Denizens of the Solar System

Most of my early planetary and Moon images shown here were obtained from 1-2 minute movies taken using a converted Logitech Pro 9000 web cam through a 10" LX200R at prime focus. Starting in May 2015, I started using a Celestron Skyris 132c single shot color camera and a Powermate 2.5X. AVI or SER movies were imported and then processed using Registax 5.1, images stacked and the final image post-processed using GIMP.

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Jupiter (Updated Jun. 2, 2017)

 

Showcasing: Jupiter

Jupiter - Jupiter and Io  by Terry Riopka
Object: Jupiter
Description: Jupiter and Io
Imaging Date: June 2, 2017
Imaging Location: Madison CT
No. of Stacked Frames: 4241
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: I had to settle for just Jupiter and Io tonight. Luckily, I managed to catch the red spot just before it rotated out of view. I was really looking forward to the multi-shadow Io-Europa event the next night, but though the sky looked clear, the atmospheric conditions were horrible and I couldn't get much of a shot. This night was not great, but I still managed to pull off a half-decent image.

 

C2014-Q2

C2014-Q2 - Comet Lovejoy  by Terry Riopka

Moon

Moon - Theophilus Crater Region  by Terry Riopka

Moon

Moon - Mare Fecunditatis and Lagrenus Crater  by Terry Riopka
Designation: C2014-Q2
Alternate Name: Comet Lovejoy
Constellation: Taurus
Imaging Date: January 10, 2015
Imaging Location: Concord MA
Exposure Time: 25 frames@20sec ~ 8.3min
ISO Setting: 400
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Comment: My second comet...nice emerald green color. I managed to catch some of its tail in both the medium and high mag view.
Object: Moon
Description: Theophilus Crater Region
Imaging Date: July 18, 2010
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 284
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment:
Object: Moon
Description: Mare Fecunditatis and Lagrenus Crater
Imaging Date: October 23, 2010
Imaging Location: North Bridge MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 38
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment:

Moon

Moon - Piccolomini Crater  by Terry Riopka

Moon

Moon - Bullialdus Crater  by Terry Riopka

Jupiter

Jupiter - Europa Transit  by Terry Riopka
Object: Moon
Description: Piccolomini Crater
Imaging Date: August 27, 2010
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 87
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment:
Object: Moon
Description: Bullialdus Crater
Imaging Date: November 5, 2011
Imaging Location: North Bridge MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 253
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment:
Object: Jupiter
Description: Europa Transit
Imaging Date: April 15, 2016
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 4700
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: Back to Jupiter with this shot of a Europa moon and shadow transit! See the GIF here.

Mars

Mars - Near Opposition  by Terry Riopka

Uranus

Uranus - Conjunction with 44 Piscium  by Terry Riopka

Jupiter

Jupiter - Great Red Spot And Europa  by Terry Riopka
Object: Mars
Description: Near Opposition
Imaging Date: April 2, 2012
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 1080
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment:
Object: Uranus
Description: Conjunction with 44 Piscium
Imaging Date: September 23, 2012
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 1
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: This was my first attempt at Neptune's twin planet Uranus!...Only about 1.4' from 44 Piscium on September 23, 2012! It looked like a beautiful multi-color double star. We showed this view at a public star night put on by the Skylight Astronomical Society of Stow, MA - it was a fantastic opportunity to challenge observers to actually see the difference between a planet and a star. Click here for a 30 sec clip of the live view!
Object: Jupiter
Description: Great Red Spot And Europa
Imaging Date: November 19, 2012
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 1006
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: Jupiter and Europa - one of my best images of Jupiter yet. The conditions that night were exceptionally clear and rock steady (for Concord) and I was able to get some nice crisp images. You can see the small red spot, the Great Red Spot and a swirling white storm just above it, as well as several dark disturbances on the upper belt. If you click here, a small WMV should pop up, consisting of six frames generated from over 5000 images.

