This is the first image that I stitched together of Jupiter from May 31, 2019! It was only 520,600,319 miles away at the time. Although Saturn was the first picture I ever constructed, this was the first planet I ever saw through a telescope. In the ongoing debate of which is planet is better, I’m still on the fence! I love them both and simply can’t decide on a favorite. I guess it’s a question of liking rings or cloud bands!
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system at a diameter of 86882 miles. It’s brightness and size makes it a perfect target for beginning astronomers. One problem with the planet being so big and bright is that the by the time you get a good exposure for the cloud bands or the red spot, the Galilean moons disappear from underexposure. The planet rotates once every 10 hours, making the great red spot visible often. The entire planet of earth could fit into the great red spot. It is a storm that has been raging for over 360 years! Unfortunately, the great red spot didn’t make it into my first picture of Jupiter this time.
I captured this image using my Nikon D3400 attached to the Astromaster 130EQ telescope, a 2x Barlow lens, and an 8-24mm Zoom eyepiece producing a 162.5x magnification. That level of magnification makes the planet move pretty quickly in the eyepiece. That is where a motorized mount would have came in handy! The original video is 35 seconds long and since I’m still on my shaky wooden deck, it’s still got the same shaky problems. PIPP and Registax were used just like the picture of Saturn. That level of magnification, combined with the rotation of the earth, makes the planet move pretty quickly in the eyepiece. I can just imagine what this would look like in a Schmidt-Cassegrain scope!