Sunday, October 13, 2013

Jupiter at Prime Focus (900mm Meade Refractor)

I pointed my Meade refractor at Jupiter for the first time on Friday night to try to catch a rare triple moon shadow transit. Jupiter was too low to the horizon to see much detail, but I did try observing and imaging it with a combination of eyepieces and my camera at prime focus. It was obviously bigger through my 9mm eyepiece (which is rather dirty), but still nice at prime focus with my DSLR.

Since imaging at prime focus is much easier than trying to hover my iPhone over the eyepiece - and because I have more control over exposure this way - my prime focus images turned out much nicer. I stacked 9 of them with a longer exposure to create this composite of Jupiter with 2 visible moons:

jupiter 900mm
Stack of 9 frames, each at 1/15 sec, ISO 200, at prime focus on Meade 285 (900mm)

I observed some faint brownish red bands on the planet visually, but they didn't come out in the photos even after stacking. Not a bad first attempt - always room for improvement.

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