Friday, November 25, 2005


The largest planet in our solar system, as best I've captured it thus far. I have many more older photos which are either blurrier or smaller files, but these are definintely the best. Some which capture the Galilean moons overexpose the planet.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Here are my 6 "best" Saturn photos. Not bad, for SLR, but clearly the photo on 10/1/5 is by far the best - and not just because of the stacking: a single image from that night is still better than the others! Note the easy to see Cassini Division, cloud band and pole region. (Luckily I also got my best photo of Mars that night.) Of the photos I had handy, I only discarded one, so this is pretty much the history of my photographing Saturn, beginning a year ago when I foolishly didn't date the images (I'm sure the info can me found SOMEWHERE with a bit of research...). Of course, you can't see the surface features moving as on Mars, or the Great Red Spot moving as on Jupiter, or the phases as easily with Venus and the Moon, but you CAN notice the changing TILT of the planet relative to earth, especially in the last two photos, where the tilt is slowly facing the rings away from our direct gaze. Now I just need to get Jupiter, Venus and Mercury up here. Don't expect Neptune or Pluto for quite some time. I haven't photographed Neptune yet and I haven't even SEEN Pluto yet. (Imagine a smaller and darker bluer disc than Uranus and a featurless white pixel, respectively.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005


The 7th planet is the furthest one I've photographed. Here are stacks of the only two successful attempts I made to photograph it (heavily processed). It took me months to find Uranus for the first time with a 10" Discovery Dob! I've also regularly since seen Neptune and "might" have photographed Pluto (never seen), since one of my two photos of where Pluto ought to have been three nights apart "might" have shown the planet, but since each photo overlapped only by half, I was not able to confirm its presence by toggling between the two.


And now for the planets (in no particular order). This photo shows Mars on four different nights over five months (not evenly spaced). The 2nd photo is by far my best planetary photo (along with Saturn taken the same night). I haven't gotten the hang of stacking images yet, as sometimes the best single image looks better than a series of stacked imaged. All were taken using eyepiece projection, and I'm certain the last three images were all through my 17mm Nagler (the first may be through an 8 or 12mm Radian, explaining it's size compared to the others when it was more distant in July). That said, the 3rd image should look the largest since that was the night after the closest approach, and I think I cropped and resized them all identically. Also, I THINK I have them all oriented properly. I could be wrong, but south is up, and the "shadow" portions are all facing the left. So the south pole in the first image is bright, but had "melted" and in the other three images the north poles' "frost" are visible on the bottom. I'm not an expert on naming the features, so I don't know what are dust storms and surface details. Maybe someone knows what we are looking at better than I do?...