Solar SystemThe 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.
MoonOur 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).
MarsThe 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.
JupiterThe 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.
SaturnSaturn 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.