James Paulson's roll off roof observatory at the Sunridge Observatory site, taken in the summer of 1986, housing a 10 inch f/5 Cave Astrola Newtonian reflector telescope

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Planetary Imaging of Jupiter at Opposition

Jupiter reaches opposition this month. Opposition is the time when we are closest to the planet. Essentially this means the Earth is between the planet and the sun. It rises as the sun sets, and when it is high in the sky the views of it are at their absolute best.

Jupiter is a fantastic planet for visual observation. On an evening of good steady seeing, you can pour on the magnification and make out many details. For imagers using high frame webcams, they can produce results that rival what professional astronomers of only a few years back could accomplish. One observer, Anthony Wesley even managed to be the first to image and "discover" a large impact scar on the planet during an evening of routine amateur imaging.

The image above was shot last evening by John Kramer using a Meade LPI on a Meade LS8 ACF telescope using a 2X barlow lens and stacked in Registax. It displays the great red spot and the shadow of one of the moons. This is very affordable equipment, although the telescope is a high end self aligning SCT using an approximately 4000 mm focal length. This is a stack of approximately 250 images.

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