11 Inch Elf

I haven’t made a big deal about it yet, not sure why, but a week ago I upgraded my 9.25″ Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope to 11″. That’s right, this one goes to 11. This is a Celestron 11 with Starbright coatings and a carbon tube. Yes, you are correct it is also Fastar compatible. I bought it from my friend Chris and debuted it at the star party last Saturday to many oohs and a few aahs. An 11 inch SCT has been my goal for a while, like years, it’s large but not outrageously expensive or too heavy to tote around. By happy coincidence it barely fits in the lightly padded tub I kept the 9.25″ in. Also, C eleven rolls off the tongue much easier than C nine and a quarter.
The carbon tube is more thermally stable than aluminum so it should retain focus better as a night progresses. I don’t have a Fastar or Hyperstar adapter for it but should I get one I could start imaging at F2. I’ve expended my astronomy credits for the foreseeable future so unless I when a contest I probably won’t get one anytime soon. However, you can expect to be seeing “Elf” (German for Eleven) at a star party near you.

7/1/2018 – Jupiter and Saturn

Here are two images from Saturday night at the River Ridge Observatory. Both were shot with a monochrome camera using red, green, and blue filters and a 9.25″ SCT. Each color was picked from the best 50% of about 3000 frames (30 seconds of video). Stacked then aligned and combined in Photoshop. Jupiter was shot with 10 millisecond exposures while Saturn required 50 millisecond. Saturn was barely above the trees and I should have waited but frankly it is near the southern limit of its journey around the Sun and doesn’t get too high. Jupiter was just past the meridian. I may work with it some more when I have time, the raw footage looked like it would be better than this.

6/15/2018 Transit of Jupiter’s Red Spot with Io and it’s shadow


Friday night I went up to the River Ridge Observatory to shoot some planets. I started with Venus which is about as high in the sky after sunset as it will get in this apparition. It was disappointing so I moved on. Next up was Jupiter. I’m using a monochrome camera with RGB filters so here we have the combined result with the red, green and blue images that went into it. The color image is softer than I’d like but shows Io and it’s shadow that were transiting the disk of Jupiter this evening, They were both near the meridian of Jupiter when I started and visible on the laptop. Below are the red, green, and blue filter monochrome images that went into the image above. Notice the red spot is barely visible in the first image which is the red channel and darkest in the last image which is the blue channel.