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Sat May 28, 2016, 11:47 AM

Jupiter last night, Mars this morning

I've been doing my photography stuff on an an astronomy oriented board but I thought y'all here might like to see my latest efforts, this is the best I've done so far and it's taken some time to get here. Had an evening and morning of tolerable to fair seeing and so so clarity which is about as good as it gets here and decided to try my latest planetary setup, 1050mm FL 95mm dia Maksutov Cassegrain with an ASI120MC camera (basically a higher end webcam made for astronomy) and a 26mm Erfle eyepiece set up for magnified projection onto the CMOS chip, each shot is the "best" 4,500 of 5,000 frames of video, aligned, stacked and sharpened in software. If you are interested in details I'll be glad to share more.

I actually have 25,000 frames of each planet but I'm going to have to combine the files and then run it with a clean boot on my computer when I'm either asleep or gone or it will crash, results should be a bit better than this with that many more frames.

Looking at the original video and then what I get out of it I'm nearly shocked at how good the results are, it's almost impossible to see anything at all in the Mars Video and the Jupiter one you can tell it has two dark belts but that's about it..

I think my rig is probably capable of about twice as good as this if I perfect my technique and manage to find those rare moments when clarity and seeing are both good to make the image captures.



11 replies, 1539 views

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Jupiter last night, Mars this morning (Original post)
Fumesucker May 2016 OP
Renew Deal May 2016 #1
elleng May 2016 #2
Fumesucker May 2016 #4
alfredo May 2016 #3
Fumesucker May 2016 #5
alfredo May 2016 #6
mnhtnbb May 2016 #7
rdking647 May 2016 #8
Fumesucker Jun 2016 #10
Act_of_Reparation May 2016 #9
Fumesucker Jun 2016 #11

Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat May 28, 2016, 11:49 AM

1. Impressive

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat May 28, 2016, 11:58 AM

2. GREAT!

Did get a little red Mars near the moon recently, and saw planets last night before Moon rose (LATE, as it's doing these days,) but nothing like what you've got!

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Response to elleng (Reply #2)

Sat May 28, 2016, 02:59 PM

4. Thanks, I was discouraged looking at the video, spent six months waiting on the camera

I've got it borrowed for a month with another month option if I want and probably another month after that if no one is desperate to have it and I post some good pics. My "local" club has a few items like that but they are far enough away I don't make use of it much. A camera you can mail and don't have to mess with in person unlike say a telescope so I went for it.

So anyway, I hooked it all up and got this blurry mess, I had seen demos but it doesn't prepare you for the pot of boiling oatmeal it looks like on a bad night after you just spent an hour and half getting everything set up just right.

Ran it through the software, I could tell there was something there but it had multiple issues almost like an old analog TV, ghosts where they didn't stack right so I just kept tweaking until all of a sudden I had a clearer picture than I had hoped to get.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat May 28, 2016, 12:28 PM

3. I'm impressed.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #3)

Sat May 28, 2016, 03:00 PM

5. Thanks..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #5)

Sat May 28, 2016, 03:07 PM

6. Welcomed.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Sat May 28, 2016, 05:13 PM

7. My dad was a serious amateur astronomer

complete with backyard observatories everywhere we lived (that had roofs that rolled off)
and that's 50 some years ago when I was a kid growing up. He had a dark room in the basement
to develop his shots.

Nice work!

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2016, 11:33 AM

8. what software do you use for the stacking?

 


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Response to rdking647 (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 03:46 AM

10. I'm using Registax and before that I trim the frames with PIPP

Planetary Image Pre Processor, that one really saves a lot of time and processor cycles in Registax.

I image a 480x480 subframe and ~40 frames per second, PIPP cuts the frames down to 100x100 for Mars and 160x160 for Jupiter.

With video as noisy as mine is you have to trick Registax into aligning solely on center of mass rather than looking for a specific feature since the features are jumping around all over the place. There's a menu that lets you blur the image for aligning purposes, I'm using a really heavy blur for the alignment, it seems like the more blur I use the better it works.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue May 31, 2016, 09:49 AM

9. Very cool.

I don't know anything about photographing through a telescope, and I'm trying to figure out how you get a picture like that with the planets moving out of view as quickly as they do. Does your scope track the target, or is your camera really fast?

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #9)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 04:03 AM

11. You have a mount that derotates the Earth, you would call it tracking the stars

However unless your mount is very high quality and expensive (which mine decidedly isn't) the image still moves around and shifts some by the time you have the tiny dot of a planet magnified to the size you can see any detail.

The solution is to shoot a video which freezes individual moments of shifting blurry sight and then combine hundreds or thousands of blurry frames into a single sharp picture in the computer with mathematics. Looking out through our atmosphere is like trying to look a the bottom of a pool, unless the water is very still the picture is blurred and moments of stillness are infrequent and brief.

The best amateur telescopes today aren't really optically much better than the best fifty years ago (some of the antiques are prized for excellence), what's changed by light years is the sensors and most of all the processing of the images. Even Hubble images look fairly pathetic until they've been processed through a powerful computer system, you'd never guess what they were if someone showed them to you.

All the space images you see online and in magazines are not a direct representation of what the sensor picks up, there is a lot of art, science and judgement in making the beautiful images you see since the human eye will never witness them directly.

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