Images: Jupiter at opposition

Date: April 7, 2017

Time: 11:00 PM (approx)

Scope: Celestron NexStar 130SLT

Eyepiece: 25 mm

Camera: iPhone 6

Here is my first attempt at planetary imaging through a telescope. I consider this a modest success, as I simply used a mobile phone camera mounted to an eyepiece to capture these images.

Last night (April 7, 2017) Jupiter was at opposition–with the Earth being directly in between the gas giant and the Sun–which made it very bright and large in the night sky. It also helped we had clear skies here in West Michigan.

This first image shows Jupiter and it’s stripes (known as zones and belts), details that were enhanced by increasing the contrast and saturation in the image. I am relatively pleased with capturing these details on this first attempt. Note the reddish area in the upper part of the left of the two most prominent bands of color on the planet. I’m not sure if this is the Great Red Spot, as I believe it should be in the lower part of the left band. But maybe it is? (Can anyone confirm this?)

File Apr 08, 11 02 03 AM Enhanced

This image was enhanced in Photoshop to bring out details.

Here are the some of the raw, unenhanced images I took of Jupiter.

File Apr 08, 10 59 16 AMFile Apr 08, 11 00 09 AMFile Apr 08, 11 00 28 AMFile Apr 08, 11 02 03 AMFile Apr 08, 11 02 41 AMFile Apr 08, 11 03 13 AMFile Apr 08, 11 03 31 AM

Jupiter’s Galilean moons were also very much visible. However, in order capture the stripes of Jupiter, the camera settings had to be set to decrease brightness which inked out the moons. In order to bring out the moons in the phone camera, the brightness had to be increased, thus obscuring any finer details. This next image, while too bright for details, was able to capture the moons (In order from bottom to top: Callisto, Ganymeade, Europa, Io).

File Apr 08, 11 04 31 AM

Again, I’m pleased with this first attempt a imaging Jupiter, despite some of the flaws. I will probably consider obtaining a planetary imaging camera in the near future in order to capture more detailed images of both Jupiter and its moons.

Update: I had forgotten I downloaded an app that simulates the viewing of Jupiter at any set time and day as a flipped and inverted image through a scope. If this is correct, I can say with a little more confidence that I captured the great red spot.


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