Jupiter, observations through May, 2017, ASI224, 120, and 174MC cameras and CPC-1100EdgeHD
May 30, 2017. I just found a couple of images on the ALPO-Japan-Latest site by Bruce Macdonald of Punta Gorda, Florida that were obtained at very nearly the same time as
two of my images from May 28. His excellent images were obtained in good seeing and show a normal appearance to Io’s shadow. No ears. No volcanic plume. The hypothesis is
I am now working on the hypothesis that I was experiencing tube currents from not letting the telescope equilibrate long enough after opening up the observatory. As my imaging session progressed, the tube equilibrated and the effect subsided.
I just ordered the tube fans made for the C11-EdgeHD by Deep Space Products. I hope this will reduce the risk of having this trouble again.
So, all the images taken on May 27 are not very helpful except as an object lesson it letting your telescope equilibrate properly before doing serious imaging.
May 27, 2017. Tonight I observed part of the transit of Io and its shadow using my ASI174MC camera, 3x Barlow and CPC-1100EdgeHD telescope. I wish I had started imaging a bit earlier, because clearly something interesting had already started in the first images. I obtained 65 images between 9:08 and 10:27 PM EDT. The sequence begins with Io's shadow close to the meridian in the NEB and continues until the shadow exits the limb of Jupiter. For ease of seeing the changes which occurred, I constructed an animated GIF from the images. Note the peculiar shape of the shadow of Io and that it changes as it transits the planet. Note also that the two "Ear" shaped appendages appear lighter and more diffuse than the central part of the shadow and darken as they get smaller. The image of Io itself appears to be elongated in the same manner as the shadow.
Hypothesis: Two volcanoes were erupting as Io and its shadow transited Jupiter. The "ears" are the volcanic plumes and the eruption was already subsiding at the beginning of the sequence.
Needed: earlier observations, particularly of Io itself prior to the beginning of the transit.
Below is a stack of the first five images, realigned and stacked using only one alignment point centered on the darkest part of the shadow of Io. Only 5% of the best frames from the video were used to make this image. The ones in the large montage above used 20%. Note also the enlarged and histogram stretched clippings of Io and its shadow and note the similarity in shapes.
Compare the shape of Io in the image above with what it looked like at the end of my session at 02:28:08 UT below. Note that the extensions of the circular outline of Io seen in the above image have nearly vanished.
Please let me know at email@example.com what you think could explain these observations besides my hypothesis that two volcanic plumes were present on Io during the transit and eclipse. Does anyone else have images taken between 01:00 and 02:00 UT on May 28, 2017, or of the same region on Jupiter on the previous or successive rotation of the NEB? Below is a comparison of the same region of Jupiter in an excellent image taken by Stewart Beveridge the week before:
Note faint gray plumes coming from Io poised on Jupiter’s limb at 1:22 UT, and the right hand plume well illuminated by forward scattering from Jupiter’s limb on the 1:30 UT image shortly after emergence from the transit. In both cases they line up with the “ears” on the shadow.
May 8, 2017. The sky was partly cloudy with some haze when I got home from choir rehearsal last night. I set up with the C11, 3x Barlow and ASI174MC camera and took 12 one minute raw, undeBayered 8-bit videos of Jupiter using a 4.7 ms exposure and a 480x440 pixel ROI. I was able to get a frame rate of 210 fps and a total of 12,655 frames in each video. The videos were processed in Autostakkert 2 and Registax6 and the best 8 derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS and then sharpened in Registax6 to give the image shown at the left. Seeing had deteriorated from average to poor by the end of the session, so the last four videos were not used for this image. All 12 were combined to give the animated GIF shown below.
April 15, 2017. Seeing was not great last night, but definitely above average for New Jersey, when I took 44 thirty second raw 8-bit videos of Jupiter between 1:18 and 1:43 AM. I used the one-shot color camera ASI174MC (my all time favorite planet camera), a 3x Barlow on the CPC-1100EdgeHD telescope giving f/29.5. There was some haze, so I had to use almost 8 ms exposure at full gain. I processed all 44 videos using Autostakkert 2, using drizzling to recover the color rather than deBayering. An animated GIF made from all 44 images is shown below. As you can see, the seeing deteriorated towards the end of the session. A derotated stack of the images from the first 8 videos is also attached.
April 9, 2017. Seeing was only fair tonight. Set up with ASI174MC and 3x Barlow on the CPC-1100EdgeHD and took a set of 30 videos of 30 seconds duration of the planet Jupiter. The combination gave me a focal ratio of f/29.5 and allowed an exposure of only 6.9 ms at a gain of 372 and resulted in a frame rate of 143 fps and 4313 frames per video. The best 10% of the frames from each of the videos were aligned and stacked using Autostakkert 2, sharpened in Registax6 and then derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS and finally sharpened again to give the image shown at the left. All the frames were then combined using GIMP to give the animated gif shown above. Although the seeing did not permit a high resolution image, the increased activity in the SEB is apparent.
