Lunar crater Atlas, 2012 December 30

I used here the same setup on the C-14 that I’ve been using for imaging Jupiter (as it is easier not to change it): the 3x Barlow and Flea 3. Seeing was not good. This is through an IR filter.

The crater Atlas is 87km in diameter, which makes the smallest craterlets in this image, and the width of the fractures on Atlas’s floor, about 1km or less.

The Moon and Jupiter in conjunction at Chrismas

On Christmas night 2012 the Moon and Jupiter got within a degree as seen from the UK, and from South America and Southern Africa there was an occultation of Jupiter.

This was actually quite a difficult scene to image, as the Moon is so much brighter than Jupiter, and Jupiter itself is so much brighter than its moons. This image is a merger of a short exposure recording the Moon and Jupiter (Jupiter’s cloud belts are just visible) and a long exposure recording Jupiter’s moons. The moons were “cut out” in Photoshop and could be accurately placed on the other image because one of them is so close to the planet. The image is best viewed at full size (click on it).

Merry Christmas and clear skies in 2013 to all readers.

This morning saw unusually good seeing for this location. The diffraction pattern of Aldrebaran which I use to collimate with on screen looked almost perfect. Unfortunately there was cloud as Jupiter culminated at midnight, and it took a long time to move off. The beautiful filigree patterns in the cirrus illuminated by the moonlight, with a rainbow halo around the Moon, showed the stability of the high atmosphere. At 1am the cirrus patterns disappeared and the entire sky fugged over with a mist, but I kept monitoring Jupiter, and it cleared at 01:15 with seeing still good.

Here is oval BA rising and WS-Z near the centre of the disk.

Total Solar Eclipse 2012 November 13

Conditions at Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia were not perfect, with broken cloud throughout this early morning eclipse. However, I have been able to put together this sequence of shots which shows the progress of totality as it appeared from this location. These RAW shots from a Canon DSLR have been processed slightly in Photoshop. I also have shots of the sunrise and of the partial phases, and videos of stages of the eclipse, which I will probably post later.

Jupiter 2012 September 25

This has been sitting on my desktop for a long time. Good conditions (by our standards) on September 25 enabled this capture.

As people may be interested in the method, here is a brief explanation:

The observatory was opened and the telescope was allowed to stabilse for an hour to ambient temperature. It was then pointed at Aldebardan and the image was focused on the detetector and then defocused  by anticlockwise adjustment of the knob to produce a diffraction pattern. The telescope was collimated to perfect the symmetry of the pattern with the star centred on the detector. The telescope was then pointed at Jupiter and focused, with the final turn of the focusing knob being anticlockwise. The final focusing was with an electric Crayford focuser. A sequence of one minute videos was taken through filters in the sequence RGB,RGB,RGB,R as quickly as possible, at 30fps. Between each filter, exposure was adjusted to keep the histogram 70% full, but focus was not altered.

Each video was stacked in Astrostakkert to produce an image. 1.5x drizzle setting was used to get a bigger image. Each image was then wavelet sharpened and re-saved in Registax. Each of these images was then “measured” in WinJUPOS. The measurement files thus produced for all the R images, and all the G images, and all the B images, were then combined using the WinJupos “derotate images” function to produce master R, G and B images for the session. These “master” images were then themselves “measured”. The measurement files produced were then used in the “derotate RGB frames” routine to produce the RGB image (with no Luminance). That image was imported into Photoshop as a 32-bit TIF (on a different computer), sharpened further using an unsharp mask, and optimised for brightness and gamma curve. Lastly the observing details were added and the Photoshop file was exported to JPG for posting.