Laboratory of Cold Atoms Near Surfaces

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Jupiter, Saturn, Moon, nebulas

We would like to encourage everybody to experiment with an amateur photography! The Stellarium software and lots of pages like spaceweather.com may help to predict interesting alignments of planets. See also our page about sunspots. The pictures in this page were taken with Panasonic DMC-FZ45 camera, mounted on a simple tripod. The image-stacking method was performed with Registax software.


Jupiter and Galilean moons

The four Galilean moons of Jupiter – are easily visible with small binoculars, e.g. 8x30 (8 times magnification and 30 mm objective diameter). For best results binoculars should be mounted on a tripod or at least based on a stick.

You can find below an image of Jupiter and four Galilean moons taken on the 28.01.2012 with Panasonic DMC-FZ45 camera, mounted on a tripod. The main parameters were: 24x zoom (focal length 108 mm, 35 mm equivalent – 624 mm), FNumber 5.2, ISO400, exposure time 1/4 s. Nine images were stacked to get the final picture:

Jupiter and Galilean moons

The moons appear as fuzzy dots due to vibrations of the atmosphere and the diffraction limit caused by the finite size of the camera objective. The angular size of the biggest of the moons (Ganymede) was 1.8'' (arc seconds), whereas the theoretical smallest angle between distinct objects for this camera is about 3.9''. The estimation of the latter angle β is based on the standard equation for the diffraction on a circular hole of a diameter d, for yellow light of the wavelengt λ: β = 1.22 λ/d.


Saturn

24x optical zoom and (just for convenience) 4x digital zoom allows observation of the contour of the Saturn rings. The picure below was taken on the 29.01.2012 with Panasonic DMC-FZ45 camera, mounted on a tripod. FNumber 5.6, ISO100 exposure time 1/10 s. The image is a result of stacking of three pictures.

Saturn and the contour of rings

As for Jupiter, the diffraction prevents observation of any details.


Phases of Venus

Venus is an inferior planet from Earth. Depending on the relative positions of Earth and Venus, the observer on Earth sees the surface of the planet illuminated by the Sun to a variable extent. This phenomenon is called phases of Venus and is quite similar to the lunar phases. Here we present three pictures of Venus taken in December 2013. The camera was as usually amateur Lumix FZ45.

Phases of Venus

Left: stack of 15 pictures, exposure time 1/125 s, FNumber 5.2, ISO 400, optical zoom 24x, digital “zoom” 4x, tripod, 15:15 UTC.

Middle: stack of 12 pictures, exposure time 1/640 s, FNumber 5.2, ISO 100, optical zoom 24x, digital “zoom” 4x, tripod, 15:15 UTC.

Right: stack of 16 pictures, exposure time 1/1300 s, FNumber 5.2, ISO 100, optical zoom 24x, digital “zoom” 4x, no tripod, 14:30 UTC.


Moon

The presence of terminator – the line that separates the lit side and the dark side of the Moon – makes easier the observation of the surface details. A few images below were taken with Panasonic DMC-FZ45 camera, mounted on a tripod. 24x optical zoom was used.

Moon


Moon


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28.01.2012, FNumber 5.6, ISO400, exposure time 1/320 s, averaged over 6 images

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03.03.2012, FNumber 8.0, ISO100, exposure time 1/100 s, averaged over 30 images

Moon

The Moon lit by the light reflected from the Earth

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26.03.2012

The Moon lit by the light reflected from the Earth. Since the exposure time was relatively long (4 s) and there was no tracking system the image is a bit blurred. 26.03.2012,

Moon

Moon

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24.07.2013, FNumber 8.0, ISO100, exposure time 1/100 s, averaged over 28 images

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26.07.2013, FNumber 5.2, ISO80, exposure time 1/100 s, averaged over 26 images


Orion Nebula (M42)

It is possible to observe nebular objects even on a sky polluted by scattered city lights. Orion Nebula is good to start with since it is visible with a bare eye on a dark sky.

Orion constellation and Orion's Sword

Orion's Sword

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Orion constellation, exposure time 3.2 s, averaged from 7 images (07.03.2012)

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Orion's Sword, exposure timea 1 s, averaged from 16 images (03.03.2012)


Orion Nebula M42

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Orion Nebula, exposure time 1 s, averaged from 16 images (03.03.2012)



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(c) 2011, 2012 Tomasz Kawalec