April 3, 2017. Not so much success last night with Jupiter. Around midnight, the seeing was not a lot worse than I had earlier for the moon, but Jupiter is not as forgiving a target as the moon is. I think the seeing blob was at least 3x my telescope’s resolution element. Was difficult to focus. I took 24 raw videos of 60 seconds duration using an ROI of 512x464 pixels and an exposure of 11 ms with the ASI174MC, 3x Barlow and the C14. Effective focal ratio (from image size measurement and known diameter of 44.15 arc seconds) was f/24.6. I aligned and stacked the raw 8-bit videos in AS!2, sharpened in Registax6 and derotated and stacked all 24 images using WinJUPOS to get the result below.
One thing I noted while using WinJUPOS was that as I loaded each image for entering the exact UT each was taken, there was a significant rotation of Jupiter between each one. Since the spacing between the videos was at most a second or two and each one was 60 seconds long, it appears that 60 seconds of video is really too long for a fast rotator like Jupiter. It was not so much a problem with this set of images because the resolution was poor, however, if I had better seeing, this much rotation would have resulted in rotational blur larger than the resolution element. I will have to look into the possibility of derotating the frames of the video before aligning and stacking. WinJUPOS might already be able to do that.
The dark brown streak in the NEB just left of center (east) is the trail left by the shadow of Io. Io itself is the yellow streak just below the shadow. Note also the big patch of clear blue sky in the EZ at the border with the NEB just east of the meridian.
I also constructed an animated GIFF from the 28 individual images I obtained from the videos. It is shown below.
March 25 2017. The virtues of NOT deBayering.
On the evening of September 20, 2013 I took a set of raw 8-bit videos of Jupiter under average to good seeing conditions with the ASI120MC, 2x Barlow and CPC-1100EdgeHD. At the time I was already using Autostakkert to recover the color from the videos using the "none” setting in the drizzling section and auto detect in the color menu. I dug up the old .avi file and ran it through Firecapture’s deBayer tool using the very best algorithm (IMHO) the HQLinear one that the Curiosity Rover uses on its images from the one-shot color mast cam. The resulting RGB video was (not surprisingly) three times as big as the original 8-bit video. I then used Autostakkert with the RGB setting in the color menu to process this debayered video, keeping the best 25% of the frames, just like I had done with the raw video when I drizzled in the color. I then processed both TIF files using Registax6 using only Gaussian wavelet#1 with 0.250 sharpen, 0.20 denoise. In the images below, the one on the left was deBayered using HQLinear, the one on the right was drizzled 1x (that is what you get with the “none” setting). If you look closely at the image on the left (see blowup of NEB/EZ region below) you will see the artifacts of deBayering sprinkled about the image. It is a kind of multicolor noise resulting from the interpolation inherent in deBayering. The drizzled image on the right has noise, but it is the normal noise resulting from a finite number of frames processed into the final image. In this case, the 1925 best frames of 7700 taken. The interpolated pixels created by deBayering algorithms are not additional information, in fact, they are just more or less reasonable made up values and do not contribute to our goal of sampling all the information we can get about the object being imaged.
July 5, 2016. In celebration of Juno's successful insertion into orbit at Jupiter I decided to make an attempt at imaging Jupiter under twilight and partial overcast conditions. Using the ASI224MC coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x Barlow and using my home made ADC I took a set of 19 videos of 60 seconds duration using an exposure of 3.7ms and a gain of about 321. Focal ratio was f/20.0. I used the keep histogram constant feature in FireCapture set at 80% in an attempt to deal with the light and variable overcast. Seeing was fairly good for the first 6 videos of the set, but deteriorated as the sky became darker. The videos were processed using Autostakkert, keeping only the best 20% of the 9214 frames captured. The resulting raw stacks were sharpened in Registax6 and the RGB adjust and histogram tools were used to remove the daylight background, first shifting the blue to line up with the red and green with the RGB adjust tool and then setting the black point to the right of the sky background peak. Only the first 6 of 19 images were usable because the seeing deteriorated rapidly after 8:24 PM EDT. These six were derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS and the result again sharpened in Registax6. Not a bad result considering the conditions. The small white ovals in the SSTB were about 0.9 arc seconds in diameter. At the distance of Jupiter of 5.82 AU this translates to about 400 miles across. Note that the resolving power of an 11" aperture is about 0.42 arc seconds. The dark spots in the NNTB are comparable in size. Note numerous blue festoons in the EZ. These are actually spots of clear blue sky like the one the Galileo probe parachuted through.
May 27, 2015. Testing new ASI-1600MM camera. CPC-1100EdgeHD at f/10. Processed in Autostakkert with 3x drizzling. Seeing poor.
May 12, 2016. A planetary Trifecta. Seeing was fair to pretty good last night once the clouds cleared out. I was able to image Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Seeing was poor to fair when I imaged Jupiter but good (maybe 7/10) when I imaged Mars. Conditions for Saturn were not quite as good as for Mars.
April 25, 2016. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work at it, you get mediocre results. Seeing was definitely below par, probably no better than 3/10 when I took 21 videos of Jupiter with the ASI224MC, 2x Barlow, ADC and CPC-1100EdgeHD working at efr=f/21.5. The videos had about 3250 frames each and Autostakkert2 was used to align and stack the best 10% of them. They were then wavelet sharpened in Registax6 and derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS and finally sharpened again in Registax. Not much to show for all that work. The best 7000 frames out of 70,000 taken. We see the GRS rising on the right and a large dark festoon right on the CM near the NEB.
