Astrophotography – solar system

Mars – First pass on processing

Hi Folks

Here’s my first pass at processing some Mars image runs. I’ve been a bit too gentle on the processing this time round so I’ll go through again. The polar cap and some of the surface is starting to appear nicely. I need to get a better Barlow though.

The data set I’ve got to work with is 3 image runs totalling 15000 subs, taken with ZWO 170MC and Celestron 8SE with a x2 Barlow

RAG observing session at Rosliston Forestry Centre 14/8/2020

Our first observing session after Covid 19 pandemic lockdown. Predicted to be cloudy, it partially cleared, allowing us to view Jupiter, Saturn, M27, M57. Other attendees saw several meteors, most of which were consistent with a Perseid radiant – I missed all of them as I was always looking in the other direction!

Photos of Jupiter below taken with hand-held Samsung S10+ phone through Orion UK 10 inch Dobsonian telescope by myself.


The Moon, Saturn and Jupiter


Looking out of the window on the 1st August at 23.31 BST I spotted a gap in the clouds. It was just enough to let us snap this shot of the Moon with Saturn and Venus. Just used my compact camera, so pleased it even came out. Hope you can spot Jupiter, it looks rather like a speck of dust on my sreeen.

We are looking forward to trying for the various things Andy described in his description of the month ahead (at the Microsoft Groups meeting.)

Angella and Alan

Comet Neowise from Branston Water Park

This was a real processing challenge, it took me hours of trying to get DSS to stack it properly (100 4-second subs!) Had to take stars out of the comet stacked one and then managed to mask the stars in the star-stacked version.

In the end, the comet had hardly moved against the stars! I like this better than my long-exposure version done with a 400mm scope.


Comet Neowise at Branston Water Park
Comet Neowise from Branston Water Park

Comet NEOWISE from Hartshorne, Swadlincote

The night sky was predicted to be clear so it was time to find out what all the fuss was about with the new comet NEOWISE. I had researched its predicted position below the Plough and to the west of Capella but despite searching with 15×70 bins could not find it. I now realize it has dimmed considerably since it was last visible in early July. Frustrated, I called on back-up, the WhatsApp group of astrophotographers who quickly pointed me in the right direction (many thanks to all who responded), vertically below Dubhe, brightest star in the Plough.  Through the bins it was unmistakeable, a bluish blob with a faint whitish tail. It was still quite light to the west but showed better as the sky darkened. It was then easy to find in the Dob-mounted Sky-Watcher 250 PDS with a 32mm eyepiece. To record the occasion of my first comet viewing I used a Canon 60D with ISO 1600 and 3.2 seconds, longer exposures gave star trails.

I tried to allow plenty of space in the frame for the tail but it still extends out of view. Not perfect, but I am pleased with my first comet photos.

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)

Paul McKay


Comet Neowise

The only place I can get a decent view is from the loft bedroom window, so I set up camera and binos, then set the alarm for 2 a.m. to give it time to come out from behind a tree.  These are all taken with a Canon EOS 700D SLR, using the lens that came with the camera (18-55 mm zoom lens).  I completely forgot to remove the UV cover until near the end of the evening.  Don’t know how much this will affect the images, if at all.

These are probably the best of about 50 pics.  All single shot JPGs.  I played around with ISO settings and exposure time, letting the camera decide the focal length (Tv mode).  I do have the RAW files too, but have little idea what to do with them at present.  I’m hoping that RAGAG will help me out there!  So far, I’ve decided that ISO 1600 works best, and 5-10 secs exposure, depending on the sky brightness.

Now I know where to look, I may have found a spot in the garden where I can set up the telescope, so will try again this evening (may be the last clear night for a while, so have to make the most of it).