It has been a while since I posted anything about astrophotography, simply because it has been a while since I have been able to do anything. The terrible weather has been a big contributing factor, not helped the last time I did get out by my own haste and failing to set everything up correctly – so that I ended up coming in empty-handed, although those hands were very cold. All this means I have only been out a couple of times in the last few months.
The forecast was good for Thursday night, so I planned to get out no matter what. Well, actually, there was the small issue of the Moon. Not quite full at this point, but big enough and bright enough to be a real pain for imaging any deep sky objects like galaxies and nebula with a DSLR.
But I wanted to do something. So I had a look at the Moon for the first time in ages and remembered just how interesting it is… and how little I really know it. That was when I thought it was about time I had a go at imaging the moon in more detail using my guide camera, which also doubles up as a handy planetary camera. I just haven’t got around to that yet, largely because it was something new, and it was easier not to try it, than try.
Actually, as it turns out, it is easier to set up for planetary imaging than DSOs, so I was up and running with a quick polar alignment and stuck to manual slewing, with Lunar tracking rates. I stuck the ZWO camera in the ED80 and away I went.
The images start as video captures of the target. 10,000 frames for each video, processed in PIPP to assess the quality of the frames and keep the best 25. Those remaining frames were analysed and stacked in AUTOSTAKKERT2 before I finished up the processing in REGISTAX to play around with the wavelets – effectively sharpening the image. A final tweak in Photoshop and the images were finished.
The general seeing wasn’t great, so it was hard to get accurate focus and the atmospherics make the target “wobble” – looking like something seen through a heat-haze. The purpose of taking a video is to capture thousands of frames in a short-space of time, hopefully ending up with a usable number of shots where the target comes into focus.
I also had a quick go at Jupiter. Unfortunately, as it was lower in the sky, I was shooting through a thicker cross-section of atmosphere, so the issues with seeing were worse. However, I got a better outcome than my first effort which you can see in the gallery, and the detail is getting better, with the Great Red Spot clearly visible. I shall look forward to having another go when Jupiter is in a more favourable position. Oh, and just before anyone asks, the ZWO Camera is a MONO camera, which is why the GRS is not red!
Anyway, I hope you like the images and, if you have any question about how I took them and finished them, let me know. I am very new to planetary, so I’m just figuring this out myself.
[And anyone who knows about my other interests, will probably be able to guess why Tycho was one of my first targets….]
Posted on February 21, 2016, in Astronomy, Astrophotography, Uncategorized and tagged AUTOSTAKKERT, ED80, great red spot, GRS, jupiter, moon, PIPP, REGISTAX, ZWO, ZWOASI120MM. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.