March 13, 2016. Above is an image of Jupiter prepared from a 30 second video taken with the ASI174MC and a 2x Barlow on the CPC-1100. Note resolved discs of the three satellites. Callisto is way off to the right, completely out of the 13.8 mm wide field of the camera. Below is an enlarged image of Jupiter made from a 90 second video taken a few minutes later. Both videos were aligned and stacked in Autostakkert 2 and sharpened in Registax. Seeing was below average, maybe 3/10. Had the seeing been better, the videos would have been undersampled at f/20.
March 8, 2016. Seeing was fairly good for a change tonight when I got the image of Jupiter above with the ASI224MC camera coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 3x Barlow, effective focal ratio was f/30.9. Note similar colors of the GRS and Oval BA..
December 11, 2015. I got up this morning and found a beautifully clear sky, so I got dressed and headed out back. As soon as I saw Jupiter on the computer screen I
knew I should have stayed in bed. Seeing was so bad that I could barely focus the image, and the Galilean satellites were fuzzed out of existence. I could not even find them to use as
focus targets! The image below shows a comparison between my results in good seeing vs poor seeing. Same equipment used. ASI224MC, 3x Barlow and CPC-1100EdgeHD. Same
capture and processing settings and software. Perhaps this is why the Hubble is in orbit and not sitting in my back yard...
December 6, 2015. Seeing was quite good this morning. I captured 33 videos of 60 seconds duration using FireCapture 2.4 to control the ASI224MC which was coupled to the
CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 3x Barlow to give an effective focal ratio of f/32. The videos were aligned and stacked in AS!2, sharpened in Registax6 and the resulting still images grouped into ten
derotated stacks using WinJUPOS. These stacks are shown above. All 33 images were combined into the animated GIF shown below using GIMP. Note that there appears to be a thin
reddish stream leaving the eastern tip of the GRS and proceeding away in the direction of rotation. It can also be seen in the animation even though the GIF is of lower resolution.
A near conjunction of Io and Europa was in progress during the above imaging. I took one 180 second video of just the two satellites and processed it with 3x drizzling in AS!2 to give the
result below. Note that Io is visibly larger than Europa. At the time, Io was 0.92 arc seconds in apparent diameter and Europa was 0.79". The effective focal ratio, including
the drizzling was f/96.
November 26, 2015. Seeing was quite good for a while this morning until clouds rolled in. I got a nice set of 9 images of Jupiter with the CPC-1100EdgeHD and ASI224MC. This is
the derotated stack of all of them obtained using WinJUPOS. The black oval to the left of center is the shadow of Io which is also transiting. It is the pinkish spot on the south edge
of the NEB about halfway to the right of center. The individual images were aligned and stacked using Autostakkert2 and sharpened in Registax6.
I also made an attempt to image Jupiter with the 16" Newtonian, but extensive dewing of the diagonal prevented good captures. Looks like I need to make a better dew shield or else put some heaters up there.
November 25, 2015. Here is my first decent image of Jupiter for this opposition season. Got it with the C-11 and the ASI224MC in the same setup I am using for my
double star observations at f/32 using a 3x Barlow. Tomorrow, if I get clear skies, I will make an attempt with the 16" Newtonian, 5x Powermate and ASI120MC. This will give me
something over f/23, and for planetary work, the ASI120MC is essentially equivalent to the 224.
May 30, 2015. Seeing was unusually good in the twilight tonight. I obtained twenty 60 second videos of Jupiter with the ASI174MC, 3x Barlow and CPC-1100EdgeHD.
They were processed in AS!2 and Registax and assembled into the animated GIF shown here at the left using GIMP. Using WinJUPOS, al the images were derotated to a common central meridian
(very close to the center of the GRS) and stacked, then sharpened slightly using Registax6. Result shown above
May 26, 2015. The twilight seeing was reasonably good tonight. I used the ASI174MC camera coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x Barlow lens to capture a set of 13
raw undebayered videos between 8:03 and 8:17 pm EDT using Firecapture 2.4. Videos were processed in AS!2 using 1.5x drizzling and then sharpened using Registax6. All 13 images were
then derotated and stacked using WinJupos and again sharpened in Registax. The result obtained shows a very interesting transition from the complex braided structure seen yesterday to a
unifor, wider stream. It gives the appearance of passing through a restriction, like a rocket venturi. I wonder what is going on there?
May 25, 2015. I took several videos of Jupiter with the ASI174MC, 2x Barlow and CPC-1100 tonight. The best is shown to the left. Not the complex and
multicolored structure in the NEB. Seeing was reasonably steady through light overcast.
May 23, 2015. This evening, I attempted to find the sweet spot which occasionally occurs during twilight when the seeing gets better for a while. I began observing
Jupiter in broad daylight at 6:45 pm using the ASI174MC camera coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x Barlow lens giving about f/21.5. Seeing was not too bad for daylight observing.
I was encouraged that if there were an improvement, I would get some good images. Unfortunately, the seeing actually got worse as the sun set and twilight developed. I took 12 videos
from 6:51 to 8:23 PM EDT. A collage of the 12 images is shown below. Times below the images are UT of mid capture.
Here is an interesting comparison of Jupiter as it was in late 2000, early 2001 when the Cassini spacecraft flew by on its way to Saturn, and Jupiter as it is now. The image on the left is from Cassini and the image on the right is mine from May 9, 2015. The colors and general band activity are similar. Notable differences include the smaller GRS (18000 km then, 15000 km now) and the missing NTB which was very prominent in the Cassini image. The NNTB is more prominent now.
