Jupiter and the Galilean Moons through a camera lens

Jupiter and the Galilean moons are easy to pick out in binoculars almost any time. Jupiter sits at an average distance from the Sun of just over 5 AU. Thus its distance from earth varies from 3 to 5 AU. Around today's (June 10) opposition it appears to be 38 arc seconds in size, nearly 1.7 times larger than when it is furthest. The full moon appears nearly 50 times larger than this.

The image below was taken with just a camera on a fixed tripod with a telephoto lens. Jupiter, the Galilean Moons and a couple of the cloud bands are easily visible, similar to the view Galileo had for his discoveries.

Taken with a Sony a7iii with a Nikkor 300mm AI-s ED lens and 1.4x teleconverter. HDR composite exposed at f/16 1/13 sec at ISO 400 for 8 stacked images of Jupiter and 1/6 sec at ISO 3200 for the moons.

Normally I image Jupiter with a small telescope and a tracking mount. The results like the one shown below are quite a bit better, but it's fun to replicate the view Galileo had with just a camera and a telephoto lens.

Sweet Home Alabama Jupiter with Io transit & Europa

Content created: 2019-06-10

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