Apr 09, 2014: Video imaging of the Moon and planets

Michael Richmond
Apr 14, 2014 Apr 25, 2014

On the night of Apr 09/10, 2014, four students taking the Observational Astronomy course -- Melinda Rabenstein and Ariana Bhalla, and Christopher Jones and Isaac Banner -- acquired video clips of the Moon and planets for their class project.

The main setup was:

These students will use the video images captured with a simple webcam as input to the Registax image processing program. Registax allows users to discard the blurry frames and keep the sharp ones, then align and co-add the sharp images to create an improved final image.

We started with the Moon. Below are a few sample raw video frames from different regions. As you can see, the field of view of the camera covers only a tiny fraction of the Moon's surface.

Crater Copernicus.

Crater Bullialdus..

We then moved to Jupiter. The first image below was taken at about 9:01 PM EDT, when the Great Red Spot was about to disappear around the right-hand limb of the planet; the second was taken at 11:46 PM.

We also tried to take pictures of Mars, but the combination of its very small size and low altitude above the horizon yielded disappointing results.

After image processing ...

Mr. Jones and the other students are processing their videos now. He was kind enough to send me copies of some of his current work. Compare the before-and-after versions of these images!

Last modified 4/25/2014 by MWR.