Tranquility Base 
It may be a long time since I got a decent image of Jupiter (see previous blog entry) but it's even longer since I did one of these. A mosaic of the lunar surface.
This image was composed of four sections covering Mare Tranquilitatis, Mare Crisium, Mare Fecunditatis, and part of Mare Serenitatis.
For each part I captured and stacked 1000 frames using a TouCam Pro on my Orion Optics SPX 250 telescope. Stacking was done in Registax 5, and the mosaic was put together in Jon Grove's relatively ancient but still excellent iMerge.

Click the image to see the full picture.

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Jupiter is back 
After a long gap, I have made a reasonable picture of Jupiter again, and with the Galilean satellite Europa, too. I have had a few tries recently but the weather here has been pretty bad and even when it was clear it was very windy, leading to very bad astronomical seeing.
I captured this one on the night of 17 September, actually it was 18 September by the time Jupiter was high enough. I captured 4000 frames and stacked 1200 of them in Registax 5, with some final finishing in The Gimp.

Click the image above to see the full photo.
This picture was captured using my Orion Optics SPX 250 Newtonian telescope on my new mount, a Losmandy GM-8, of which more later.

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First full narrowband - M42 in Hubble Palette 
I recently acquired an S-II (Ionised Sulphur) filter, to go with my Hydrogen Alpha, and O-III (Doubly-Ionised Oxygen) filters. I can now do tri-colour narrowband imaging, assigning each of red, green, and blue to those three filters.
I imaged the Orion Nebula using the new S-II filter, and combined it with H-alpha and O-III images from January 2009.

Click the image to see the full-sized picture.
I decided to use the "Hubble Palette" for this image, which assigns the S-II image to Red, the H-alpha to Green, and the O-III to Blue. I also used the H-alpha for luminance.
There is a lot of H-alpha in this image, which is why there is quite a lot of green.
Due to bad imaging conditions, the S-II image is not as good as the others, but this shows the principle.
Images were captured using an Atik 16HR camera, with Baader filters as described above. The telescope was my William Optics Megrez 80 Super Apo.

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Jupiter and a Comet 
On the night of 6 October I captured some more pictures of Jupiter. This one is a stack of 1440 frames, selected from 4000 captured with a ToUCam Pro 740 using K3CCDTools. Stacking and wavelet processing was done in Registax 5, while some further sharpening and cleaning up in The Gimp.

When capturing the images I thought that it looked rather steady. In fact the seeing turned out to be pretty good, and a reasonable result came out.

Click the picture to see it full-sized.

Earlier that evening I went looking for comet 103P/Hartley 2. This comet is getting slightly brighter, it is hoped that it will be visible (just) to the unaided eye over the next few days. After that the moon will be getting too bright to see it so well. It's currently in Cassiopeia, moving towards the double cluster in Perseus.

This picture was taken using my Canon EOS 300D. I took 14 photos of 40 seconds each, at ISO 800. They were combined using Deep Sky Stacker and further processed using PixInsight LE.

Click the picture to see the large version

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Comet 103P/Hartley2 
On 4 October I got my first view of a comet that's been raising hopes among amateur astronomers of seeing a brightish comet in our sky.

I still haven't seen Comet 103P/Hartley2 in binoculars, but I saw it the other day through my Megrez 80 telescope and captured this image.

This is a stack of 14x40second images, stacked using Deep Sky Stacker and processed using PixInsight LE.

The night was humid and hazy and getting more hazy - I tried to capture some more images through colour filters but by then the humidity in the air had increased to the point that even brighter stars were looking like comets.

Click the picture to see the full-sized image.

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Eclipse on Jupiter - Io passes by 

Io is of course one of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. As these moons orbit the planet they from time to time pass by the planet leaving a shadow on the disk of Jupiter. These shadows can be easily seen from Earth.

I imaged Jupiter using my TouCam Pro on the night of 24 September. The first image (above) shows the shadow and Io itself.

Here are a couple more images of Jupiter from the same night, with Io now having passed by - Eclipse over!

Click these images to see full-sized

These were all processed in Registax 5, with further tweaking in The Gimp.

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My best ever image of Jupiter 
Here is an image of Jupiter I captured last night. The night was a little cloudy and I didn't expect great results. The image on my screen while capturing looked reasonable but very blurry.
However after capturing 2000 frames and stacking 864 of them it turns out to be the best image of Jupiter I have ever taken.

Optics: Orion Optics SPX 250 with AE 3x Imagemate
Camera: Philips ToUCam Pro 740 with Baader IR blocking filter
Processing: Align, stack, wavelets in Registax 5, light sharpening in The Gimp

Click the picture to see it full-sized, or Here for an enlarged view.

I have heard it said in the past that a little haze can be good for planetary imaging, now I believe it!

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