Started attempting planetary imaging in the 80's using a Meade MTS-SC8 with an add-on mechanical clock drive and a Canon SLR film camera. Used tele-extenders, filters, and something called an MFFT55 (still have it, don't recall what it is). Upon bringing the exposed roll in for developing, there would be huge satisfaction if anything even closely resembling a planet appeared on the prints. Fast forward to 2018 when, after a long hiatus from the hobby, I purchased some modern equipment including a ZWO120MC camera. Even with this modest camera, the images it would produce were stunning to me compared to what I had been used to. That said, there was always the temptation to try and make them just a bit better and more purchases were made. Pricier cameras, ADCs, filters, etc., but truth be told, the final results were always only marginally better than the 120, so I started leaning more to deep sky imaging. As this year's Jupiter/Saturn season opened, I started noticing posted images that if I didn't know better, would swear were made by the Hubble and made every image that I had previously made look less than mediocre and inspiring me to get back to the planets. After re-educating myself on planetary seeing, exposure, gain, etc., got everything ready, centered on Saturn and was greeted by a planet that looked like it was swimming underwater. AS3 analysis showed only about 20% of the images were above the midpoint grade and the Registax product was typically mediocre. A couple of mornings back, I stepped outside and noticed Mars riding very high in the sky - this is it, I thought! I'll set up this evening and have everything ready to go in the steady pre-dawn air. Good Astropheric forecast, Mars nearly overhead, no temperature variations in the early morning air - with all the boxes ticked, I centered Mars and prepared for the steady view of a planet like I've never seen before. But no - Mars looked like it had been electroshocked, quivering madly in the sky. AS3 analysis was below 10% this time. That's it - I'm done with the planets. I'm starting to believe that the geography/topography of my area simply produces permanently poor seeing (I might try again tonight though)..
Planetary imaging experiences
Posted 29 September 2022 - 09:02 PM
i hear that. I was hoping for great planets this year over last; armed with more knowledge, stuff, software. But alas; high thin mottled clouds; for a month. Jupiter looks great to the eye; nicely visible thru the EP; but framed by a circle of white fluff. Humidity 99% Camera hates it. It's like looking thru a veil. 'Seeing' is believing. Maybe Ian will clear the air.
- madmandrews likes this