Moon and Jupiter

I haven’t been doing much shooting lately because I have been extremely busy during the holidays with the Berkeley Arts Council Holiday Art and Craft Market. But about a month ago I decided to follow up on my successful moon imaging (see previous post.)

Having just acquired a Panasonic GH2, which is a higher resolution version of the G2 used on the earlier images, I decided to try the new camera. The night was beautifully clear and the moon was high in the sky so I also decided it was time to drag out the “big” telescope – a 120mm Orion refractor with a heavy equatorial mount and a focal length of 1000mm.

The detail I was able to capture was quite amazing once I was able to achieve accurate focus.

Then I turned the ‘scope on Jupiter. Because I haven’t really paid a lot of attention to such things for a while, I did not realize that Jupiter was just past opposition, which is the point of closest approach to us on Earth and therefore looks the largest to us.

I had never viewed Jupiter in a telescope near opposition and I was amazed that I could see several of the cloud bands and I could just make out the “great red spot.” Naturally, with my success photographing the moon, I tried a shot of Jupiter.

This shot is not anywhere near comparable to large telescope images, let alone the deep space probes that have imaged Jupiter and its moons, but I was quite astonished to be able to capture the planet this well with my very modest gear, including being able to just make out the red spot. Also, three out of the four Galilean moons are just visible as tiny points of light.

Having been an “armchair” astronomer most of my life, these image were quite satisfying. I’m now looking forward to more lunar images and waiting for Saturn to come around!

~ by Rsmith on December 10, 2011.

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