Jewels In The Sunset, June 22nd

Friday night the young, crescent  moon was underneath Jupiter and Venus, Saturday night the moon had moved up to make a nice triangle with Jupiter and Venus, yesterday night the moon had moved on.

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Tonight we’ve gotten a few high clouds – or it might be smoke, there are a number of brush fires in SoCal, one of them only twenty miles away or so. Whatever. You can see how far the moon has moved again. Tomorrow night I might still be able to get it in the frame using the wide angle lens, but not by Wednesday. Still, Jupiter and Venus continue to close in on each other.

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Pulling out the small telescope, the moon is an easy target. I really want to work on getting the focus better since I think I can get images that are sharper than this. It would help a lot if the scope could be set up on a permanent stand and the balance and gearing on the drive set up better, but that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

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Taking a shot at Jupiter, it’s easy to see that this is a much higher magnification that the 300mm telephoto lens gives. From the top to bottom, we have Europa, (Jupiter), Callisto, Io, and Ganymede.

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Cropping that image, it’s obvious that here also, precise focus is an issue. It’s hard to do through the camera viewfinder. Since I don’t have the guidance on the mount set up properly the scope drifts and moves a lot more than it should, so I’m using both hands to try to keep it on target while I focus. That in turn jiggles the whole system enough for it to be even harder to focus.

No detail on Jupiter, obviously, but if I could solve some of the mechanical issues, I would like to next try to take a whole bunch of very short exposures (say, 1/30 second or so) and then stack them, instead of trying to take one long exposure (this one is 1/2 second).

That’s what this is, test, fiddle, test again, fail, fiddle some more, test… Fair early, fail fast, fail often in order to make progress. And be patient.


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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

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