Improving my planetary with Jupiter

I’m enjoying the gas giants as much as I can while they are still close for the year. Learning to do planetary is like learning deep sky, but the techniques and skills don’t overlap very much, and I feel like I am starting all over again learning planetary imaging. It’s fun!

I took a few sets of data on the planets the other nights, and I have discovered a few things so far that I feel are already improving my results.

  1. Drink caffeine and stay up until the planets are at meridian.
  2. Be very careful and patient when setting the atmospheric dispersion corrector. Although the new tool to do this in SharpCap is really handy, simply trusting its readout still didn’t lead to perfect correction.
  3. I like a finely-tuned multiple-iteration unsharp mask over wavelets.
  4. Longer exposure times seem to lead to better detail, even though there is more chance for scintillation to ruin frames.
  5. Stacking more low quality frames seems to give a better result than stacking few high quality frames. I could see more detail when it was not lost in a sea of noise.
  6. It’s easy to over-sharpen to try to compensate for detail that is not there.

Anyways, I think this attempt worked out better than last time! This is a one-to-one crop of the data, and Jupiter is about 520 pixels in size. Jupiter’s apparent diameter was 49.12 arcseconds, making it about 40 times smaller than the moon. It was about 373,000,000 miles away from us.