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Kevin Franklin
1,674 followers -
Husband, father, cardiologist, amateur astrophotographer, and student of Kung Fu.
Husband, father, cardiologist, amateur astrophotographer, and student of Kung Fu.

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Here's last night's haul, starting early with Venus, and working across the sky through Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

16th July 2018. Meade LX90 8"SCT with 2X Barlow lens using ZWO ASI290MM and Orion LRGB and Astronomik 742nm IR filters. Processing in Autostakkert, Registax, WinJUPOS and Photoshop CC.
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I'm back, bitches! Thanks to the nice people at +B and H who sent a new Meade Audiostar unit halfway round the world to replace my 14 year old Autostar I which bricked a couple of weeks ago, right at the peak of the planetary imaging season.

Here's a quick and dirty process of Mars last from last night, with a bit more detail than a few weeks ago, but again I had to use an IR luminance layer to get the most from it. Mare Erythraem at centre, with the Vallis Marineris still a bit indistinct, and below, Mare Acidalium, made famous as the landing site of the Ares III mission in The Martian.
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About that ISS pass during the lunar eclipse. Here is a sequence of 1-second exposures showing the ISS emerging from Earth's shadow, glowing red at first, for the very same reasons as the eclipsed Moon, before brightening in full sunlight. I wish I had a decent tracking mount so that I could have done a single long exposure, but you get the gist of it.
Nikon D750 @70mm, f/4.5 ISO 1600, composited in Photoshop CC.
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The eclipsed Moon setting over apartments by the lake, 28th July 2018. The pre-dawn sky is starting to brighten, highlighting the red tone of both the Moon and Mars.

Nikon D750 1/3s @70mm, f/4.5 ISO 1600
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Deep in the total lunar eclipse, 28th July 2018.

Nikon D750 0.6s @300mm, f/5.6 ISO 1600
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Tonight's lunar eclipse, with Mars bright at opposition, and a photobomb by the International Space Station, in this image taken at 5:36am local time. Nikon D750 1s @70mm, f/4.5 ISO 1600.
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Looks like this new camera of mine will do just nicely for lunar mosaics too. Here's a shot of the region surrounding Tycho crater on 22nd July 2018 with the Moon 75% illuminated.

Taken with Meade LX90 8" SCT with and ZWO ASI290MM through an Astronomik IR 742nm filter.
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It ain't much, and I've tortured the image as far as I reasonably could, but here's Mars from 22nd July 2018, taken in ordinary seeing conditions. The dust storm is obscuring detail in visible wavelengths, so I've thrown an infrared layer in for some contrast.
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I bought a new imaging camera, the ZWO ASI290MM, which has a bigger imaging sensor than the QHY 5L-II mono CMOS that I've been using, but with smaller pixels, so the effective focal length is longer with the same setup.

With smaller pixels, the light gathering capacity is reduced, even though the sensor is more sensitive, and I've had to experiment with my settings (who knew what the "'USB Traffic"' setting in Firecapture was even for?) to get a compromise between gain and exposure time, frame rate. Saturn, especially is a difficult one, and I've had to resort to using a luminance layer to reduce the noise from high gain settings in the RBG acquisition. I'm really stretching the limits of my scope, with effective focal length more that 11000mm (f/55!), if the ephemeris calculation in Firecapture is to be believed.

Overall, I'm happy with it so far, but there's still some fiddling to do.

Here's my evening's catch from 13th July, with Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, all taken with 2x Barlow on my trusty Meade LX90 8" SCT. There is currently a global dust storm on Mars, so I've used an IR filter for a luminance layer to draw out some detail. Jupiter and Saturn were both processed in WinJUPOS with derotation of several runs of imaging.
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Saturn 18th July 2018. Meade LX90 8"SCT with 2X Barlow lens using ZWO ASI290MM and Orion LRGB filters. Processing in Autostakkert, Registax, WinJUPOS and Photoshop CC.
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