1. What is the difference of lunar-planetary shooting from other types of astrophotography?
When shooting planets, use a short shutter speed (from 1 \ 100 s to 1 s), a relative aperture from 1:20 to 1:40 and the addition of several thousand frames. The clearest frames are selected, therefore it is possible to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and minimize the influence of the earth’s atmosphere.
2. How does the planetary survey technique look like?
We get a video of the planet, crop and align it, then in a special program we select clear frames and stack them. We apply wavelets or deconvolution to the result of stacking – we restore the details and sharpness of image.
Manual for capturing and processing planets
Manual for capturing and processing lunar and solar movies
3. I want to try myself in a planetary photo. Where to begin?
To decide on the equipment – choosing telescope and a camera. Any telescope with high-quality optics and minimal aberrations in the center of the field of view will be suitable for shooting planets. You can get good shots with a small aperture (90-102 mm), but the recommended aperture is from 150 mm. If you already have a telescope – check whether it is in the black list.
The simplest photos of the planets can be obtained by capturing through the eyepiece of a telescope.
4. Why is my result worse than others?
The reasons can be many: thermal stabilization, atmospheric turbulence, problems with adjustment, low-quality optics, a small height of the object above the horizon, inaccurate focusing, incorrect camera settings, incorrect image scale, processing errors. Look for the reasons, eliminate defects.
5. What telescope is recommended for planetary shooting?
Telescope with large aperture, high-quality optics and minimal aberrations in the center of the field of view. Specifically – mirror telescopes (Newton, Cassegrain), mirror-lens (Maksutov-Cassegrain, Schmidt-Cassegrain, Maksutov-Newton, Schmidt-Newton), lens (ED or apochromats). Avoid models from the black list!
6. What cameras are recommended for planetary shooting?
Specialized monochrome or specialized color. Manufacturers – ZWO, QHY, Basler, Point Gray. The range of cameras is constantly updated. Personally, I can confidently advise color cameras to beginners.
7. How to use Barlow and why?
When shooting with a DSLR camera, a modified web-camera or a specialized astronomical camera, you will need a high-quality Barlow lens. For telescopes with a focal ration (1:4…1:5), a 5x Barlow lens is desirable (for example, a PAG 3-5x refinery, Televue Powermate 5x, Explore Scientific 5x), for slow telescopes (1:8…1:15), 2x Barlow (for example, Sky-Watcher 2x with a T-adapter) will be quite inexpensive. Increasing the focal length of the telescope is achieved by using a Barlow lens.
8. What I need adapters and other little devices?
When shooting with Canon DSLR cameras, a T-ring and T-adapter may be required. Some astronomical cameras require an adapter from CS to 1.25 ”. For monochrome cameras, you need a filter wheel and color filters. For a converted webcam, a separate IR-cut filter is required.
9. I live in the city. Can I shoot something here?
Yes of course! Planets, the moon, sunspots can be captured – city illumination does not affect the quality of lunar-planetary images.
10.Why is capturing on a monochrome camera considered more advanced than on color?
Compared with a similar color camera – higher sensitivity, less noise, higher resolution, more versatile (the ability to shoot in the IR and UV ranges). However, technology is developing rapidly, and newer color cameras can have much better performance than outdated monochrome cameras.
The color camera has its advantages – shooting in three color channels at once, there is no need for a wheel of RGB-filters.
11. I already have a simple telescope and a digital compact camera (or DSLR). Can I get something on this equipment?
If there is a digital compact camera – videos of the planets can be obtained by shooting through the eyepiece. If there is an unused webcam, you can remove the lens from it, install the camera into the case with a 1.25 ”fit and purchase an IR-cut filter. If there is a Canon Canon SLR camera, video clips can be recorded either directly into the camera (Canon 550D, 600D, 60D), or onto a computer via the EOS Movie Record program. Of the SLR cameras, the Canon 550D, 600D, 60D models proved to be a good idea. Of course, specialized astronomical cameras are much preferable. Learn more about lunar-planetary shooting through Canon SLR cameras:: “Cameras for lunar and planetary photo – Canon 550D and ZWO 120 MC.”
12. What are the best planetary pics?
13. I have a lot of money. What to buy?
Telescope with guaranteed optical quality and a specialized monochrome camera with a filter wheel.
14. I really like Saturn (Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Moon). What are the features of his shooting?
Jupiter rotates fairly quickly, so the duration of the videos is limited to 30….120 seconds. Rotation compensation (derotation) can be performed in the WinJUPOS program.
Mars has a small angular size and high brightness, you can further increase the focal length of the telescope.
15. How to catch the exact focus?
Either focusing on the laptop screen, or on the mask Bakhtinov. It is highly desirable electrofocus. If you are not sure of the accuracy of the focus – shoot a few movies with refocusing. I focus on the screen.
16. What are the best weather conditions for shooting?
It is hard to say – even with a cloudless sky, there can be strong atmospheric turbulence, and with a weak haze, the image can be almost stationary.
17. What magnification will be obtained when shooting, if the eyepiece is not used?
None – in astrophoto there is no such thing as an magnification, since the resulting image can be viewed on the big screen, on a small screen, from different distances. In fact, the telescope becomes a large telephoto lens for the camera.