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Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Venus and Mars were all right last night

Well, as I predicted the turbulence was pretty bad last night, at least the scope wasn't dripping with condensation though. The image shows last nights and the night before image, along with an image of what I should have been seeing at that time. I'm quite chuffed, despite imaging with a 320 x 120 elderly web cam, no clock drive and with the images dancing around in the turbulence, I can still clearly make out Syrtis Major, Hellas, Mare Serpentis and (just) Mare Cimmerium. The images were taken as 1 and 2 minute AVI's, and stacked with Registax after discarding the worst images. Tonight the weather has gone cludgy again, but if it clears up and the atmosphere settles down, then I'm going to see if I can get better resolution. One issue I do have is focus, in the absence of the Moon to get good focus, focusing on Mars is a right pain. I'm going to make myself a Hartmann mask to see if I can get better focus.

I also got a reasonable image of Venus as well, the image here is a time series showing Venus increasing in size and decreasing in phase. If all goes well I might be able to get the crescent phases of Venus. That would be something. I probably should get a wratten violet filter and go cloud hunting.

Hey they came out pretty good, especially considering the turbulence. You could try a parafocal ring to get you close to focus too. I have been having pretty good luck with it, but with turbulence I have to pick my moments.

Oh, the "reasonable" image is a good deal more than reasonable. Good luck on the crescent, I'll be looking for it.
[Blush] Thanks Tom, of course now that I can get these images, I want to rush out and get a ToUcam with higher resolution :-)

The turbulence is really annoying, but with piles fo hot air coming from the desert I think I have to live with it. In the raw AVI's you can see Venus hopping around like a blob of molten metal. I'm going to have a go at Mercury at greatest elongation, bet that will bounce around a bit.

The parfocal ring would be a good idea, but when my web cam was focussed, the eye piece ends have to be about half an inch from the eye piece tube to be in focus. But then, I have an old barlow tube, which I might be able to rig up so they are in focus.
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