May 19, 2015. The seeing was pretty bad tonight, but the disposition of old Jove's paramours was so appealing that I took a wide field video of Jupiter and the Galilean
satellites with the ASI174MC and 2x Barlow on the CPC-1100EdgeHD. Note how faint Callisto is compared to the other satellites. This is because of the very low albedo of Callisto, only
0.22, reflecting 22% of the sunlight falling upon it. Ganymede is both more reflective (albedo=0.43) and bigger than Callisto and thus appears brighter (and bigger) in this image which does
not resolve the disks of the moons as a result of the poor seeing and low sampling rate. Note that our moon (Luna) is even darker than Callisto:
Satellite Io Europa Ganymede
Diameter, km 3660 3122 5262
Albedo 0.63 0.67
0.43 0.22 0.12
May 8, 2015. Looking at Jupiter through the 24" reflector at Sperry Observatory tonight, I realized we had another good night for imaging planets. I rushed home and
opened up the observatory and set up the same equipment I had used last night with Jupiter, starting imaging at 8:55 pm. The seeing was quite good at this time, but deteriorated to only
average after the first 20 videos or so. I took thirty seven 60 second raw undebayered videos at an exposure of 7 ms and a gain of 300 on the ASI174MC camera working with a 2x Barlow giving
f/21.5. I processed the videos in AS!2 using 1.5x drizzling and Registax was used for sharpening the stacks. All the images were assembled into an animated gif using GIMP. The
result is shown at the left.
The first five of the videos, taken during the time of best seeing were reprocessed in AS!2, this time using 3x drizzling and keeping the best 25% of the 8348
frames and then sharpened with wavelets in Registax6. WinJUPOS was then used to derotate and stack the resulting 5 images to give the result shown below after wavelet sharpening.
Perhaps my best Jupiter image to date. It was certainly the best seeing I have seen in a long time.
May 7, 2015. Hoping to catch the calm point between the heat of the day and the cold of the night, I set up the CPC-1100EdgeHD on Jupiter while the sun was still a bit
above the horizon and started imaging with the ASI174MC behind a 2x Barlow at about 7:15 pm. This combination gives me about f/21.5. The 60 second videos I took between 7:59 and 9:01
pm were processed in AS!2 with no drizzling and sharpened with wavelets in Registax6 and then all 61 images were loaded as layers into GIMP and saved out as an animated GIF shown at the
left. One of the videos, taken at 8:25 pm was processed in AS!2 with 3x drizzling (effectively f/64.5) and sharpened in Registax6 to give the image shown below. I think 1.5x would
have been sufficient. The seeing, although the best so far this year, was really no better than 3/5. Hoping for better seeing as spring heads into summer.
May 4, 2015. Both the Clear Sky Chart and the chart of the jet stream suggested we might have above average seeing tonight. I opened up the observatory and lined up the CPC-1100EdgeHD on Jupiter with the ASI174MC camera behind a 2x Barlow lens at the f/10 focus of the telescope. This gives an effective focal ratio of f/21.7. Using Firecapture 2.4 I selected an ROI of 256x256 pixels and a shutter speed of 2.3 miliseconds. This gave me a frame rate of a sizzling 432 frames per second. I recorded a total of 34 videos of 60 seconds duration between 8:09 pm and 8:46 pm EDT as raw, 8-bit undebayered videos. Over the course of the session, the seeing went from about 3/5 down to 2/5 or worse. I processed all the videos in AS!2 to recover the color as well as align and stack the best 25% of the roughly 26,000 frames from each video. Registax6 was used to wavelet sharpen the resulting stacks. I combined all 34 in GIMP to give the animated GIF shown above. Note how sharp the first few frames are compared to later in the animation.
I then went back and reprocessed the first five videos, again using AS!2, but this time using 1.5x drizzling and keeping only the best 5% of the frames. These stacks were also sharpened in
Registax and finally derotated and stacked using WinJUPOS. The result of this lengthy operation is shown below.
April 27, 2015. Another night of average seeing, ~2/5. I took seven videos of Jupiter with the ASI174MC at the f/10 focus of the C11. Only 1 millisecond
exposure was needed and with a reduced ROI of 700x406 pixels, a frame rate of 888 fps was obtained, providing 53,292 frames in a 60 second video. All videos were processed in AS!2 using 3x
drizzling. Registax wavelet sharpening. All seven images were derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS and the final stack of all stacks sharpened again in Registax to give the result shown
at the left.
I believe I have done better under similar seeing. Next time I will add the 2x shorty Barlow lens in its cell to the threads on the front of the NIR blocking
filter. Better sampling at the higher focal ratio may give improved resolution..
April 25, 2015. Seeing was predicted to be average tonight. I took a series of twelve 60 second undebayered videos at the f/10 focus of the CPC-1100 EdgeHD using the ASI174MC camera. I used a 1.0 ms exposure, and with an ROI of only 120x128 pixels was able to get a frame rate of 965 fps. Blazing fast, thanks to the USB 3.0 bus. I processed them in AS!2 using 1.5x drizzling to recover the color information and sharpened with wavelets in Registax6. All 12 images were derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS to give the result shown at the left. There is some kind of interaction going on between the GRS and the SEB.
