Mars


I’ve decided to give imaging Comet17P/Holmes a break and focus on the other wonders in our night sky.This is not to say I didn’t try for a shot but,for the fact that the images that I did take were pretty bad!.The moment I set the scope up it seemed that the skies turned on me and became very milky making Comet Holmes dull and unappealing.Again,I did take some images but am unhappy with them!.I then set my sights on other objects such as the Snowball nebula which I will save for a later post.One of the objects that I did give a shot at was Mars.All went well except for the fact that since my scope is a 10″ reflector,I can never count on the focus tube being oriented correctly.I always end up either bent in a position that is rather uncomfortable or standing tiptoed on a tiny unused plastic stool,trying desperately not to lose my balance and bump the OTA out of alignment.Imaging Mars is quite a feat of gymnastics since it rises in the east and 9X out of 10 the focus tube is pointing straight up.This is when I stand on the plastic stool trying to maintain my balance 🙂 .

The image below is the latest effort in my quest at imaging planets.For some reason,I just can’t get a good quality of shot of these bodies.I have heard that it is because my scope is considered fast at f/4.I just dunno??!.With that said,I decided to give the DSI a try at imaging a planet and while I think it did alright.I just don’t think it works quite as well as my LPI (lunar plantary imager) for solar system imaging.I know I know…duh!.Thats why they call it a lunar planetary imager!!.Another thing I have noticed is that the DSI leaves a CCD lines in the brighter images that I take.Which I am trying to eliminate with darks.

Hey,all isn’t lost…..I have some detail in this first ever image taken with the DSI!!.

Mars has a dust storm

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5 Responses to “Mars”

  1. Wow. That is really cool. At its best on mine, Mars is a red dot.

  2. That picture actually is quite good! Have you ever considered using a CCD webcam on your telescope? I have a post on my blog about it!

  3. Thanks Rick,I haven’t given much thought o using a web cam for imaging.At the moment I use a Meade Deep sky imager which has a ccd chip.I need to checkout the other features of this camera because,it has AVI capabilites…..if that is the same as what you are talking about?!.Given our sporatic seeing conditions here in NewHampshire it make it tough to spend a whole lot of time playing.I’m not sure if I need to stack a LOT more than what I did.I stacked about 40 images that were below 1 second each.Should I stack more?.The other slight problem that I had was because the focus tube was pointed straight up,it made it tough to get a sharper image as you tell by the grainy/fuzzy look to the image.What do you think I should do to improve my planetary images?.

  4. Hi Andrew, I am just starting to do some Planetary images as well, I have a dsi II color, the trick is to get good focus which I haven’t been able to do yet, I have a MEADE LX200r, so I have the equipment, I have a LPI which I got thinking it would work better then the dsi but it was worse, on my flickr you can see what I’ve done, with mars, no matter how long the exposure without proper focus and no matter how many images stacked the detail won’t be there, I think it is going to be trail and error, I am thinking longer exposer times and then set the white balance higher to compensate for the overexposureI like your deep sky and Lunar images, good work.

  5. Thanks Bob,imaging planets is actually tougher that it would seem.I agree about the focusing as well.Have you tried making a Hartmann mask?.Although I do not use one,they work very well in most cases.I cheat and focus by eye on the Pc monitor (eith a little help of the provided parafocal ring on a 14mm eye piece.My problem with the Mars shot was due to the focus tube on my reflector pointing to zenith,so trying to peek into the eye piece was almost impossible.Heh,like you said “trial and error”!.Setting the white balance higher….hmmm,interesting!.I will give that a shot (pun intended) 🙂 .Have you heard of scopes with higher f/ratios being better for planetary imaging?.Not sure but,supposedly a scope (like mine) with a lowerf/ratio at f/4 is better at deep sky images and scopes with higher f/ratios such as f/10 are better suited for planets?!.

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