Postcard from the Universe – Jupiter and Moons

A nice image of Jupiter with the moons (left to right) Europa, Ganymede and Io. Taken early Sunday morning from Hale Pohaku. Conditions were quite nice, both for photography and simply observing by eyeball through the telescopes set up.

The telescope used is not mine, but belongs to fellow club member, Maureen. We had just collimated the ‘scope, aligning the optics for optimum performance. I wondered just how good the performance might be. The answer? Pretty good!

I used the Canon 60D to shoot the video. The ‘scope was a Celestron 9.25″SCT operating at f/10. The camera has a 640×420 cropped video mode that is ideal for this sort of use. Shooting at 60fps it generates very high quality video.

The frame is a stack of 900 frames selected from well over 1500 frames in the source video. The result is quite pleasing, particularly the moons. Three of the four large Jovian moons are visible. They appear as disks, with the larger Ganymede notably bigger than the smaller Io. The disk of Jupiter shows good color and cloud formations. Overall the result is excellent and shows the promise of using the DSLR to shoot planetary video. I will be experimenting with this method and expect even better results in the future.

Jupiter and the moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto (left-right)

ISS Time Lapse

I do not usually post random YouTube vids here. But sometimes I just have to. I seriously suggest you select 1080pHD and expand to full screen now.

The shot starts over the west coast of North America heading south. This particular orbit went right down Central and finally South America. You can pick out a lot of major metropolitan areas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Mexico City, etc., by the lights. Also spectacular is the lighting in several storm complexes along the coast of Mexico and further into South America.

Mauna Kea Panorama

I have so many photos sitting on the hard drive, projects and ideas that remain un-realized. But every now and then I get around to completing one of those ideas and putting together something worth the effort. A couple winters ago I had an opportunity to shoot an entire 360° panorama from the top of Keck 2. I had set the camera on top of a toolbox and took photos steadily as the dome was moved through one complete rotation. A couple other photos were also taken that I could stitch into the result. The whole project made possible with the panorama features of Photoshop CS5. Twenty images were used to make the pano, resulting in a 105Mb image 26,000 pixels wide. The image shown here is downsized slightly…


It was a great day, on top of the dome after a heavy snowfall, simply stunningly beautiful. Hard work as well, shoveling snow and chipping ice off the dome at nearly fourteen thousand feet. The fellows in the image are Bill Bates (top) and Mike Dahler (below), some of the great guys who keep Keck on-sky. Bill has since retired and is sorely missed on the summit.