Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jupiter's bland side

I am a glutton for punishment.  Not only did I watch/listen to the entire UA vs. UCLA football game last night, I stayed up until nearly 3 AM to take an image of Jupiter and also to observe Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1).  The comet is fantastic right now sporting a very large coma and a condensed nucleus.  It is a much better target than ISON, despite the apparent lack of a tail.  The comet is high enough over the eastern horizon by about 1 AM to start observing, although as it rises higher there is less atmospheric extinction and it appears brighter.

Jupiter on the other hand was much less forgiving than the comet last night.  Comets are inherently fuzzy objects and one does not notice the turbulent seeing conditions as readily.  Point the telescope at Jupiter and all of a sudden it looks like a living and breathing monster of a planet.  The image below is a stack of only 200 frames (out of 1800!) aligned, stacked and processed in Registax.  Left to right, the moons are Europa and Io.  According to Firecapture (freeware used for image acquisition), the ephemerides are:

CMI=82.5° CMII=316.8° CMIII=107.5°  (during mid of capture)

The image was taken through my TEC 140 with a 2x Barlow and the ZWO ASI120MC camera.

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