C2011-L4

C2011-L4 - Comet Panstarrs  by Terry Riopka

Mars

Mars - Near Opposition  by Terry Riopka

Mars

Mars - Near Opposition  by Terry Riopka
Designation: C2011-L4
Alternate Name: Comet Panstarrs
Constellation: Andromeda
Imaging Date: March 13, 2013
Imaging Location: Harvard MA
Exposure Time: 1 frames@3sec ~ 0.1min
ISO Setting: 800
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics 300mm Telephoto
Focal Reducer: NA
Comment: Nice catch just after sunset! My first comet picture ever.
Object: Mars
Description: Near Opposition
Imaging Date: May 12, 2016
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 4641
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: Here's my first picture of Mars since I started working with the Skyris. Seeing was horrible, but I still managed to get some detail from the red planet. If you click here, you can compare my image with a labeled picture taken by Phil Miles with his 20 inch scope around the same time as mine. The main structures on Mars came out quite nicely despite my poor conditions. What I thought was an artifact of my processing also turned out to be clouds at the south pole! I often go by Registax's call on quality and sometimes even hand pick planetary images. However, this time, Registax indicated that all but about 100 images were any good, so I decided to use all of them. Shows you the power of image stacking!
Object: Mars
Description: Near Opposition
Imaging Date: May 21, 2016
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 4427
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: Another view of Mars, one day before opposition.

Mars

Mars - Near Opposition  by Terry Riopka

Jupiter

Jupiter - White Spot  by Terry Riopka

Jupiter

Jupiter - Double Moon Transit  by Terry Riopka
Object: Mars
Description: Near Opposition
Imaging Date: May 26, 2016
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 4379
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: Still not getting great conditions, but here's one more view!
Object: Jupiter
Description: White Spot
Imaging Date: October 9, 2010
Imaging Location: Orleans MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 1781
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: The conditions in Orleans that night were really good. You can see the four Galilean moons, a white spot and half of the Red Spot, including some beautiful band structure.
Object: Jupiter
Description: Double Moon Transit
Imaging Date: October 23, 2010
Imaging Location: North Bridge MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 124
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: One of my first small wmvs for a double moon transit is shown here. You can see both moon shadows clearly, with Ganymede casting the upper right shadow and Europa casting the lower left. I remember the first time I ever saw a moon transit across Jupiter's surface. I was only 16 years old and likely only one of a handful of individuals on the planet witnessing the event. Realizing you're watching the shadow of a real object moving across the surface of another planet over 400 million miles away is a humbling experience - making you truly appreciate the physical reality of the Universe.

Mars

Mars - Month After Opposition  by Terry Riopka

Saturn

Saturn - 26 Degree Open Rings  by Terry Riopka

Saturn

Saturn - At Opposition  by Terry Riopka
Object: Mars
Description: Month After Opposition
Imaging Date: June 24, 2016
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 4354
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: A month after opposition and Mars is still looking good! I was able to get quite a few decent images of Mars this time around, although the polar caps have been somewhat elusive.
Object: Saturn
Description: 26 Degree Open Rings
Imaging Date: May 21, 2016
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 2362
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: My first time imaging Saturn with my Skyris camera. With it low in the sky and poor seeing, the rings are still beautiful as ever!
Object: Saturn
Description: At Opposition
Imaging Date: June 24, 2016
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 2815
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: My best image of Saturn yet! I could always get Cassini's division to the left and right of Saturn, but imaging it in front and back was always a challenge...you can just barely make it out in this image! You can also clearly see a major cloud band around Saturn's equator and a fainter one higher up. To get this image, I stacked over 2800 images extracted from a video taken at exactly midnight the morning of June 24, 2016, only three weeks after opposition, using my Skyris camera and powermate. Saturn's low altitude also resulted in significant atmospheric dispersion causing the rings to appear bluer on top and redder on the bottom.

