Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

My First Planet Photos - Where do I go from here?

  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 DrFootleg

DrFootleg

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2019
  • Loc: UK, 52.3 N

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:30 AM

I recently bought my first telescope (off eBay) and over the weekend took my first ever photos of Jupiter and Saturn.

I was just thrilled to be able to see Saturn's rings and some cloud detail on Jupiter. But looking on the forums here I see I have a long way to go. I've posted my images alongside all the far better work here so that maybe others just starting out like me are not put off by all the much better photos being posted. We all need to start somewhere.

 

Jupiter
 
Saturn

 

I've tried making sense of what I need to do in order to take my skills up a level, but there are so many threads talking about cameras for Solar, Lunar, Plantary and Deep Sky Objects (which I now realised is what all the references to DSO means). The consensus appears to be that I should take many short duration exposures and stack them, preferably using a dedicated webcam type astro camera (ZWO AS series appear to be what everyone talks about). I would welcome some pointers. I am interested in both planetary and DSO photography, and from my terrestrial photography experience I have learned it is better to buy the right equipment at a price than start too cheap and have to buy again. I am unsure if the rainbow tinting on my photos is just down to the cheap 2x barlow I am using? Or my scope itself (in which case can I adjust it to reduce this)?

 

Is there a good guide online to the cost versus image quality for different options? All help appreciated.


  • John Boudreau, RedLionNJ, happylimpet and 2 others like this

#2 DMach

DMach

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 852
  • Joined: 21 Nov 2017
  • Loc: The most light-polluted country in the world :(

Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:59 AM

Welcome to the madhouse! Lol

 

I also remember those first views of Saturn's rings and Jupiter's bands and moons ... be warned though, it's a wickedly addictive hobby this one.  ;)

 

A good place to start would be to provide the details of your telescope (make and model) - that will help us make specific recommendations.

 

But generally speaking, yes you'll ideally want a planetary camera so you an capture and stack lots of frames.

 

In terms of the blue/red colour fringing, this is most likely due to atmospheric dispersion (differential refraction of different wavelengths of light by the Earth's atmosphere). This can be corrected using an atmospheric dispersion corrector, or ADC.

 

But let us know what kind of scope you have first.  :)


  • RedLionNJ and Billytk like this

#3 RunningMan

RunningMan

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 474
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2011

Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:00 AM

For first images, these are good efforts! It could be helpful for you to provide additional information about the equipment used to capture these images.

Two issues I noticed are:

1) the images may not be in focus (or seeing was bad, or both)

2) atmospheric dispersion is creating the prism-like effect that you mentioned (an atmospheric dispersion corrector could improve this)

Clear skies!
Aaron

#4 DrFootleg

DrFootleg

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2019
  • Loc: UK, 52.3 N

Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:46 AM

Sorry, I put the equipment details on the image uploads, but forgot to include them in the post:

 

Taken with a Skywatcher BKP 200 DS on an EQ5 driven mount.
Lumix GH5 camera with 2x barlow lens and T adapter.

 

That telescope is a 200mm Newtonian with a focal length of 1000mm. Meaning F/5 focal ratio. I think that means I want a 3x barlow for optimal detail capture with a camera like the ZWO ASI290MC? (I've been doing some reading!)


Edited by DrFootleg, 17 June 2019 - 08:46 AM.

  • RedLionNJ likes this

#5 siriusandthepup

siriusandthepup

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1053
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Central Texas, USA

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:00 AM

 

1) the images may not be in focus (or seeing was bad, or both)

2) atmospheric dispersion is creating the prism-like effect that you mentioned (an atmospheric dispersion corrector could improve this)

+1 I think RunningMan got it right.

 

Just for your own info - you can easily see this atmospheric dispersion effect visually at the eyepiece. It is stronger closer to the horizon and usually is hard to see when the planets are above 30 - 35 degrees. You can purchase an ADC or photograph the planets when they are higher in the sky to minimize this effect. That is my suggestion for your foray into planetary photography. The seeing will be better and your photos will be sharper. Right now both Jupiter and Saturn are very south and will naturally be pretty low for us Northern observers. The guys in the southern hemisphere definitely have the advantages for a few more years. This means you gotta stay up later to get the better elevation. That is changing quickly as Jupiter and Saturn rotate into being early evening objects this summer. That will mean better quality shots without waiting until midnight to start shooting.

