Astrophotography – solar system

The Day of the Trifid (and Mars!)

Another superficially nice night, but the Mars seeing was pretty poor, and I got clouded out quite rapidly.

Before looking at Mars I had a go at M20, the Trifid nebula, in Sagittarius. This was pretty low at about 11 degrees elevation for a dim DSO, necessitating a fair amount of processing to get anything reasonable.

Mars was like a wobbly jelly. This time I tried a X3 barlow. The ADC is clearly doing its stuff, but it won’t compensate for poor seeing! The Hellas basin was obvious visually – easy to mistake for the S. polar cap!- and Syrtis Major was just about in view.

Mars from the window-sill 30/07/2018

Here is another stab at Mars from the window-sill.

This time the configuration is with an Altair ADC between the X3 barlow and the camera. The extra spacing involved turns the X3 into X5-ish.

I had to “wring its neck” processing-wise to see any detail, but of course you have to bear in mind that it is only a lowly ST-80 through the double glazing!

Still, I fancy that some of the detail is real if you compare it to the Stellarium snapshot, and also with the splendid images here

All the images are rotated to put the S pole at the bottom.

Must get out more!


More lunar dome spotting from the Window-sill – -25/07/2018

Mons Rumker is a lunar dome way out towards the moon’s limb, making it challenging to image from the window-sill.

Sky and Telescope, in says

Mons Rümker forms a large, pudding-like mound of some 30 domes piled one atop the other in far western Oceanus Procellarum. The feature appears quite foreshortened near the limb  – – – – – –  The mound is about 43 miles (70 km) across and climbs to 3,608 feet (1,100 m) above the plains. Rümker represents multiple, massive outflows of lava. Amazing!”

I have been waiting ages for the correct lighting conditions, and tonight was the night!



Mars at opposition – what we are missing!

Mars is at opposition on Friday, but very poorly positioned. Rummaging through my archives I found these images from the opposition of 2005, when the planet was much better placed. I couldn’t find the original jpegs, so the image below is a scan from my notebook. You can see how rapidly Mars reduces in size post-opposition.

They were taken with the 8″ f/10 SCT with a X2 barlow and the Toucam.

Mars surface features? 23/07/2018

Here is an attempt at Mars from the window-sill from the other night when I couldn’t sleep. Only just got around to trying to process the image. It was a 1000-frame avi stacked in Registax 6 /Registax 5 and processed in GIMP (I can’t get the RGB align to work in R6 with W10, but it works fine in R5) You can just about see a feature or 2. (The 2nd image is from Stellarium) – not surprisingly though, not as good as Neil’s. I didn’t deploy the ADC, which I now have, as it doesn’t work too well on a short focal length refractor.