With Jupiter in prime viewing position and a new mirror in my telescope, I was able to get a number of decent images. New this observing season is the processing of some images into stereo pairs. Since the planet rotates fast enough to make a change in a few minutes, images taken a few minutes apart can be fused together by letting your eyes point straight ahead, but focused on the images. The globe of Jupiter will appear 3-dimensional, and if a moon is present, it will stand out in space. Its worth practicing the technique!
January 21, 2002 7:40 PM PST
Good seeing and a short series of Jupiter made into a movie; one frame shown here.This is the first Jupiter image series with the new 10" mirror; if the seeing was better, I'm sure even better images would have resulted. The movie (click on the image) uses 9 frames spanning about 2 hours starting at 7:22 PM PST. Europa is eclipsed at the begining of the movie, while Calisto appears at the end (as the seeing deteriorated). The pale Great Red Spot also rotates out of the image.
Each exposure in the RGB image was 1 second, binned at 2x at F/60, using the AO-2 image stabilizing system. Single images were used, since adding several frames to reduce noise would cause either blurring or edge color shift, due to rapid planet rotation. The minimum amount of maximum entropy processing in MaximDL was used, to prevent ringing or other processing artifacts, then the contrast increased with unsharp masking.
Jupiter and Europa, February 6, 2002, Stereo Pair
These two images, taken about 5 minutes apart, show a 3-D effect quite nicely. Fuse the images together by keeping your eyes focused on the screen while they relax and point straight ahead; the same technique as in the stereogram image books of the mid 90's. When done correctly, Europa will float above the planet's surface and Jupiter will appear as a globe. Success might depend on how large a monitor you use; its best to size the images so they appear separated aby about the distance between your eyes. (see more stereo pictures below)
Jupiter with Europa's Shadow near the Great Red Spot. Seeing was only average, so only one good image resulted.
Jupiter, March 8, 2002 Stereo Pair
Images taken about 8 minutes apart. This is about the maximum time separation for the stereo effect. Merging the two images is also a bit like looking through a binocular eyepiece; the resolution seems a bit enhanced when using two eyes. In addition, the slightly image quality of each image seems to disappear, with the brain picking the best parts from each eye.
These images were taken about 4 minutes apart, and show a nice 3-D effect with the Great Red Spot near one edge. These used 5 second exposures through red, green, and blue filters, with the ST-7E un-binned. Since the seeeing was pretty good, I thought I could get better resolution by not binning, but since the exposure time is much longer for good signal to noise (co-adding frames is not possible with Jupiter's fast rotation!), the resolution was reduced. The images here were shrunk by a factor of 2 so that they can be used as a stereo pair.
The last decent images of the season. The images on this page were taken with the same optics, so its obvious how the planet gets smaller as Earth moves away. The moon is, once more, Europa. The color tint is a little different between the images on this page; that is an effect of the image processing software, not atmospheric or any other real effect.
All text and images are owned by Stellar Products, 1992-2003. Any use by others without permission of Stellar Products is prohibited.
Links to other Stellar Products pages:
Stellar Products Image Gallery
Stellar Products Home
About Stellar Products
Adaptive optics tutorials