Planetary Observations - April 2014

In April 2014 was lucky to be able to observe three planets within a couple of hours of each other. Mars was at it it's closest for some time and thought I would get out the telescope to do some observing. It had been a long time since I had the telescope out but ended up being very pleased with the results.

Imaging setup and Software - Philips Toucam 720 with a 2x Barlow, stacking images using Registax 6

29th April
Mars  Saturn Mars

Jupiter had dropped too low in the sky by the time I had setup to capture anything. Thought I would aim to achieve the best focus I could achieve after reading peoples suggestions on the best way to use my Farpoint Bahtinov Mask. Previously I had focused on the planet and used the mask to get a decent focus. This sort of worked for Jupiter and Mars but Saturn was impossible to get a precise focus. Instead used a star relatively close to the planets to fine tune.

Was able to achieve a really good focus throughout the evenings viewing and conditions turned out to be excellent with steady viewing. Was happy with the detail in Mars and was amazed at how quickly it turns as can be seen by the difference in the texture at the bottom and top half of screen.

Reduced the noise on the video capture through tweaking the capture settings, predominantely on the gamma.

23rd April
Jupiter Mars Saturn
Jupiter was much lower in the western sky and set early in the evening. Seeing conditions were very poor at that stage but became progressively better later into the evening resulting in good results for Mars and Saturn. Want to improve on reducing the noise associated with the video as it appears to be taking away from Saturn.