October 12th, 2020, 11:10 p.m. local time
Preparation, prior session notes, favorable whether, and a little luck all contributed to what I believe is my best Mars capture yet.
Knowing the forecast for the following evening was suspect at best, I decided to try photographing Mars. It had been cloudy and raining in the afternoon, but almost miraculously cleared by 6 p.m. The only true issue was the dampness in the air, and I was worried this would impact overall image quality, due to moisture on the primary mirror. The sky was clear and, importantly, the wind was non-existent.
I leveraged my Mars imaging experience from the weekend, and chose, based on that session and my notes from Mars’s last opposition, to use ISO 800 and exposure 1/200. Late into my session videos, as I was continually refocusing after sets of three to four videos each, I accidentally changed the exposure for one set to 1/160. This set, combined with great focus, yielded the best of the lot. All but one set was very good, but this, I think, turned out excellent.
Summary of my equipment, settings, and software used:
- Telescope: Dobsonian reflector 254mm / 10″ (homemade)
- Camera: Canon EOS Rebel SL3
- Barlow: TeleVue Powermate x5 1.25″
- Filter: Baader Neodymium 1.25″
- Canon T ring and adapter
- Relevant camera settings:
- ISO 800
- Exposure: 160
- HD video at 60fps
- Created from three videos of about 25s each, best 25-35% of frames
- Software for post-processing:
- Registax 6
- PaintShop Pro for minor touch-ups