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Hello everyone, my first planetary camera, the ZWO ASI034MC arrived on Wednesday, and yesterday afternoon the skies started to clear, while the weather satellite imagery seemed to suggest I might get a few clear hours.

I have ordered a barlow, but it has not arrived yet. However I will not allow such trifles to get in the way, so I got the scope (Celestron 127 SLT) set up in the early evening.

While waiting for the pesky Sun to go down, I turned it on the Moon:



Later on, when Venus became visible I started the SkyAlign - Moon, Venus and with much hunting with binos, Jupiter was located.

For the planets I was using SharpCap to get about 2000 frames, and choosing the best 1600 to align in Registax. Is 2000 overkill?

I managed to capture Venus before the clouds obscured it:


Jupiter was still visible, so with clouds closing in I managed to acquire the gas giant and capture a video. I was surprised to see all four Galilean moons on the same side:


Later on the clouds cleared away long enough to grab some more video. I used a longer exposure to make the moons a bit brighter, but perhaps the planet is a bit too bright?


After this, the clouds finally rolled in for good and I had to pack away.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Nice images. I have a ZWO color too and am very happy with the images of planets I get. Far better than what I get with movie crop mode on my Canon 60D. There is a guy in Brazil who is getting some amazing planetary images with his color ZWO and a a manual 10-inch Dobsonian. Here is a link to his blog: 

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Nope - 2000 is in no way overkill.  I've seen improvement in stacking right up until using about 4-5000 frames of 8000.    Obviously with Jupiter, you're limited to about 1.5-2 mins due to smearing due to rotation (unless you use WinJupOS or similar to compensate).  Mind you, at the mag you're using at the moment, you may be able to hit 2.5min.  Once the barlow arrives, you'll be a lot better off for detail, but remember that the image will be significantly dimmer, so your framerate will suffer.  It's all about tradeoffs with planetary imaging, and finding the best balance...

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Wow - those manual dob images are incredible!  I used to use a manual dob back in about 2005 for planetary, and got mixed results.  I may try again, as I have nice 12" dob now.  

Oh for an EQ platform!!!

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Excellent images. With Jupiter a lot of people overexpose the image to capture the moons and then separately capture the planet and then combine the processed stacks together in Photoshop etc

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