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Observation and imaging planning of Jupiter and it’s satellites

Posted 1 month ago
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I have been confused for years about how photograph Jupiter and it’s satellites and the confusing optics equations in calculating what telescope and adaptor to use. Fortunately I met a nice person in a amateur astronomy group who provided a simple formula in converting angular dimension of Jupiter to pixels on my DSLR. and with planet entity properties from wolfram alpha I created a simple dataset to help me plan for my observation of Jupiter, it’s satellites and how it compares to other outer planets.

Angular diameter and pixel size by focal lengths

The angular diameter is taken from the current values using wolfram alpha input for Jupiter angular diameter, etc. the pixel diameter is calculated using the equation

pixels = angular diameter arc sec * ( 206 * sensor pixel size micro meter / focal length mm)

As to be expected Jupiter is much larger in pixel size with 12 pixels at the normal telephoto focal length of 200mm compare to Saturn and Mars. With a telescope focal length of 2000mm, the pixel size is boosted to 120 which is what you see typically on the net. One can get a 2x booster to up the resolution to 300 which will give you lots of band detail.

One thing about Mars is that it’s orbit is closer yet it’s size smaller. so it was recommended to wait for when earth and Mars are on the same side of the orbit around the earth which occurs every two years.

Here’s my beginner photo with 200mm, ISO 24500, 1/80 sec on my DSLR where it’s two satellites (plus a background star) is visible Jupiter and it’s Galilean satellites

and this is using Lightroom to boost some details

Jupiter and it’s Galilean satellites color boosted

and this is the output from Wolfram|Alpha regarding the satellites arrangement currently Galilean moons of Jupiter

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