Great Red Spot Makes a Cameo

May 6th, 2017, 9:30 p.m. local time

Using my 10″ Dobsonian with DSLR camera and x5 Barlow, I clearly saw Jupiter’s Great Red Spot on the camera’s view screen.  The end image seems pretty good.  This was a “quick” session with only ~23 seconds of video.  With a manual Dobsonian and x5 Barlow, the image moves through the field of view very fast.

I am learning techniques to compensate for these quick windows. First, I need to align the camera’s orientation such that Jupiter moves through the field view at a plane horizontal to the camera.  Not easy to do when you only have seconds to finagle the camera before the planet moves too far out of sight.  My second learning experience is how to quickly stop the video, slide the telescope just a enough, and continue shooting with a refreshed view (PIPP easily joins multiple videos).

The real challenge with Jupiter is caused by its fast rotation.  A continuous video cannot go past 90-120 seconds before you have to too much motion blur.  Having to stop, adjust, and restart the video manually means I am lucky to get 60 seconds.  I read about astrophotographers taking five or more minutes of video, but I think they chop off the sphere’s edges to some degree.

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