If you click on the tab at the top of the page listed as PROJECTS you’ll see my current astronomical projects.
I’m compiling a group photo of all the planets in the solar system using my Yard Cannon and Casio pocket digital camera. I am pleased to release the portrait as it stands after a few sessions in September.
I have successfully imaged Venus, Jupiter (and the Galilean Moons) and Uranus so far.
For Saturn, I think I’m going to have to wait until December or so when it returns to viewing in the morning sky after a swing around the backside of the sun.
Mercury I’ll have to wait for greater elongation from the sun as it currently is lost in the trees that surround my property at sunset/sunrise.
Mars is a tempting early sunset target that I’m going to aim for next.
Neptune will take a great night of seeing and not much interference from the Moon. See my post on how I got Uranus to understand why the Moon makes it difficult to find the ice giants.
You’ll notice that Pluto is not listed—at magnitude 14.0 or so, it’s close to the limit for my telescope (I think). I’m pretty sure it’s beyond the limit of the little Casio. However, I’m working on modifying a webcam, so we’ll see how that works later.
So tonight I took the TYCO out after sunset and tried to capture images of the Harvest Moon and Uranus (which was a little south and east of the moon).
I quickly got everything set up after the scope had cooled down for about an hour. First up I wanted to try my hand at the Moon (I’m still processing those images, so it may take a while to post something here) and after I got my fill of drinking in the majesty of a full moon, I took a handful of movies and still shots with the Casio and the adapter I built.
Here’s the setup: The TYCO, pointed at the Moon, a 9mm eyepiece installed with the adpater attached to that and the Casio attached (green rubber band off some asparagus!) that. It looks impressive all set up in the dark, right?
After a while, I decided to try for the main event and slewed down towards where Uranus ought to be. It took a good while because the glare from the moon was washing out the image in the spotting scope, so I had to kind of blindly look around with a wide 32mm eyepiece in the Yard Cannon till I found that round blue “star”.
From there I zeroed in with the 9mm and got gutsy (the seeing was pretty darn good!) and shifted to the 4mm (which yields 300x on my scope) and took this picture:
In PSE5 I had to adjust the usual, levels, brightness, contrast, etc., then give it the tiniest shot of blue to turn the gray ball into the exact hue of blue-green that I saw visually. I’m quite pleased with the result, as it took minimal processing and kept things true.
I hope the clear skies and excellent seeing continue through tomorrow morning…the ISS is supposed to pass overhead at magnitude -3.0 and I want to try my hand at Jupiter in clear conditions.