Jupiter and Mars

I was surprised today by a decent Astrospheric forecast, so I scurried outside to set up the G11, Meade, and planetary imaging package from scratch. Because of the HAL meeting coming up, I came inside for an early dinner, then I went back out before the meeting started to check collimation, which I found that it was off by just a little, but perhaps I am just developing a more discerning eye. A modest breakthrough here. I found that with the OTA in a nearly horizontal position when pointing at the artificial star, I can reach inside of the dew shield to reach the adjustment screws. The adjustment screws cannot be reach when the scope is pointing upward at a star. Also worth mentioning is that I am finding collimation to be much easier now that I have done it a few times, and I hope to have the discipline to check it after each Meade set up.

I had planned to image Saturn first, but I did not feel like chasing it to the other side of the meridian. I’ll start with it tonight.

I went outside at 2115 to polar align and image Jupiter. The temperature was about 45 degrees, there was no wind, and the metal table was dry. Polar alignment went without a problem. Even without using the polar alignment scope, I estimate that my initial smartphone alignment was well less than one degree off.

Astrospheric indicated average below seeing, but what I experienced was probably about average with an occasional bad shimmer. The GRS was visible and probably 45 minutes from rotating out of view. I captured 10 RGB runs of 30s and 2900 frames per filter. The shutter was 1 to 2 ms, gain was 400, and frame rate was 100 FPS. I finished this portion of the session by 2200. I was wearing a medium coat, and I was comfortable the entire time.

I was outside from 0130 until 0230 to capture mars. The temperature was about 42 degrees, there was no wind, and the metal table was dry. There were two separate RGB captures. I halted the first one after five runs because I realized that it had been a couple of hours since I had last focused. I don’t think the focus changed very much, if any at all. For the second capture I shot 7 RGB runs of 60s and 14,000 to 28,000 frames per filter. Shutter was 1 to 2 ms and the gain was 400. Frame rate average was 474 FPS. I had an extra layer under the coat for this session, and was comfortable the entire time.

Jupiter - 2022-10-21 01:46 UTC
Mars - 2022-10-21 05:43 UTC

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