A morning of planets

I managed to wake in time to catch Jupiter and Mars before the sky started to brighten.
I could see Saturn just about to dip below the neighbours roof, so was too low for me to get in the scope.

I easily got Jupiter in my sights, being a lot higher in the sky.
As soon as my first images were starting to focus, it was obvious something wasn’t quite right.

There were two shadow transits on the disk of Jupiter and I could clearly see that they looked strange.
In the over-processed first image below, arcs are visible on the satellite shadows and Io and Ganymede.


I’m definitely not going to get much detail with that right mess.

It was immediately obvious, that despite me thinking I had collimated my C11 the previous morning, it definitely needed tweaking again.
Collimation was was well out. SCT’s can be notoriously difficult to collimate.

I thought it was going to be one of those nights out with the scope when everything goes wrong as patchy cloud started to fill the sky.

Undeterred, I slewed the scope over to a bright star in the clear gap and de-focused to produce a bright ring.

Using the defocused star, I took quite some time using my trusted method to get the ring concentric, meaning that the scope was collimated.

I then sent the scope back to Jupiter, which was now peeking in and out of clouds.

Within half an hours, the clouds had mostly cleared. Game On!

The image now looked much, much better. The satellite shadow and satellites were now nice and sharp.

I could see the twilight starting to creep in, so didn’t try and use the Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (ADC).
Setting that up properly would have eaten up even more valuable time, when I could be capturing images.

But I was now running out of time…

I ran off a few videos, before putting in a 2x Barlow lens to increase the image size of the disk on the camera chip.

I was still able to see that the focused image was much better than the last time I tried that, so should be able to get some decent enough images.

Once I had captured a few videos of Jupiter, in the brightening twilight, I pointed the scope towards Mars, centering it easily in the Barlow camera view.

The dark triangular feature of Syrtis Major was showing very nicely on the gibbous planet.

I then took a few images of Mars, which had  then packed away.

I turned out to be a great morning, plus I didn’t lose too much sleep either. ?
Next time I’ll leave enough time to use the ADC to try and sharpen the images a bit better.

Below are my images and at the bottom I have put an image showing the relative sizes of Mars & Jupiter, to show just how small Mars is at the moment.






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