A Montage of Jupiters from the Past Week

My best Jupiter yet?

Astrophotography results depend on many variables.  The stability and visibility of the Earth’s atmosphere.  The telescope used, along with its mount.  The camera.  The focus at the eyepiece.  Exposure, ISO, and other digital camera settings.  Post-processing setup and techniques.  The skill of the astrophotographer.

This past week I was out each night with my telescope thanks to the benefit of clear or at least decent skies for planetary imaging.  It is still Jupiter’s time for 2017 and I am trying to take advantage of every night possible.  My main telescope (10″ homemade Newtonian reflector on a homemade Dobsonian mount) is not an imaging scope.  My camera, a Canon EOS Rebel SL1, is intended mostly for Auto mode pictures at kids’ birthday parties (but it is super light – a prime consideration for balance on my Dob).  With no mount tracking beyond my own steady hand, I can only get about 25 seconds of video before Jupiter moves out of a stationary field of view.

Post-processing is another matter entirely.  It is more art form to properly stack and extract image detail from PIPP, AutoStakkert, RegiStax, and Photoshop.  It is great that these computer tools exist, but the only way to fully appreciate their capabilities is through trial and error.

The above image, taken this past Saturday, may be my best attempt at Jupiter so far.  Of note is that detail, a little, is visible within the Great Red Spot.  Also, this is my first image that left me confident in using AutoStakkert’s Drizzle (enlarging) function.

As I processed my Jupiters this week I posted what I thought were the best of each batch to Twitter.  Here are the several I have not posted about previously on this blog:

This one is neat with Io’s shadow:

Last is a smaller scale version, with slightly different editing, of the image posted at the top: