Posts tagged 'Europa'

Observing Report 24th-25th July 2011 (Messiers, Jupiter and Moon but no Sun)

Posted by on July 28th 2011 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

Sunday evening was still and clear with good seeing so I made my excuses and headed to the shed for another Messier Object imaging session. For some reason the northern skies were darker than I'd expected so I had a look around there and decided to try to image M81 and M82 in one hit. After a bit of jiggery-pokery I got the 1000D rotated to get a decent framing and then I set to with the hardware and software. After a couple of hours I'd got some decent subframes so I moved to a different target - M74. This thing isn't called The Phantom for no good reason... it's hard to image because it's so dim. I upped the exposure from the standard 5 minutes to a more realistic 15 but still didn't get useful results so I scrubbed the attempt.

By then the Moon was rising and the sky was lightening. Jupiter had already risen and was an obvious target so I opted to go for a wide shot with the webcam and CCD camera in order to pick up some Galilean moons.

That finished, I turned the scope towards the Moon which was by then well above the horizon with the Sun not far behind. Just enough time to grab some CCD data to make another big mosaic.

I had intended to go the last mile and get some early-morning sunspot images but before the Sun reached a suitable position I was too knackered so I called it a morning, packed up and got me a few ZZZZs before the usual waking-up time.

Clickable results as follows:

M81 (aka Bode's Galaxy, NGC 3031, lower-right) and M82 (aka The Cigar Galaxy, NGC 3034, upper-left),
a pair of galaxies in the constellation Ursa Major.
Subs: 24 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO400.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

L to R: Jupiter, Europa, Io, Ganymede.
Luminance: 100/1000 frames stacked with K3CCDTools3,
DMK mono CCD camera on the 6" R-C.
Colour: 100/1000 frames stacked with K3CCDTools3, SPC900NC webcam on the 6" R-C.

 The Moon.
14-pane mosaic created with iMerge.
Each pane 500/2000 frames stacked with K3CCDTools3.
DMK mono CCD camera on the 6" R-C, unguided.

Observing Report 29th-30th July 2010 (Ganymede shadow transit)

Posted by on July 30th 2010 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

The was a short period of clearish sky here last night, it was the first reasonable observing opportunity for a long time so I took the chance and got set up in the obsy. The Moon was up which meant that doing any deep-sky observing was a no-no, so I had to be content with Jupiter and viewing some lunar craters.

I couldn't get any good high-resolution data for Jupiter, as the seeing was quite bad, so I went for a slightly wider field of view than usual and managed to catch a few moons and a transit as well. Here's the first edit, run yer mouse over it to see what's what:

 

 

 

The processing of the lunar data will take quite some time, so I'll put the results in a separate post.

Observing Report 20th-22nd July 2009 (Jupiter and Io)

Posted by on July 24th 2009 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Observing reports have been neglected a bit for a while now while I've being commissioning the observatory. This process has included:

  • Getting the mount drift-aligned so that its axis of rotation is aligned as closely as possible with that of the Earth;
  • Setting up the Shoestring EQDIR to control the mount via planetarium software on the laptop;
  • Setting up the Logitech Cordless RumblePad 2 as a wireless hand-controller;
  • PEC training - measuring the inherent periodic error of the mount gearing to allow the software to compensate for it.

Anyway, Monday night was the first time I'd used the place in anger, so to speak. There had been rain (see here) and there was still a fair bit of patchy low cloud around, but the seeing was reasonably good. I decided to have a peek at Jupiter. It's quite low in the southern sky just after midnight, so there was always going to be a fair bit of atmospheric dispersion to mess up any imaging, and some hazy high cloud didn't help either, but I needed to give it a go to "prove out" the mount alignment and stability.

I shot just the one .avi file with the webcam on a general setting, needing the image shape and drift rather than any great detail. Happy that the mount setup was satisfactory, I decided to process the .avi as a check of the webcam's performance. The resulting image is  below:
 

Io emerging from behind Jupiter, with Europa a bit further out

I was pleased to have captured Io right on the limb of Jupiter, but I've made a right botch of the planetary processing, which isn't surprising bearing in mind the settings used for capture. Even so, it proved that the webcam is still up to scratch.

Given the choice of reprocessing or shooting more video, I went for the latter. The next night I was set up in good time, ready and waiting to take advantage of any gaps in the clouds. There was a particularly clear half-hour during which I managed to shoot eight good two-minute .avis with more specific settings. After the usual software jiggery-pokery, I've managed to get the images from the best .avi stacked and processed reasonably well, certainly better than any that I've done before. Here are two versions of the best stack, the only difference is in the amount of sharpening. Feel free to let me know which one you prefer:

Jupiter and Io version 1 - average sharpening

 

Jupiter and Io version 2 - more sharpening

 

Next I've got a different challenge - getting the DSLRs set up on the mount for some widefield shots of the Perseid meteors, which are on show from July 17th to August 24th, with the peak on August 12th. The possibility of getting decent pics all depends on the weather, of course.

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