Yesterday morning I got up early to see the ISS fly overhead at 6am. I got up at 5:30am and got the Yard Cannon cooling down early. After the flyover (really, really cool by the waybecause it was -3.0, a little brighter than Jupiter!) I tried for Jupiter and Venus with the Casio camera.
I took about a dozen short movies afocally, a few with the 2x Barlow installed. The seeing was tremendous—not perfect, but definitely the best since…well, since leaving Texas over a year ago! I could clearly see the ink-black dot of one of the Galilean moons’ shadow on Jupiter’s southern hemisphere.
I found really quick that Jupiter was too bright for the little camera’s sensor so I added my neutral density filter to the 9mm eyepiece. I ended up with sever nice movies. Although, the camera adapter was giving me some fits this morning (I think it was cold enough that the tape holding it together is starting to come loose—it just wasn’t very stable on the eyepiece today) so I decided to handhold it today.
After processing in Registax and Photoshop Elements 5.0, I ended up with the best of the 9mm videos. Turns out it is the best image I’ve ever taken of Jupiter, plus I got all four Galilean moons (barely!) and the blurry smudge (light gray) in Jupiter’s southeastern hemisphere (just below the southern equatorial belt) is the shadow of Europa! I confirmed it with Sky and Telescope’s Jovian Moon Tracker. For some reason Registax stacked everything and gave me a blurry shadow, but a sharper Jupiter. Still playing with that…
So I decided to slew over to Venus as it climbed ever higher into the pre-dawn sky. I’ve learned that the best time to view and try to photograph our sister planet is during twilight as the contrast between the planet’s rediculously bright disc and the background sky/space isn’t so bad.
I used the same method as I did on Jupiter (and tried a few 2x Barlow for giggles) and was disappointed to see Venus was just a gibbous blob of white light. I added the neutral density filte and the moon filter and this is what I got (after processing of course):
Now that I’m getting the hang of this planetary imaging thing, when Venus starts showing phases and turns into a crescent, I should be well prepared to get some more exciting looking pictures!
Time to update the solar system family portrait!