Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Moons of Jupiter in Orbit

This series of photos (taken all night over an 8-hour period) was taken the same South Jersey Astronomy Club Spring Star Party weekend in Belleplain, NJ, as the comet movie below. Because I used the "hat trick" to minimize vibrations, the exposures vary very slightly depending how quickly I removed the telescope cover (I used the first two bars of the Eurythmics's "Sweet Dreams" in my head to time this while the camera shutter closed hopefully two seconds after that). As a result the image seems to jump around a bit, despite my efforts to keep Jupiter in the center of each frame during editing. You might also notice a brightening midway through as Jupiter reaches the meridian, which is where the mount needed reconfiguration; luckily, I reframed the image so well that I only needed to rotate those "post-meridian" shots 1.5 degrees in Photoshop. No cloud bands are visible on Jupiter since I had to overexpose it in order for the moons to show up.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Comet 73P-C / Schwassmann-Wachmann

I took these photos early in the morning on the last night of the South Jersey Astronomy Club's Spring Star Party (4/29/06). For two hours I took these photos 10 minutes apart, with exposures of five minutes each. Unfortunately, the last five of these 12 photos are out of focus, no doubt due to the dew heater twisting the focus. I had taken four 5-minute focused exposures an hour earlier and so put them at the beginning of the "movie" to compensate for "loss of footage." This explains the slight difference in framing and the jump in the comet's position, which I labeled and set a longer pause. See also individual shots of this comet under the Solar System Photos link.