 

For the focus with your current setup (I know it's not easy to focus with that (any) DSLR) - after you get what you think is you focus - shoot some shots with a little variation in the focus from your starting point and see how they look. This might give insight on the focus issue.

 

Don't go buying anything just yet. Give yourself a few months more of practice. Your shots WILL improve dramatically! I promise.

 

Shoot some moon shots - that will make focus easier and is fun too. Make a nice background for your computer.


Edited by siriusandthepup, 17 June 2019 - 09:17 AM.


#6 DrFootleg

DrFootleg

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2019
  • Loc: UK, 52.3 N

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:08 AM

Thanks for the insights. These were the sharpest images doing just what you suggested (taking lots of shots making tiny variations in the focus). There was visible shimmer on the moon which was higher in the sky, so I suspect the low position of the planets in the sky was my primary problem here. It didn't look like the planets were due to be much higher in the sky any time soon though (playing with the timeline in the SkyWalker2 android app)? I have laser cut a Bahtinov mask but not fitted it to my scope yet. My exposures were around 1/4 second which may be too long to avoid blur?

 

I guess some practice on some brighter stars overhead will help me work out some of these issues?

 

My lattitude in the UK is around 52.3 N btw.


Edited by DrFootleg, 17 June 2019 - 09:12 AM.


#7 sink45ny

sink45ny

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1916
  • Joined: 08 May 2014
  • Loc: Pennsyltucky

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:20 AM

The best planetary images are taken with video cameras capable of capturing frames at a high rate, then stacking them.

 

https://youtu.be/U53g_xZyubo

 

This camera made the video above - https://www.highpoin...my-color-camera

 

This was the still image after stacking.

 

23 55 01 e11111111 ap29

 

The capture and stacking software are free.

 

My latitude is 42.


Edited by sink45ny, 17 June 2019 - 10:22 AM.

  • DrFootleg likes this

#8 siriusandthepup

siriusandthepup

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1053
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Central Texas, USA

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:57 AM

 

My lattitude in the UK is around 52.3 N btw.

Oops - Didn't know that you were that far north. I must contradict my previous advice and recommend that you purchase the ADC now as opposed to later. ADC

 

You can purchase these from any number of vendors. Good luck!


  • DrFootleg likes this

#9 bobzeq25

bobzeq25

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 16931
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2014

Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:57 AM

I recently bought my first telescope (off eBay) and over the weekend took my first ever photos of Jupiter and Saturn.

I was just thrilled to be able to see Saturn's rings and some cloud detail on Jupiter. But looking on the forums here I see I have a long way to go. I've posted my images alongside all the far better work here so that maybe others just starting out like me are not put off by all the much better photos being posted. We all need to start somewhere.

 

 
 
 

 

I've tried making sense of what I need to do in order to take my skills up a level, but there are so many threads talking about cameras for Solar, Lunar, Plantary and Deep Sky Objects (which I now realised is what all the references to DSO means). The consensus appears to be that I should take many short duration exposures and stack them, preferably using a dedicated webcam type astro camera (ZWO AS series appear to be what everyone talks about). I would welcome some pointers. I am interested in both planetary and DSO photography, and from my terrestrial photography experience I have learned it is better to buy the right equipment at a price than start too cheap and have to buy again. I am unsure if the rainbow tinting on my photos is just down to the cheap 2x barlow I am using? Or my scope itself (in which case can I adjust it to reduce this)?

 

Is there a good guide online to the cost versus image quality for different options? All help appreciated.

Get these books, you need the basics, and you'll get them far better there, than you will by reading short posts here.  Don't worry that they say DSLR, you'll still get a lot of information you really need.

 

One thing to keep in mind.  Astrophotography is completely different from terrestrial.

