Conjunction

Jupiter and Saturn 21st December 2020

Jupiter (with some moons) and Saturn, 21st December 2020 (click for larger view)

But… while the viewing on the 21st (the peak of the conjunction) was perfect, seeing three of the Galilean moons, and the glorious rings of Saturn, very clearly, getting a decent through-the-lens photo was not so trouble-free. I was dissatisfied with the roughs of the photos I got that night, with lots of blurring and aberrations that I felt I should have been able to overcome. So I spent the next day taking the telescope entirely apart, checking everything, and trying to colimate it properly, and testing schemes for better vibration stabilisation of the camera. I was ready for another session of photographing the next night, but it was cloudy, with only about ten minutes where there was a view of the planets, and only then through a thick layer of cloud. The next two nights were even more cloudy. But Christmas day had lovely clear evening skies for a good long while, and so I took lots of photos. But they were all still not really very good – I expected that as I’d not solved the colimation problem properly, perhaps because of the damage from the fall – and while I reduced vibration a lot, my exposure times were poorly chosen, and I ended up with motion blurring on top of everything else.

So today I went back to the ones I took on Monday at the height of the conjunction and found that they were not as terrible as I’d thought originally, if I did a bit of rough selective filtering help in photoshop to adjust colour and exposure for the three main elements (the two planets, and the moons). I had to bring down the exposure on Jupiter as compared to Saturn, and then of course the moons disappeared, so I had to bring those up a bit. Then I had to remove (a little bit) some colour problems on Jupiter and the moons due to chromatic aberration.

So, subject to focusing and colimation difficulties with the telescope, this (at the top of the post) is my best offering of the conjunction on the night. I’m glad to have some kind of personal record of the lovely event.

-cvj

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2 Responses to Conjunction

  1. Clifford says:

    Oh, I’ll have a look. And I am an Englishman, so they get that bit right. Thanks.

  2. robert tough says:

    Have you seen today’s (29/12 2020) Times editorials? They big you up, as the young were once wont to say, in fine style. And they are only too happy to claim you as an Englishman.

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