As I wrote on my previous post, an exceptionally good weather kept me outside pretty much every night just when Jupiter was at its best.

On April the 7th, during its opposition, I was able to capture a sequence of 4 sets of video captures, each one in RGB. I tried to optimize as much as possible my timings, in order to keep rotational differences between frames under control. This will probably be even easier on a future Planetary Imager release, when I'll implement a scripting interface.

The results are even better than the previous evening.

I was able to take 4 images, and create an animation displaying Jupiter's rotation and its satellites.

Jupiter mini animation, 07/04/2017

Click here for a webp animation: much higher quality, but right now working only on Google Chrome.

These are the best two frames of the animation, so you can better view the features:

Jupiter mini animation, 07/04/2017 - single frame (1)
Jupiter mini animation, 07/04/2017 - single frame (2)

During the following night I optimized even further my capture speed, so I could take much more frames (up to 15). Unfortunately I couldn't use all of them due to the usual tree in front of my garden, but the result is still pretty good. The resolution is possibly a little bit worse, maybe for worse seeing or focusing issues, but the animation is much more smooth now.

Jupiter animation - 09/04/2017

Click here for a webp animation: much higher quality, but right now working only on Google Chrome.

And here again a few interesting frames of the sequence

Jupiter animation frame (1) - 09/04/2017
Jupiter animation frame (2) - 09/04/2017
Jupiter animation frame (3) - 09/04/2017

And finally, a little treat for Alessia, who wasn't with me, but she would have liked to, particularly given this little incursion by a curious fox

A few more summerlike days, and a few more astronomical shots.

It was sunny, and with a very good seeing from Thursday to Saturday night, just in time for Jupiter's opposition, when it's closer to Earth, and then bigger and easier to capture.

But since I wasn't very happy with my previous Jupiter shots, the first of these three nights I mainly took pictures of the moon.

I began by using my newest camera, an ASI 1600mm: it's more of a deep sky camera, not very suitable for planets and moon: 3.8 µm pixel size instead of 2.4µm of my other camera, an ASI 178mm, and bigger pixels means lower resolution. It also has a much wider sensor, which slows down capturing (and fast framerates is a key element to get high resolution images), but this is also an advantage from another point of view: I was able to capture the whole moon disk in just a single shot, instead of the usual mosaic.

This is the result, in my opinion one of my best looking images ever:

Moon, 06/04/2017

Please click the "Original version" button to get the high resolution image.

But after a couple of full moon shots, I also wanted to see the difference in resolution with my ASI 178mm, so I swapped camera, and started capturing frames near the terminator.

After stacking and stitching everything, this is the result:

Moon - HD Mosaic, 06/04/2017

Of course, the previous image looks a bit better aestetically: having the full disk is surely more eye pleasing, and it's also a bit less grainy, due to the lower resolution.

But if you look at both at them at full size (again, open the "Original version", and zoom at 100%) this second image mosaic is clearly showing a lot more details.

Again, I am quite happy about the result. It surely might have been better if I had taken more images to cover the full disk, and there are some stiching issues here and there in the image (I'll try reprocessing it soon), but for such a small telescope (a 5" maksutov) I couldn't have hoped for better images.

Finally, when Jupiter raised a bit more, I decided to stay outside a little longer, despite having work the following day, and tried an RGB shooting, although it was still very low on the horizon (only 25°). While shooting the images didn't look bad at all, but I wasn't quite ready to the result I was gonna have after processing the RGB set:

Jupiter, 06/04/2017

Again, for such a small scope, and such a low object, the amout of details is impressive, particularly compared to my previous jupiter shot. It's almost as good as the images taken with my 8" telescope back in Milan, but with colour this time!

During the evening I also asked my neighbours, a pleasant young couple from New Zealand, to have a quick look through the eyepiece... It's always nice to see reactions of someone watching for the first time the moon through a telescope, sometimes you're able to feel their wonder and awe.

Happy about the results, I then decided to try a full weekend of imaging, weather permitting. And I was lucky. I took lots more pictures during Friday and Saturday nights.

But I still have to finish processing them, so stay tuned until the next post... :)