right of Jupiter.
Image taken from Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire looking toward the SE.
Pentax K1 / Pentax 67 165mm lens / Exp. 2 secs @f8 / iso 200
Ioptron tracker at siderial.
Hello stargazers, welcome. I had posted a picture yesterday of Uranus that had appeared to show its rings. I am using a Nexstar 4se, a 2x Barlow, and my Neximage Burst Color and capturing hundreds of photos and stacking them for my results. But still had me and others curious to if I were actually seeing the rings of Uranus or maybe just a glare of some sort.
So I got back out there this morning, might I note I live in FL where the weather tends to stay hot so clear imaging during this time of year can be difficult, but not impossible as this image that I stacked 150 out of 300 images taken may show that statement holds true..............or I could just be mistaken the object in the image, but all in all I am feeling pretty confident that I have a decently clear image(stacked 150 images) of Uranus, its rings, and one of it's distant moons. It may be necessary to zoom in on my photo in order to see the moon it should be down and to the right of the planet a good distance in relation to the size of planet, I noticed that looking at Uranus in the photo helped bring the moon out just like stargazing in real-time.
If anyone can better distinguish what I might have done right or wrong here any help would be appreciated (also forgot to change format save for my images so I am stuck with .bmp and setting it as a download, sorry for any inconvenience.) - - - J47(JAY)
Hi everyone I managed to wake up early this morning and get a great image processed using Registax6.1 of Uranus. I am new to astrophotography but enjoying every second of it. I have a Nexstar 4se that I used to capture these images with also increased my zoom by using a 2x Barlow. Only through my Neximage Burst Color (in which was used to take the images) was I able to make out to hazy blue planet best. Using iCap2.4 software for capturing the images heres what I did.....
- Images taken and processed September 4, 2019 around 5:00 A.M.- 5:30 A.M.
- decreased the gain to around 330-380 while exposure was set to 27 fps
- adjusted my focus
- took 200 frames at 25 fps
Continuing to Registax I processed the images only using the best frames out of 100, I added a few prefilters: BLUR was adjusted slightly to around 10-15, SMOOTH was decreased by around 5, and contrast prefilter, forget what it was called, was reduced to .90.
I tuned the wavelets until the hazy spot between the rings and planet were no longer visible and the difference with the rings and planet begin to appear. Here's the results hope they are as cool to everyone else, as I find it amazing my 4se can see that much into detail.