Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Jupiter of the Year

There are forces larger than myself conspiring against me. Here's the deal with planetary imaging. (Bear with me, it'll maybe make sense in the end.) I hope you already know that the Earth is tilted on its axis--that's why we have summer and winter. The plane of the solar system is called the ecliptic; it's the path that the sun and the planets appear to follow across the sky. In the summer, the sun is very high in the sky. The opposite side of that is that at night, when we're facing away from the sun, the planets are very low in the sky. That means that taking a picture of a planet in the summer requires shooting through miles and miles of turbulent atmosphere. It also means that from my back yard, shooting over the roof of my house, as it radiates heat like a blacktop road. All that to say I'm stunned this photo came out as well as it did. The moon to the right is Europa, and the black spot is Ganymede in front of the planet. The Great Red Spot is just visible on the lower right.

1000 frames each RGB with the DMK in the LX200 @ f/25. Processed with AstroIIDC.

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