Jupiter and Venus do a father-daughter dance

Jupiter is bright, it’s moons are dim, and Venus is very bright. Camera’s don’t have the dynamic range to capture what you can see in the eyepiece in a single shot. Using high dynamic range techniques with multiple exposures, one optimized for each target, we can capture what we see in the eyepiece. Austin’s forecast was for 70% cloud cover so I took a read trip to where the odds were in my favor.

The dance close up

Shot from historic Fort Inge in Uvalde, Texas. A telescopic close-up, high dynamic range, composite of Venus, Jupiter’s Galilean Moons, and Jupiter. I was just barely able to get the shots to stack at all three exposures with Venus and Jupiter sandwiched between in the clear two layers of clouds. A total of 39 images taken over more than 9 stops of exposure range were used in capturing this image.

Many thanks to Bill Dillahunty, the program director of the Fort Inge Historic Site for making sure that we would not get locked in overnight! We had a very nice conversation while I was setting up. It turns out that, Bill knows some of Mary’s grandfather’s family, the Thompsons from Utopia. Fort Inge hosts monthly star parties. Be sure to check it out if you are in the area.

Questar 3.5" telescope with a 2X Dakin Barlow lens for approximately 2600 mm of focal length. Venus, best 23 of 46 images exposed at ISO 200 for 1/125 sec.Jupiter, best 15 of 28 images exposed ISO 200 for 1/8 sec. Jupiter’s moons, best image of 8 images exposed at ISO 200 for 5 sec. As you may suspect, I was running out of time between the clouds :-(

All images stacked and deconvolved in Lynkeos, with HDR compositing, exposure adjustments, and final crop in Photoshop.

The big picture

The scene, Jupiter and Venus just above the clouds at sunset. They are close together right of the middle of the image. This time I missed Mercury behind a cloud. Shot from the entrance to the fort, the foreground trees line the banks of the Leona river. The sky was too bright to shoot Jupiter’s moons when I took this wide angle shot. The HDR frames were shot later through the gaps that you can see in the clouds. I had a total of only about 3 minutes shooting time for the close up image above.

Sony NEX-5N mirrorless camera with a Sigma 60mm lens. Exposure 1/4 sec, ISO 200, at f2.8.

Content created: 2016-08-27




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Moon Phase