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Old 15-12-2020, 02:54 PM
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Tulloch (Andrew)
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Melbourne
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Jup/Sat conjunction, Mars, Uranus and Neptune - 14 Dec 2020

A hot (but still) night brought on some opportunities for imaging yesterday. After a few trips to Bunnings, I managed to kludge up a bracket to let me use my DSLR in landscape mode on my Evo mount so I could capture the upcoming conjunction, and was able to make a first attempt with the planets still some distance away from each other.

First image is Jupiter and Saturn taken with my Canon 700D and 70-300mm lens, which actually gives me 480mm due to the 1.6x factor of the smaller DSLR sensor. I then used the LiveView mode at 5x zoom to capture 2000 frames, stacked the best 50% in AS!3 using "Surface" mode and stabilization disabled, then played around with the levels in Photoshop. Three of Jupiter's moons are (barely) visible, Europa and Callisto are almost co-located at the bottom left of Jupiter. All moons shown brighter than captured.

No detail is evident at this short focal length, which concerns me a little as we approach the big day. Also, AS!3 doesn't like stacking multiple targets in planetary mode, I got around this using the surface mode, anyone have any tips on this?

Next I turned to Mars, using my normal setup of C9.25", 2.5x PM and ASI224MC. Still some detail evident, the dust/cloud is still visible at the 7 o'clock mark, Olympus Mons quite visible in this image. Image shown 150% captured size.

I hadn't looked at Uranus for a while, and since it was a dark night I thought I'd give it another go, I might even catch Miranda this time. But alas, it still evades me, hidden amongst the planet's glow. The moons (shown larger and brighter than actual) from bottom-left to top-right are Titania, Ariel, Umbriel and Oberon. Image shown 150% captured size.

Finally I thought about Neptune, and even though it was very low (26*) and almost due west (not my preferred direction for imaging due to my location east of Melbourne), I managed to find it (always the first struggle), and capture both it and Triton, with Triton again shown larger and brighter than actual. Image shown at twice the captured size.

Andrew
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