Note that the lower portion of the GRS is of a lighter hue and that there appears to be a plume of reddish material emerging from the bottom (north) side of the GRS
hollow in the SEB and streaming eastward into the SEB. It almost looks like the GRS is deflating into the SEB. Strange. The GRS has been trending to a smaller size, particularly
when compared to its appearance in the late 1800's when the first photograph was taken. It was about 41,000 km across then. It is only about 18,000 km across today. Perhaps we
will witness its disappearance.
April 15, 2015. Although the Clear Sky Chart predicted lots of cloud cover and low transparency, there was a period around 9 pm tonight that Jupiter shone through the haze
pretty strongly. Seeing was predicted to be average, so I set up my ASI120MC with the lens cell of my 2x Shorty Barlow screwed right on the end of my NIR filter on the camera
nosepiece. This gives about 1.5x and an effective focal ratio of about f/15 when used at the f/10 focus of the CPC-1100 EdgeHD. I lined up on Jupiter and took a set of eleven videos
of 60 seconds duration. Seeing was actually below average, but great compared to what we have had all winter. I processed the videos in AS!2 with no drizzling and recovered the color by
AS!2's dithering process (no debayering done). Wavelet sharpened in Registax6. A montage of all eleven images is shown below. Europa is emerging from a transit. I believe
the shadow on the disk of Jupiter is that of Europa.
April 12, 2015. The same videos used to generate the set of fourteen 1.5x drizzled images below were used to create a set of 3x drizzled images which were combined using
WinJUPOS to give the above image. This image contains the information from nearly 80 thousand individual exposures.
March 30, 2015. Mostly clear tonight, scattered thin overcast. Seeing about 3-5. Not good enough to use the 2x Barlow. A set of eight 60 second videos
were taken at the f/10 focus of the CPC-1100 EdgeHD and processed using AS!2 with Registax for wavelet sharpening. All 8 final images were then derotated in WinJUPOS to give a common
central meridian and then stacked. The result after additional wavelet sharpening in Registax6 is shown at the left.
March 18, 2015. Seeing was poor tonight, but far better than last night. I used my ASI120MC camera, 2x Barlow on the CPC-1100 EdgeHD to take a set of four 90 second
raw avi files of Jupiter. Processed in AS!2 and Registax6. One of the images taken at 20:03:43 EDT is shown above. All were poor in resolution because of the seeing.
February 4, 2015. At the left is the derotated stack of all 34 images obtained on the night of February 3-4. I used the C-11 with a 2x shorty Barlow to give a focal
ratio of f/20.8 and took the videos with the ASI120MC color video camera in RAW undebayered mode using a 9 ms exposure at 89% gain using Firecapture. The videos were aligned abd
stacked with dithering to recover color information using the program AutoStakkert2. The raw stacks were then sharpened with Registax 6 and finally, All 34 images were derotated and stacked
Here's the animated GIF from the 34 images I got last night:
February 3, 2015. I finally got motivated enough to brave the cold and go open up the observatory, and it wasn't too bad. I had many layers on, including a flannel
shirt and my quilted coveralls. I was pretty comfortable except for my face which nearly froze off. With a little persuasion the observatory roof opened up, dumping a layer of snow on
the ground outside. From 11:31 to 11:54 I took a set of 34 one minute videos of Jupiter with the ZWO color video camera ASI120MC and 2x shorty Barlow on the C11 giving me f/20. I
processed the videos with AS!2 keeping 25% of the best frames and Registax for wavelet sharpening. A typical result is shown below. Not bad, but I've done lots better. Seeing
was no better than 2/5 but it was beautifully clear and transparent. I will put the images through WinJUP tomorrow and maybe make a rotating GIF animation. Was pretty impressive
seeing an image of Jupiter about the size of a soccer ball on my computer screen.
October 24, 2014. An interesting event in the Jovian system happened this morning around 4:30 am: The Io eclipsed Callisto. The weather was marginal for observation, a nor'easter was just leaving the area and there was considerable clouds and turbulence in its wake. When I got up at 3:30 am, Jupiter was at least visible, so I opened up the observatory and (after imaging M42) turned the CPC-1100 EdgeHD towards Jupiter. I left the 0.7x focal reducer in place (see Deep Sky page) for the observations made with the ASI120MC color video camera. A series of 2 minute videos were taken from 4:17 until clouds completely obscured Jupiter around 4:39 am. The videos were processed in AS!2, Registax6 and finally combined, aligned, cropped and saved as an animated GIF using GIMP. The result is shown below. The transparency varied a great deal over the course of the observations leading to the expansion and contraction of the greatly overexposed image of Jupiter. The satellite in the lower left is Europa.
April 6, 2014. Seeing was only fair but transparency was excellent when I acquired five 90 sec videos with the ASI120MC on the C-1100EdgeHD at f/22 using Firecapture 2.3. Videos processed in AS!2, WinJUPOS and Registax6.
March 9, 2014. Very poor transparency tonight. Could see the moon and Jupiter through haze and intermittent clouds, transparency ~2/10, seeing average ~5/10. Set up CPC-1100 with my new atmospheric dispersion compensator set for no dispersion (Jupiter altitude high enough not to need it), prism cell handles 180 degrees apart, with 3x Barlow lens screwed on the front and ASI120MC camera on the back. I lined up on Jupiter and took 4 videos of 90 seconds duration and processed them first in AS!2, keeping 50% of the frames and the stacks sharpened in Registax6. The four resulting images were then derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS and finally sharpened again to give the result shown at the left, a good result for average seeing with much detail visible.
