Last night I got out under the stars for another attempt at imaging Jupiter with my modded Logitech Webcam C250, and I tried out a new piece of free webcam software for astronomy called FireCapture. FireCapture seems to be a pretty good software, especially for the price of free!
Three features it has that I quite enjoy, and am glad it has is the AutoAlign feature keeping the planet or moon image right in the center so that the object in the final video is centered instead of all over the place due to bad tracking, atmospheric disturbance, or a gust of wind. I really like having the histogram on screen, now all I have to do is find the sweet spot on the histogram with my adjustments. Another handy feature is an option to turn on a tiny view of where the 4 Galilean moons are around Jupiter. It doesn’t give a time as to when a moon transits Jupiter, but the visual gives you a good enough idea whether or not it will happen. All in all I’m quite happy with FireCapture as my webcam software.
I would like to see if I can somehow get AstroSnap software to work on my Vista laptop because of all of the features it provides. That software isn’t free, but if I could get it to work enough to test out the features I feel that it would be well worth the $45 dollars to invest into it.
Here is the stack of Jupiter from a 2 minute and 20 second long video stacked and processed within Registax with a 2x drizzle to make the final result 2x larger than the recorded video. I believe I need to make more adjustments to my gain or my brightness to get rid of that inner ring around Jupiter, but for my 3rd image of Jupiter I’m quite pleased even with this artifact.
This past week has been exceptionally clear every night, with the exception of Monday night, and it looks like it will remain clear up until Saturday night then the clouds will come in throughout Sunday. I have spent quite a few hours each night under the stars getting images of deep space objects taking full advantage of the moonless nights. Due to it being so clear I haven’t had much time to go through any of the deep space objects yet, but I have had a few shots at Jupiter with some pretty decent results. I’ve also done a few time-lapse videos which I’ll post over the next couple of days.
My first night attempting to image Jupiter I didn’t quite get the results I was looking for, but I went out again last night (November 15), and was able to pull off some pretty sweet video to use for stacking. I did a total of 4 videos, and I did a hangout on Google+ where I had a few folks pop in for a view. One of the guys that popped in helped me make a few adjustments to my view of Jupiter as far as gain and brightness go which was a big help since my laptop monitor was showing it really bright, but the end results were excellent.
Jupiter with Io popping out from behind to the left, and Europa off to the right.
Above is Jupiter with the moon Io popping out from behind Jupiter to the left, and way off to the right you can seen the icy moon Europa. This is the side of Jupiter that doesn’t contain the great red spot, but you can still see some dark markings along the cloud bands. Hoping I get a chance for the red spot tonight which should happen around the early AM hours. The image is small, but the frame size of my webcam is 640×480, and my focal length of the telescope is only 750mm. Not the best telescope for planetary, but you can still get some great results with the Omni XLT 150 reflector.
This stack is from a 2 minute long .avi video taken with a freeware called SharpCap using the Logitech C250 webcam I posted about the other day in a 2x Barlow lens, and the video was brought into Registax to stack, and sharpen using Wavelets. As I said, I did a few different stacks of the same image, but I was not too happy with the drizzle affect which makes the object 2x larger. Seemed to lose some of the detail.