In very bad seeing (I would post a video but its too large for here) I stayed up on Saturday to grab Jupiter (you know what it looks like) and then Mars and Saturn. I have decided I need more aperture and focal length but reasonably pleased. Usual 6″ refractor and the new PGR colour camera with Pierro Astro ADC (which was definitely needed on these low targets)
Mars-010516 by Rupert Smith[/url], on Flickr
Saturn 010516 by Rupert Smith[/url], on Flickr
Got to bed at 4am. Yawn…..
Stunning. Stunning, stunning, stunning.
Most kind. Almost makes the lack of sleep and needing to keep the electric blanket on in my sons bed (he stays with my wife when I put on my Mr Freeze costume) for 2 hours (after I got in it) in order to warm up!
Ah, well. Comfort yourself with the fact that John Flamsteed, William Herschel and Edwin Hubble never had electric blankets.
In your Saturn photograph, it looks as though we can see the shadow of the planet itelf being cast on the rings behind it. Amazing detail.
In your Mars photo, presumably that’s a polar ice cap we can see? North pole or South?
Holy…what the…Rupert! Am I allowed to swear here? I want to swear…I need to let it out. grrr, I guess I shouldnt…its not even in my nature to, that’s how much those images are affecting me. Both of them just knocks me flat out for six. If you said you somehow hijacked Hubble, I would still be stunned. So bad seeing, huh? And low down objects too. Pity, we might have been able to discern Spirit and Opportunity on there.
Fantastic work, man, definitely worth the sleep sacrifice and a brilliant demo in using your ADC.
I’m flattered by your comments guys but there is a lot more that can be achieved. The seeing was really bad. Below is the BEST 250 frames from the video the Mars image came from.
Really, even though the planets are low, an ADC easily corrects the dispersion. The limitation for me is focal length and resolving power. Even using first rate optics with no obstruction I have only 6″ of aperture and having to use a 4x Barlow I am having to expose at F32 with only 4800mm FL. Folks like Mr Peach are running a 14″ scope with 10-12000mm FL at F30 max. So more resolving power, at least double the image size and more light so less demands on the camera.
Last night was apparently a very good night for seeing from images I have seen taken so far. I should have had another go but I was buried in my accounts, working out how much HMRC are going to need paying.
As I like planetary, I have just ordered a cheap GSO 12″ F4 Newtonian. £700 for something this big is peanuts. When coupled with a double APM 2.7x Barlow and a special extension I make, that becomes 6.25x. With this scope I then have 7500mm FL at only F25. I will therefore have 1.6x bigger images with less noise because I can reduce gain or run shorter exposures.
If it all works out then next year I have my eyes on a custom Dob with a 16″ mirror. Many of the top euro planetary people are moving to Dobs now to get more aperture and shorter exposure times.