Note that the presence of the prisms of the atmospheric dispersion compensator in the light path did not appreciably degrade the image. Next step: test it on Mars at a low altitude.
March 7, 2014. At the left is a picture of my new atmospheric dispersion compensator which I constructed in my shop around a pair of commercial grade wedge prisms purchased from Anchor Optics. The prisms have a wedge angle of 3 degrees and divert a light beam 2 degrees. When rotated so the angles are opposed, there is no net prismatic dispersion, but when rotated so the prisms reinforce one another there is up to 4 degrees of deflection and considerable chromatic dispersion of the beam. A drawing of the compensator is shown below. The front has an internal thread of 40 threads per inch to fit the lens cell of Barlow lens assembllies made by Orion. The rear has a 2" ID for eyepieces, webcams or t" to 1.25" adapters.
March 6, 2014. Seeing was only average tonight, but Jupiter was high in the sky and easily seen through light overcast and spotty clouds. Seeing 5/10, transparency 3/10. I took six raw undebayered videos of 90 seconds duration between 00:19 and 00:28 UT with Firecapture 2.3 using the ASI120MC, 1.5x Barlow and CPC-1100EdgeHD. Processed in AS!2 with no drizzling, sharpened with Registax6, derotated and stacked with WinJUPOS and then sharpened again using Registax6. Although not as good as the image of March 1, some detail may still be seen within the GRS.
March 1, 2014. After a long absence from my observatory because of the terrible weather and seeing we have been having in NJ this winter, I was delighted to find a clear sky and above average seeing last night. I took 12 videos of 60 seconds duration using my ASI120MC color camera through a 2", 1.5x Barlow at the f/10 focus of my CPC-1100EdgeHD telescope giving f/18.8. The Clear Sky Chart said the seeing would be above average, and it was. I am guessing about 7/10, transparency excellent.
I processed the videos in AS!2 using 1.5x drizzling, keeping 60% of the frames, sharpening with wavelets in Registax6 and derotated and stacked the results in WinJUPOS, finally sharpening in Registax again and annotating in PhotoShop Elements to give the result shown here. Jupiter was nearly overhead, a bit past the meridian when I took these videos. No color layer shifts were needed to compensate for atmospheric dispersion. With the 1.5x drizzling, the effective focal ratio was f/25.9
The smallest dark spots, like the smaller ones in the STZ to the right of the GRS, are less than 0.5 arc seconds across. This is approaching the 0.41 arc second resolution limit of an 11 inch optic.
January 17, 2014.
After a long absence due to some traveling, bad weather, and just generally horrible seeing, I managed to get out to the observatory last night. Transparency was good with a nearly full moon, but seeing was considerably below average. Clear Sky Chart prediction was for average seeing, but the high velocity jet stream overhead obviously made it a lot worse.
Several 60 second videos were taken with the ASI120MC camera coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 1.6x Barlow giving and effective focal ratio of f/16.6. Only one of the videos gave a useful image. This is shown at the right after processing in AS!2 and Registax6. The clear sky chart predicted average seeing, but the jet stream velocity was high.
Some blue festoons are visible in the EZ and a row of almost resolved small spots in the NNEB.
October 15, 2013. Another good morning, the Jet Stream is still to the north of NJ. Seeing above average, ~7/10, transparency very good, ~8/10. Using the ASI120MC color video camera coupled to the f/10 focus of the EPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x Barlow, I captured a set of 22 sixty second raw undebayered 8-bit videos of Jupiter. This optical configuration gives f/23. The videos were first processed in Autostakkert!2 with 1.5x drizzling to give centered RGB TIFF files which were sharpened using Registax6. All of the images were combined using GIMP to create the animated GIF shown below and using WinJUPOS to create the cylindrical projection map shown below the GIF and a stack of derotated images, shown at the left.
October 14, 2013. After a protracted period of cloudy, rainy weather, I got a break this morning. Seeing was above average since NJ is currently in a hole in the Jet Stream pattern. I obtained a series of seventeen 60 second videos with the ASI120MC coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x shorty Barlow lens giving f/23. They were processed in AS!2 with 3x drizzling and keeping 60% of the best frames from the total of around 6000 frames. Registax6 was used for sharpening the AS!2 stacks and then the final levels adjustment and a downscaling of 2x was done in Photoshop Elements. Two of the better images are shown above. Note the extremely bright spot in the SEB west of the mess following the GRS.
September 20, 2013. Seeing was fair to good this morning ranging from about 4/10 to 6/10 with good transparency. I obtained a set of 25 sixty second videos with the ASI120MC camera coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x Barlow lens giving an effective focal ratio of f/23. Videos were processed in AutoStakkert!2 and Registax6. Two of the best images obtained are shown above. All 25 images were combined in GIMP to give the animated GIF shown below.
