I 'discovered' Jupiter, and now I have some questions

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Karim Ghantous, Aug 23, 2021.

  1. On the weekend I took some photos of the moon, as it looked so nice up there. That thing really is bright. I used the longest lens I had, the 75-300mm on an OM-1 II.

    Anyway, I noticed a bright star somewhere towards the bottom right of the where the moon was. I thought it might be Jupiter, or maybe Saturn, but I didn’t know. When I pointed my camera at the planet, the EVF picked up small specks of light on either side, all in a line. Was this an artefact of the EVF or… were those Jupiter’s moons?

    I took a photo immediately and magnified it on the LCD. All I saw was a faint smudge. Hmm. I went to a longer shutter speed to see if I could pick up any more detail. To my surprise, I had actually photographed Jupiter and some of its moons. This was the first actual, proper astro photograph I had ever taken!

    A year or two ago, I asked for advice on telescopes. I will get there eventually, but I thought, in the meantime, if I could make do with the following:

    - A tracking mount

    - A mirror lens, maybe 800-1000mm

    Of course, the mount has to be able to take the weight of the lens, so I’ll have to keep that in mind.

    Eventually I am going to set myself a project: take a bunch of frames of the moon and use frame averaging to get more fidelity. That shouldn’t be too hard to do. I’m pretty sure ImageMagick has frame alignment capabilities.

    The moon at 300mm, full frame:


    The moon, cropped, which takes up about 815px in the frame:


    Jupiter at a shorter shutter speed, cropped:


    Jupiter and its moons, cropped:

  2. Roger G

    Roger G Roger G

    Jupiter's four "Galilean" moons for sure. If you are interested, you can visit
    Jupiter's Moons
    Knowing the time you got the image you can work out which of the 4 moons is which. They have interesting information about other phenomena including transits and occultations too.
    Ricochetrider and Karim Ghantous like this.
  3. Jupiter is very bright, enough that you don't need a motorized mount to photograph it. If you expose to see the bands, the moons are invisible, and vice versa. Even to view the bands you may need an ND filter which screws into the base of the eyepiece.
    Karim Ghantous likes this.
  4. Thanks for that - those graphics remind me of our first computer, the Atari ST. There was at least one night time sky program which could show you which star was which, and on what date. We never had it but it was pretty cool that you could get that sort of software back then.

    I've been watching some astronomy videos recently. I don't know anyone who isn't at least somewhat captivated by the solar system, and astronomy in general. For many, I'd say that astronomy is the gateway drug to science in general.

    I don't understand, though, why the correct view is called 'mirrored reversed view'. I'd call that the 'correct' view, personally.
  5. They are called Galilean moons, as Galileo saw them with his first telescope.

    Handheld, with no equatorial mount.

    Even so, it is interesting to know how easy they are to see with a camera and lens.
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  6. Inverting and right-angle prisms are more convenient for direct observation, the extra glass degrades the image somewhat. The best photos are obtained when the camera is attached directly to the focusing tube, resulting in an inverted image.

    You can see the Galilean moons with 8x binoculars, even hints of Saturn's rings, especially now in opposition.

    A motor drive is not needed for photography of Jupiter, but helps keep it in view while you fiddle with the camera. I like to use a fluid video head. There's less spring-back because you move the head not the telescope, and you can balance a light telescope fairly easily. I have a 4" (105 mm) Maksutov reflector, 1300 mm FL, f/13.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
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  7. Good resolution for a 300mm zoom!

    I'd think hard about getting a mirror lens - they're usually not that great optically. Even my 1000mm Reflex-Nikkor doesn't really get any more detail, compared to the old refractive 400mm f/5.6 IF-ED Nikkor that's my goto long lens.

    Perhaps a halfway decent astronomical telescope and camera adapter would be a better buy for you? At least it would serve a dual purpose of observing and capturing pix. And most of them come with an equatorial mount.
    Karim Ghantous likes this.
  8. Very nice!! I carry a 300 ED and a 500 mirror pretty much everywhere and have access to very open sky views so I may have to try some of this. Other than the occasional moon shot I have little knowledge of astronomy so it would be a borderline miracle if I got something like that and realized it.

    Rick H.
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  9. There are apps for the iPhone (and others) to help you identify and locate astronomical objects. Some allow you to hold the screen up to the sky for a virtual view like a viewfinder.
    Karim Ghantous and Allen Herbert like this.
  10. Well, I like "mirror" lenses too much, as it happens.
    but here was when I "discovered" Jupiter and Saturn at their conjunction last year, hand-held EF 100-400mm so not much detail - no rings, moons, or such likeo_O

    in any case at 300 feet ASL here we're close to the bottom of the atmospheric "well".

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