Planetary Imaging

Planetary imaging is a bit more involved than lunar imaging. The principle remains the same though, you use the same equipment as lunar imaging but you need to increase the image size on the camera sensor. Do this by using a Barlow lens placed between the camera and telescope, they come in different powers from 2x – 5x magnification and which one you use will depend on the telescope being used and the atmospheric conditions or seeing; if the air is turbulent then using a high power barlow will only increase the effect. two types of camera can be used colour or mono ( black and white ), colour cameras are much simpler to use but are not as sensitive or capture as much detail as mono.

Image captured with Colour camera
Image captured with Colour camera

Mono cameras however require the use of a filter wheel and colour filters to create a colour image, thus three sets of movie files will be captured. These black and white files once processed will create Greyscale images, one for the Red, Green and Blue colour channel’s and will be combined in image processing software such as Photoshop or Gimp.

Imaging Jupiter in this way has its own problems due to planets high rotational speed, about 10 hours for one revolution this means that all three colour channels need to be captured quite quickly before the planet rotates visibly causing colour channel alignment problems. You can take your time with Mars and Saturn. Another filter that can be used is an IR pass filter, these block all wavelengths below 685 nm. The IR light above this wavelength is less prone to atmospheric disturbance the resulting image is much clearer and containes more detail and is used as a luminance ( L ) layer when processing.

Each image will be pasted into the corresponding colour channel to create the colour image.

Photoshop Channels
Photoshop Channels

Once the colour image is created it can be further processed by passing it through Registax for wavelet sharpening and again in Photoshop for colour and contrast adjustments.


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