Mars

Mars - Near Opposition  by Terry Riopka

Jupiter

Jupiter - Two Storms and IO Completing a Transit  by Terry Riopka

Jupiter

Jupiter - Two Storms and IO Begins a Transit  by Terry Riopka
Object: Mars
Description: Near Opposition
Imaging Date: March 20, 2012
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 1672
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: I took this right after fixing my loose secondary mirror and corrector. I then collimated the scope and got this wonderfully clear image of Mars. Unfortunately there were no significant marks at the time, but you can definitely see the clarity of the image! Check out these before and after images here
Object: Jupiter
Description: Two Storms and IO Completing a Transit
Imaging Date: November 5, 2011
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 265
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: Last in a series of three Jupiter pictures - nice view of two small dark storms along the lower belt. For some reason, I couldn't get the colors exactly right for the last one of this series, but they look amazing nonetheless!
Object: Jupiter
Description: Two Storms and IO Begins a Transit
Imaging Date: November 5, 2011
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 187
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: Second in a series of three Jupiter pictures - you can see two small dark storms, the red spot, IO and its shadow! Beautiful!

Jupiter

Jupiter - Two Storms with IO Shadow Over Red Spot  by Terry Riopka

Saturn

Saturn - Rings of Saturn  by Terry Riopka

Venus-and-Jupiter

Venus-and-Jupiter - Venus and Jupiter Conjunction  by Terry Riopka
Object: Jupiter
Description: Two Storms with IO Shadow Over Red Spot
Imaging Date: November 5, 2011
Imaging Location: Concord MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 215
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: First in a series of three Jupiter pictures, showing the progress of an IO shadow transit right over top of the Great Red Spot! Also are shown a serious of small dark storms along the lower belt.
Object: Saturn
Description: Rings of Saturn
Imaging Date: April 21, 2011
Imaging Location: Mystic CT
No. of Stacked Frames: 1554
Imaging Device: Logitech 9000 Webcam
Optical Train: Prime Focus
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: I have yet to get a very clear image of Saturn!
Designation: Venus-and-Jupiter
Alternate Name: Venus and Jupiter Conjunction
Constellation: Leo
Imaging Date: June 30, 2015
Imaging Location: Concord MA
Exposure Time: 1 frame@3msec ~ 0.003sec
ISO Setting: 400
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Comment: I got lucky with this shot! Just as the clouds came rolling in, I managed to take this image of both Venus and Jupiter a mere third of a degree apart on June 30, 2015! Of course, Jupiter had to be enhanced separately, but with a little work, the composite came out great! If you look closely, you can see several bands on the planet, including a small reddish smudge, which of course, is the red spot! - I verified it wasn't an artifact of the processing by looking up the transit time of the Red spot - right where it was supposed to be! Pretty amazing considering the magnification and the resolution of the image! This image also shows that it *is* possible to get a reasonable image of both Venus and Jupiter in the same frame using a single exposure time (in this case 1/400s and ISO400), provided you can enhance Jupiter sufficiently. Regarding the image processing: Jupiter was taken from another frame with the same exposure time but only about 30 seconds after the first Venus/Jupiter image was. The Jupiter region in the second image was enhanced, then cut out and pasted over top of the Jupiter in the first Venus/Jupiter image, then blended around the edges to improve its appearance. Absolutely, creative license, and maybe too much, but representative of the reality at the time, and the end result was a quite pleasing, capturing the moment as I saw it. To me, that's what much of this is all about - preserving memories and capturing the Universe's best moments!


Jupiter

Jupiter - First Skyris Image  by Terry Riopka
Object: Jupiter
Description: First Skyris Image
Imaging Date: May 23, 2015
Imaging Location: Stow MA
No. of Stacked Frames: 4776
Imaging Device: Skyris 132c
Optical Train: Powermate2.5X
Optics: LX200R 10" SCT
Comment: My first serious Jupiter attempt using my new Skyris camera! With my Powermate 2.5X, I can get 0.12 arcseconds per pixel resolution, which, combined with the higher frame rate of this camera, has the potential for some pretty nice images. If the image above under fair conditions is any indication, I should be able to eventually get some pretty impressive shots (for Concord that is:)

 

 

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Last Updated: Jun. 6, 2017

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