September 19, 2013. Seeing was good again this morning, not quite as good as yesterday, but at best was far above our usual average seeing in New Jersey, ~7/10. Likely reason is that the jet stream remains well to the north of us. Starting at 5:55 am EDT and continuing well into bright twilight at 6:24 am I captured 24 sixty second raw 8-bit videos using Firecapture and the ASI120MC color video camera coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x shorty Barlow lens giving f/23. Frame exposure time was 5 ms and the frame rate was 147 fps. Seeing was variable over the course of the captures, 5-7/10. The videos were processed in AutoStakkert!2 with 1.5x Drizzling, and the resulting stacks sharpened with wavelets in Registax6. The image shown at the right was typical of those obtained during the best seeing intervals. All 24 of the images were combined using GIMP to make the animated GIF shown below.
September 18, 2013. The seeing lived up to the promise made by the Jet Stream pattern and the seeing predictions of the Clear Sky Chart. While not perfect, the seeing was as good as I have ever experienced it, perhaps 7-8/10. The sub-Airy disk spot in the STB were occasionally visible in instants of the best seeing, right on the computer screen during video capture. Videos were taken using Firecapture beta 2.3 build 13 with the ASI120MC one shot color camera coupled to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x shorty Barlow lens. The combination gives f/23. 34 sixty second duration raw 8-bit videos were taken between 09:30:32 and 10:12:36 UT. All were processed in AutoStakkert!2 keeping 60% of the frames with 1.5x drizzling and automatic recovery of the color information without debayering. The resulting TIFF image files were then sharpened using wavelets in Registax6. The image at the left is typical of the best seeing instants. All 34 images were combined in the animated GIF shown below.
September 15, 2013. Conditions were predicted to be similar to those on September 11, so I got up at 5:30am with the anticipation of better than average seeing. In reality, when I got set up and had the image of Jupiter on the screen, it was not that good. Seeing varied from poor to fair with at most 5/10 seeing. There was a light haze, so transparency was onliy fair also. With a goal of smoother animated GIFs and less rotational blurring, I changed the duration of the video to to 30 seconds. Between 9:49 and 10:13 UT I took 34 raw 8-bit undebayered videos with the ASI120MC camera attached to the CPC-1100EdgeHD with a 2x shorty Barlow. These were first processed in AutoStakkert!2 to align, recover color and stack and then in Registax6 for wavelet sharpening. Quality of the final image varied considerably. One of the better images is shown at the right. All of the images were combined into an animated GIF which is shown below.
September 11, 2013. Thanks to the jet stream being north of New Jersey this morning I had a spell of unusually good seeing (for NJ) which I estimate to be about 7/10. I took 30 videos with the ASI120MC, 2x Barlow and CPC-1100EdgeHD between 5:48 and 6:23 EDT using Firecapture 2.3. Quite a bit more detail was visible on the computer screen than usual. The row of small spots in the STB would occasionally flicker into visibility and the blue festoons were always visible as was some detail in the SEB and NEB. A prominent bright spot in the EZ around L1=46 degrees was also visible on the screen. Videos were captured as raw 8-bit undebayered files and processed with AutoStakkert!2 using 1.5x drizzling. The resulting images were then sharpened, levels adjusted and atmospheric dispersion tuned out using Registax6. All 30 images were then derotated in WinJUPOS and the best 18 of the 30 images stacked and further sharpened to give the image at the left, and an animated GIF was made from all the images is shown below. Note that as the rotation proceeds from right to left, the resolution increases. The last images taken in fairly bright twilight were the best. The smallest features visible in the best images are about 0.4 seconds of arc across. Some of these can be seen in the STB east of Oval BA. Note the presence of a red oval in the SPR around L2=345.4° and -65.2° latitude.
Here's what it looked like on the computer screen. This is a typical frame of one of the 60 second videos. Amazing what stacking a few thousand of these can let you see.
September 9, 2013. Seeing was pretty decent for around here this morning. The Clear Sky Chart said it would be excellent after sunrise and good during twilight, so I set my alarm for 5:30 am. I was set up and imaging by 5:50. I took 20 raw 8 bit undebayered videos in all using Firecapture with the ASI120MC camera hooked up to the C-1100 with a 2x shorty Barlow. This combination gives me f/23. The videos were aligned and stacked in AS!2 with 1.5x drizzling. This process not only recovers the color information without debayering, but also precisely centers each image. The latter makes it particularly easy to make good animated GIFs without having the image jiggling around by a pixel of so. Registax6 was then used to sharpen the images which were then derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS to give the final image shown at the right, clearly the best so far this opposition. The animated GIF is shown below. Oval BA continues to churn its way through the SSTB and STB.
September 7, 2013. Seeing was predicted to be good this morning. I opened up at 5:20 am and set the C-1100 on Jupiter, attached the ASI120MC and 2x Barlow and focused on one of the Galilean satellites using the Bahtinov mask. Seeing actually was considerably better than yesterday, but still only about 4/10, occasionally worse. I then removed the mask and took a series of 22 raw 8 bit videos of 60 seconds duration using Firecapture (beta 2.3 build 13). Over the half hour the transparency went from good to fair as some thin haze developed. The videos were processed in AutoStakkert!2 using 1.5x drizzling and the resulting images sharpened in Registax 6. The animated GIF shown below was prepared from these images using GIMP. WinJUPOS was then used to derotate and stack all the images, the result again sharpened with Registax 6 to give the image shown at the left. Oval BA is seen at the preceding limb leaving a trail of dark material behind it in the STB. In the GIF taken on September 4 it can be seen gathering up dark material from the SSTB and depositing it in its wake in the STB.