 

http://www.astropix....bgda/index.html

 

http://www.astropix....gdpi/index.html


  • DrFootleg likes this

#10 DMach

DMach

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 852
  • Joined: 21 Nov 2017
  • Loc: The most light-polluted country in the world :(

Posted 18 June 2019 - 03:19 AM

Sorry, I put the equipment details on the image uploads, but forgot to include them in the post:

 

Taken with a Skywatcher BKP 200 DS on an EQ5 driven mount.
Lumix GH5 camera with 2x barlow lens and T adapter.

 

That telescope is a 200mm Newtonian with a focal length of 1000mm. Meaning F/5 focal ratio. I think that means I want a 3x barlow for optimal detail capture with a camera like the ZWO ASI290MC? (I've been doing some reading!)

Yes, the "rule of thumb" is to have the f-ratio at 5 x the sensor's pixel size ... so around f15 for the ASI290.

 

It didn't look like the planets were due to be much higher in the sky any time soon though (playing with the timeline in the SkyWalker2 android app)? I have laser cut a Bahtinov mask but not fitted it to my scope yet. My exposures were around 1/4 second which may be too long to avoid blur?

As others have stated, an ADC will definitely be helpful at your latitude ... but there's nothing stopping you from trying with what you have! Finding focus takes some practice, for example.

 

WarmWeatherGuy from the Cloudy Nights forum has a web site with some great tutorials, btw:

 

http://planetaryimag...etting-started/

 

Regarding Bahtinov masks, you'll find a few people who use them for planetary but most do not. I sit in the "do not" camp - it's too much hassle switching back-and-forth between a star and your target planet (especially on the typically small sensors planetary cameras use) not to mention the assumption that you have zero movement of e.g. your mirror during those slews ...

 

There are some good tricks to learn for assessing focus using the planet itself. (I like turning the gamma down temporarily - I think I got this trick from WarmWeatherGuy's web site.)

 

Yes, 1/4 second is definitely longer than ideal exposure-wise - you typically need to be capturing *at least* 50 frames per second to "freeze" the shimmer that you've observed (seeing).

 

You also ideally want to capture the data in a raw/uncompressed format which, in order to maintain high frame rates, often means you need to "crop" the image in real time during capture (using a Region of Interest or ROI).

 

This is why dedicated planetary cams are so popular - DSLRs are usually not designed with this kind of use in mind.

 

But no rush, have a play with what you have first!


  • siriusandthepup, RedLionNJ and DrFootleg like this

#11 DrFootleg

DrFootleg

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2019
  • Loc: UK, 52.3 N

Posted 21 June 2019 - 07:27 AM

Get these books, you need the basics, and you'll get them far better there, than you will by reading short posts here.  Don't worry that they say DSLR, you'll still get a lot of information you really need.

 

One thing to keep in mind.  Astrophotography is completely different from terrestrial.

 

http://www.astropix....bgda/index.html

 

http://www.astropix....gdpi/index.html

These were such a great tip. Since I last posted I have been reading deep into linear vs angular resolution, seeing and how to maximise it, how the optimal pixel size relates to focal ratio. Now learning what collimation is all about. By the time I next get a clear night around here I hope to be able to put some of this new found knowledge into practice. Thank you!



#12 DrFootleg

DrFootleg

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2019
  • Loc: UK, 52.3 N

Posted 24 June 2019 - 05:01 AM

Oops - Didn't know that you were that far north. I must contradict my previous advice and recommend that you purchase the ADC now as opposed to later. ADC

 

You can purchase these from any number of vendors. Good luck!

I have just ordered an ADC, plus a Telrad Reflex Red Dot Finder which I saw recommended and I hope will make manually targeting my scope a lot easier.

Plus a better quality barlow of suitable magnification to use with my Canon 5DMkIII which I have been playing with using APT software to focus and shoot 1:1 live video with over the weekend.

I only got a couple of shots of bright stars (testing focusing) before it clouded over. But these allowed me to get plate solving working in software the next day. Learning loads, and how now spent more on my telescope add-ons than the entire scope and driven mount cost off eBay.



#13 wargrafix

wargrafix

    Skylab

  • -----
  • Posts: 4060
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Trinidad

Posted 24 June 2019 - 09:08 AM

Welcome to the thunderdome
  • DrFootleg likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics