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Mars & 1st ever Saturn 4th March

Space Cowboy

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Very frustrating after so many cloudy nights the sky was clear but atmosphere very unstable...stars were twinkling. Used 2x barlow with quickcam 4000 pro. Mars was waxing and waning like crazy so resulting image is poorer than i'd hoped but best yet with webcam (only 2nd attempt). Night was freezing hard and by 10pm after 2 hours ice was forming on the Mak corrector plate. First ever saturn image taken at only 20 degrees alt and with the frost and unstable conditions....well it's my first image lol

I'd probably been better not using a barlow under these conditions but i find it so difficult to focus when the image is so small.



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It looks like a very promising setup Stuart. The detail on mars is very good. I think your problems are mainly in camera settings and processing. Naturally the low elevation and poor seeing etc. take their toll. But I believe if you persist there is a lot of potential for you to start turning out really great images. I started out with the 4000 pro, but was struggling with it (I think it was dying of something. I used to get a lot of noise and banding) until Darryl lent me his Phillips 840K, and that helped me along greatly. I am making a few presumptions about your experience (sorry if I'm wrong) but I think you will learn with more handson experience and guidance from the very helpful group here.

It would be helpful to see your mars image after stacking and before any processing?

I have done a bit of a levels adjustment and resampled your image. (hope you don't mind)


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Thanks for your encouraging words and enhanced image Clayton! Very interested to hear you've used the quickcam before. Below is the stacked Mars image (714 frames from 1200) before any other processing. All i did after stacking and wavelet adjusting was contrast and a little additional sharpening in Paint.NET. I'd not got around to RGB balancing. I guess a case of not wanting to spend too much time trying to make a silk purse from a sows ear lol .

I've been having problems getting a decent frame rate using Astrocapture. Even with fast shutterspeeds i've only been getting 5-10 fps. The logitech quickcam software produces 15fps but these files are compressed. I see in astrocapture there are different types of file format (YUV420 & RGB24) i've not the foggiest which one i should be using.


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Small scopes are hard on both targets, I probably couldnt do any better, so Just keep plugging along, and enjoing the ride, untill you want to, or can afford to upgrade, If you ever do upgrade these learning experiances will help a lot, nice shots

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Thanks for posting the unimproved Registax image Stuart. It shows that the pixelated effect that you are getting is a result of post processing.

Over application of wavelets and other sharpening tools can accentuate the individual pixels. I think it is better to be conservative at the wavelet stage, save your image and resample it up by maybe 200% before progressing with PP.

BTW I still have the Quickcam in the form of a SAC camera. I tried it out recently and felt that it had degraded a fair bit from when I first purchased it. To the point where I was amazed that I had been able to capture Jupiter as well as I had last year. The noise and banding always plagued me and seemed worse at optimum exposures.

Anyhow give the resampling a go and see if it helps.

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Cheers James but how did you smooth out that image?

sorry Stuart shud have said what i did,

didn't do much actually,

resized bit larger which seems to soften and smooth image anyway,

then fiddled around with exposure, to get a bit brighter image,

felt needed slight Gaussian Blur aswell to smooth bit more,

and slight RGB adjustment.


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