September 5, 2013. Got up at 5am again. Skies mostly clear, scattered thin clouds. Clearer to the east. Setup the CPC-1100 EdgeHD with 2x Barlow and ASI120MC camera and went to Jupiter and focused with the aid of the Bahtinov mask on one of the moons. Seeing was quite poor, little detail visible on the screen. Even difficult to see the GRS. SEB and NEB prominent as well as a very light elongated oval in the EZ outlined by blue festoons. Using Firecapture I took a series of 18 one minute long raw 8-bit videos. These were processed in AutoStakkert!2 with 1.5x drizzling and the resulting images sharpened with wavelets in Registax6. All 18 images were combined to make the animated GIF shown below and were then derotated and stacked in WinJUPOS then sharpened with Registax. The result of this is shown at the right.
September 4, 2013. It was clear, so I went out to the observatory at 5am and set up the C-11 on Jupiter with the ASI120MC and 2x shorty Barlow attached. I focused with the Bahtinov mask, but had to really lengthen the exposure to see the diffraction pattern around the Galilean satellites. They were only fuzzy blobs, but the symmetry was easy to see and permitted focusing. Seeing was really bad. On a scale of 1 to 10, this morning gets a 1. I took twenty eight 60 second raw 8 bit videos from 5:28 to 6:04 am and then shut down as the sky was brightening. The videos were processed without debayering using AS!2 with 1.5x drizzling. Each image was then sharpened using wavelets in Registax6. The images were then combined into an animated GIF using GIMP. This is shown below. They were also entered into WinJUPOS and derotated and stacked to give the image shown at the left. Although the resolution is terrible because of the poor seeing, one can still see many features including Oval BA between the SSTB and STB on the right. The dark material in the SSTB seems to be being caught up in the counterclockwise circulation of Oval BA and is being swept north and then thrown back west in the wake of the spot, ending up in the STB. Discrete knots of dark material can be seen circulating counterclockwise within Oval BA.
August 28, 2013. Sky was fairly clear this morning at 5am, just scattered thin clouds, not much haze. I opened up the observatory and set the C-1100 on Jupiter, attached the ASI120MC by way of the 2x Shorty Barlow and focused on Ganymede with the help of the Bahtinov mask. One bad thing about this mask is that you waste a lot of time if you forget to take it off after focusing! I took about 6 videos, complaining all the time about the poor focus before I realized I had not removed the mask. Anyway, after removing the mask I took another 14 videos of 60 seconds duration. An eclipse of the sun by Ganymede was in progress but quickly left the eastern (left) limb of the planet. Red Spot Jr. is prominent between the STB and SSTB and the equatorial zone was festooned with blue clear spots in the cloud layer.
August 25, 2013. The sky was deep blue with some haze forming a halo around the moon when I got up at 5 am. This time I careafully focused on Io which was just east of Jupiter using the Bahtinov mask. The diffraction spikes were not visible, but 6 first order images of Io was easy to see around the brighter fuzzy disk of the zero order image. See figure below. Focusing made the secondary images symmetrically arranged, just like what happens with the diffraction spikes from a bright star. I then centered Jupiter and took ten raw undebayered 8bit videos using Firecapture, the ASI120MC and 2x Barlow. I processed the videos by what I am now calling my standard procedure: first AS!2, no drizzling, grbg bayer pattern, then Registax for wavelet sharpening the result from AS!2, then WinJUPOS for derotating and stacking, and finally Registax6 again for wavelet sharpening the png file produced by WinJUPOS. The result is shown at the right. A considerable improvement over yesterday. The main reason was the better seeing: I could easily discern both the north and south temperate zones as well as some of the blue festoons in the EZ. More careful focusing could have contributed too. Focusing on a planet in poor seeing is very difficult, and the Bahtinov mask really helps.
I went back and reprocessed the original videos, this time selecting 1.5x drizzle in the AS!2 step. The result is the right hand image above, reduced to 2/3rds its original size for better comparison. I think I see sharper detail in the drizzled image compared to the one made with no drizzling. The non-drizzled image may have been over-sharpened though.
The short animated GIF above was made from the ten images produced by 1.5x drizzling. The moving spots on the right were caused by a dust speck on the window over the sensor.
Auguse 24, 2013. Thanks to hurricane Sandy, I now have a greatly improved eastern horizon. An old apple tree that had obscured the view up to about 35 degrees above the horizon blew down in the storm and is now a pile of applewood logs for barbecue. I got up at 5 am and by the time I had the observatory opened up and the C-1100 running and GoingTo where Jupiter was supposed to be, it was already 35 degrees altitude against a clear deep blue sky. Using the Beta 2.3 build 13 version of FireCapture I took twelve 60 second raw 8bit videos, no debayering. Seeing was poor to fair, well below average, around 3/10 but the transparency was good. I could see the NEB and SEB and hings of the GRS, but no other detail. The videos were processed in AS!2, allowing it to form the color image by dithering. No drizzling selected. The resulting tiff files were sharpened in Registax6 and then derotated and stacked using WinJUPOS to give the result at the left.Certainly a lot more detail than could be seen through the eyepiece or on the computer screen during capture. Love that software!