Solar system

Although I am more interested in visual work, taking images of solar_system and Deep Sky objects is good fun as well. For the solar system imaging InFINNity Deck is equipped with a ZWO ASI174MM camera and a ZWO motorised Filter Wheel for 5 x 31 mm filters. The latter has been loaded with filters for Luminance, Red, Green and Blue.

Sun

The sun imaged on 9 June 2018 using the Lunt. At nine o'clock a small protuberance can be seen.
Figure 1: The sun imaged on 9 June 2018 using the Lunt. At nine o'clock a small protuberance can be seen.
The natural celestial objects nearest to earth are of course those found in our Solar System. Closest to earth is the moon, which gives stunning views, even at the lowest modest magnification. The sun (see figure 1) is the closest star to earth. Light only takes 8 minutes to arrive here. Using the Lunt LS80THA nice images can be made of the granulation on its surface and of the solar flares (protuberances) around the edge. Currently (2018) the sun's activity is at its lowest point, resulting in a rather dull view with only minor protuberances and an occasional sun spot.

A better picture of the sun, taken on 19 March 2019, with a turbo-prop plane flying past.
Figure 2: A better picture of the sun, taken on 19 March 2019, with a turbo-prop plane flying past.
In March 2019 I experimented with the Lunt to improved the quality of the images taken through the Lunt. From another Dutch amateur astronomer I learned to improve my processing. Although the Sun is still quite dull, having something in the foreground makes the image much more attractive. Just above the cockpit a small sunspot can be seen, while above the left wing a protuberance can be spotted.

The sun as imaged on 9 May 2019. It seems sun spot season started again.
Figure 3: The sun as imaged on 9 May 2019. It seems sun spot season started again.
Ever since InFINNity Deck became operational the sun was quite boring, only occasionally showing some activity. That changed a few weeks ago and now it starts to be interesting again as can be seen in this image. The large sun spot at the right is number 2741.

Moon

The Moon imaged on 22 July 2018.
Figure 4: The Moon imaged on 22 July 2018.
Our closest celestial companion is of course our own Moon. Adjacent image is a composite of two images taken with the SkyWatcher Esprit 150ED and ZWO ASI174 planetary camera. Being close-by the moon provides stunning views that change by the day due to the moving terminator (the region between day and night on the moon).

Mars

Mars as seen on 21 July 2018 23:30 UTC.
Figure 5: Mars as seen on 21 July 2018 23:30 UTC.
The rock next from earth, as seen from the sun, is Mars. This month (31 July 2018) Mars will be in opposition, which means it reaches its closest distance from earth. This year it even reaches the closest distance for the last and coming 20 years. Sadly enough Mars is experiencing the perfect storm. It started on 19 June 2018 and is expected to last until September this year. These storms on Mars cause dust to cover the whole globe, making the planet a dull orange ball. The adjacent image was my first attempt, taken on 21 July 2018 with the C11 using a 2 x Barlow and ZWO ASI174 camera. Seeing was far from great (a warm summer night), resulting in this rather blurry image. Despite the poor image quality the polar regions are visible.

Jupiter

Jupiter with Ganymede and Io as seen on 23 July 2018..
Figure 6: Jupiter with Ganymede and Io as seen on 23 July 2018..
The next planet after Mars is Jupiter. It is the largest planet in the solar system and will be the subject of my next research. With its coloured bands and the bright Galilean moons it is an attractive object in the skies. Adjacent image was taken on 23 July 2018 on a warm summer night and at an altitude of only 11 degrees, causing it to be slightly blurred.

Jupiter as imaged on 15 June 2019.
Figure 7: Jupiter as imaged on 15 June 2019.
In 2019 Jupiter turned rather yellow. Adjacent image show the planet with its moon Ganymede (quite faint left of the planet). Seeing was terrible, while its altitude of just over 15 degrees did not help in taking a proper image. Two day later the seeing was much better in some parts of the Netherlands, but not here... Hopefully later this week I get another chance.

Jupiter as imaged on 22 June 2019.
Figure 8: Jupiter as imaged on 22 June 2019.
Still learning a lot about planetary imaging, and a long way to go. On 22 July 2019 I imaged Jupiter, but again with poor seeing. Reason was that I had just swapped my C11 XLT for a C11 EdgeHD and had acquired a ZWO ASI290MC with a ZWO ADC (Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector). Wanting to test this trio made me decide to image Jupiter despite the conditions. In the meanwhile I had learned that exposure time should be kept as short as possible (10ms in this case), while the stack length should be as large as possible. In this case I captured 35000 images in four minutes, 85% of which were disgarded in AutoStakkert, the rest was stacked to provide adjacent result.

Now the waiting is for optimal seeing...

Jupiter imaged on 24 June 2019 without Barlow, my processing is stil progressing.
Figure 9: Jupiter imaged on 24 June 2019 without Barlow, my processing is stil progressing.
On 24 July seeing was much better, but sadly enough it came with a thin cloud cover. As I wanted to experiment with various settings in recording and processing, I took images of Jupiter despite the conditions. This image was made using 1100 frames.
Image taken with C11 EdgeHD, no PowerMate, ZWO ASI290MC. Video of 11000 frames, 1100 stacked.

Jupiter imaged on 24 June 2019, with 2x Barlow, but lesser conditions.
Figure 10: Jupiter imaged on 24 June 2019, with 2x Barlow, but lesser conditions.
After the previous Jupiter image I decided to install a 2x PowerMate. Sadly enough the cloud cover increased, consuming most of the light (although visual still attractive through the SkyWatcher Esprit. This image was made using only 550 frames, so still need to increase the camera output.
Image taken with C11 EdgeHD, 2x PowerMate, ZWO ASI290MC. Video of 5500 frames, 550 stacked.

On 25 July 2019 seeing finally became quite good. A total of 108Gb of data was collected using the C11 EdgeHD, ZWO ASI290MC, ZWO ADC, and Televue 2x PowerMate. Capuring was done using FireCapture, while processing was done in AutoStakkert and PaintShop pro.

Saturn

Saturn as seen on 21 July 2018 23:00 UTC.
Figure 11: Saturn as seen on 21 July 2018 23:00 UTC.
Saturn is one of those magical objects for visual observing. Surrounded by a disc (or rather multiple discs) of debris, Saturn is always great fun to look at and nice to photograph. The adjacent image was my first attempt, taken on 21 July 2018 23:00 UTC with the C11 using a 2 x Barlow and ZWO ASI174 camera. Seeing was far from great (a warm summer night), while the altitude was just under 14 degrees, resulting in this rather blurry image.

If you have any questions and/or remarks please let me know.


InFINNity Deck Astrophotography Astro-Software
Solar system Deep Sky