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Uranus System Ballet

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#1 rehling

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 06:37 PM

It's been a long-standing goal of mine to make a movie of the Uranus system in motion, and I captured a few days' worth in 2017. In October 2018, I had a much better go at it. For fourteen consecutive nights, I got a pic of the system using the same parameters every night except the fifth, when weather utterly refused to cooperate. Fourteen was a magic number for me because the period of the outermost of the bright moons, Oberon, has a period of 13.5 days. Oberon, then, is the main driver of this project.

 

Here are those frames composed into an animation. It's easy to watch Oberon cycle around, and not too hard to follow Titania, the second-furthest-out. The inner bright moons, Ariel and Umbriel, are easily visible in all frames, but they orbit so rapidly that their motion doesn't seem at all smooth. For the one night when I could not image, I inserted a frame with the moons marked with their initials.

 

Uranus is a delight for this because, presently, the moons never transit and they can be followed all the way around. Something similar could be done for Saturn, but the parameters are definitely less favorable – only Titan, probably, could be followed easily with the eye.

 

Gear: Celestron 9.25" SCT, AVX mount, ASI1600mm.

 

UranusSysMotion.gif


Edited by rehling, 16 December 2018 - 06:39 PM.

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#2 IVM

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 07:06 PM

This is super cool. I watched a little bit of movement live with my old Stellacam once - you can see some over a long night. This, though, is a dream project indeed. Congratulations.


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#3 deepwoods1

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 08:03 PM

Very cool!



#4 dtsh

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 08:36 PM

What bortle scale (or other) skies was this done under?

 

I first saw the Leyden(sp?) films of planetary motion as a kid and was enthralled by them. A static image can pick up amazing detail, but this shows an intricate, active system. Relative motion is at once understandable without any explanation aside from what the subject is.



#5 rehling

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 09:49 PM

Thanks! I know Kepler could have saved himself a lifetime of work with this movie, all the more admirable to have done it with the case of Mars, from a moving platform near the plane of Mars' orbit.

 

I am in an utter white zone, with the skyscrapers of San Francisco easily visible from the location of my telescope, though roughly 180° of azimuth away from Uranus at the time of these pictures.

 

The conditions, of course, varied from night to night. I was lucky to get 13 of 14 clear, but at least one of the nights, I had to hurry the observation before and after some clouds.

 

In 2018, I also, for the second time, tried to image Iapetus throughout its orbit and capture the variation in brightness. That did not go so well as the variation in transparency and seeing from night to night interfered quite a bit. Maybe 2019…



#6 cshahar

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 10:31 PM

Really nice depiction of a dynamic system. I love animations but this one is quite special. I have never seen an animation of the Uranus system before!

 

-Charles


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#7 Stargazer3236

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 01:18 AM

I like Uranus. I have often imaged it to get four of the 5 brightest moons. I hope to be getting a larger scope next year, 10" or 11" to take my planetary imaging to a new level.


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