Solar System Images

Although light pollution is not a problem for plananetary imaging, the Atmosphere must be very steady to obtain sub-arcsecond resolution. Near the gulf coast, the skies are not very transparent but at times the steadiness of the atmosphere can be very good. This usually occurs during the summer when laminar flow off the gulf saturates the air and the temperature is near the dew point. At this time the thermal inertia of the atmosphere is at its maximum and convection currents are at their minium.

The Ringed Planet Saturn. These images of Saturn were taken with a C14 and a ST6 CCD. Eyepiece projection was used with a 10mm plossel to increase the focal ratio to f/66. These images were taken 9/15/01, 9/16/01, 9/19/01 and 9/20/01 from Houston Texas.

High Resolution Planetary Imaging. Many times it is nearly impossible for one to take advantage of the full resolution that a scope can provide. There are many factors that have to come together at one tine to get the highest possible resolution. A good CCD, fine optics and excellent tracking are necessary from the equipment side. Many times, good telescopes can be collimated poorly, not letting their optics perform at there best. One of the most difficult aspects of planetary imaging is getting good focus. It usually takes me about 20-30 minutes before I have convinced myself that the focus is as good as it can be. The wild card in the process is the atmospheric seeing. Here on the Gulf Coast of the USA, the seeing fairly often is 7-8 and sometimes it approaches 9 momentarily. High resolution imaging can be attempted when the seeing approaches 8 while hoping for moments of better seeing during the actual exposures. These images of Jupiter were taken with a C14 and a ST6 CCD on 10/20/00 and 10/19/00 from Houston, Texas.

Jupiter's White Ovals. One of the atmospheric phenomenon on Jupiter is the occurrance of white ovals. These "storms" appear and dissipate sometimes lasting years. The white ovals drift over time and have the possibility of colliding with one another. A collison of white ovals is of scientific interest as much can be learned about the atmospheric dynamics from such an event. Antonio Cidadao has noticed over the last few weeks that the two on the left seem to be moving closer together. The moon to the right is Io. The white ovals should be visible in a 6 inch refractor or an 8 inch reflector and can be monitored to see if a collision will take place. This image was taken from Houston Texas with a ST6 CCD and a C14 @ f/62 on 1/23/01.

The Many Faces of Jupiter. Jupiter continiously displays a different view of itself. From the cloud belts, to the red spot, to the moons of Jupiter which regularly cast their shadows on the cloud tops of Jupiter, the face of Jupiter is always changing. In the second image Io's shadow can be seen as a dark circle on Jupiter. Io itself can be seen as a small dot just to the right of Jupiter's Red Spot. Ganymede can be seen in the third image. These images are LRGBs taken with a C14 and a ST6 CCD operating at a focal ratio of f/65 through 10mm eyepiece projection. Taken from Houston, Texas in September and October 2000.

The Planet Jupiter. The planet Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It is a "gas giant" and this year it is almost 50 arcseconds in apparent diameter. Jupiter is actually about 88,000 miles in diameter and is about 500 million miles from the sun. Its rapid rotation( 10 hour day) and large gaseous mass flattens out Jupiter so that its equatorial diameter is greater than its polar diameter. The greyscale image was made from the average of 8 images each .4 seconds. Taken with a C14 and a ST6 CCD from Houston, Texas on 11/13/99 using a 10mm projection eyepiece. The left 3 color images were made with the same configuration on 11/22/99 and the right hand image was taken 11/27/99.

Jupiter and it's Red Spot. The red spot on Jupiter is a giant "storm" that has existed for hundreds of years. It can be observed with a small telescope of about 4 inches. Since Jupiter has a rapid rotation period of about 10 hours, the red spot makes a regular appearence. This image of Jupiter was made with a ST6 CCD and a C14 at f/65. A 12 mm eyepiece was used to project the image 85mm onto the CCD chip. This LRGB was taken 10/6/00 from Houston Texas. Exposure times were R=G=B=.2 seconds.

The planet Saturn. Saturn has the distinction of having a spectacular ring system. The rings may be viewed in a small 60mm scope with a minum of about 40 power. In a 4 to 6 inch scope, Cassini's division can be seen as a gap between the two primary rings. The diameter of the ring system is 171,000 miles. Although the rings appear to be solid, background stars can be seen shining through the ring system. This image is a WCMY made with a C14 and an ST5 CCD taken from Houston, Texas on 9/19/98.

The Ringed Planet Saturn. The planet Saturn has the distinction of the planet with the most beautiful ring system. Although the rings appear solid they are actually made up of many small pieces. The rings shape is goverened by Saturn's moons. These moons are called "sheperding" satilites and have molded the rings as we see them today. Saturn is the second largest planet of the solar system and is known as a "gas giant". These images of Saturn are "LRGB" taken with a C14 at f/22 using a 10 mm projection eyepiece and a ST237 CCD. Taken from Houston Texas from 8/27/00-9/1/00.

The Planet Jupiter. The planet Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It is a "gas giant" and this year it is almost 50 arcseconds in apparent diameter. Jupiter is actually about 88,000 miles in diameter and is about 500 million miles from the sun. Its rapid rotation( 10 hour day) and large gaseous mass flattens out Jupiter so that its equatorial diameter is greater than its polar diameter. Taken with a C14 and a ST6 CCD from Houston, Texas using a 10mm eyepiece projection to f/65. This image was taken 11/27/99.

The Crater Clavius on the Moon. Clavius can be seen as the large crater on the left side of this image. close examination reveals many small craters on the floor of clavius and a curious partial ring of larger craters. Look for clavius about 2 days after half moon. Thsi image was taken with a C14 at f/11 with a st237 CCD on 4/12/00 from Houston Texas. Exposure time was .03 seconds.

Comet Hale-Bopp...4/05/97...50mm...@f/5.6...50sec... from Danciger, Tx.