Photographing the planet Jupiter has took me down a few different routes. First i was just taking single images but these were not very good and lacked detail. after some research i found that using a webcam and taking video instead of single shots proved so much better. Here is my first attempt using single image taken with my Skywatcher 200p telescope (1000mm) and Canon 600d camera basically using the telescope as a camera lens.

Jupiter astrophotography

This next image was taken using the same setup but I used a modded webcam and took video instead of a single shot, then edited that video in registax, the results are so much nicer as you can see

Jupiter with an 8" telescope

EQUIPMENT FOR PHOTOGRAPHING PLANETS

  • The equipment that you will need is as follows:
    Mount-tripod or telescope mount
    Telescope
    Webcam
    Computer or Laptop
    Capture software
    Processing software

THE MOUNT

The ideal mount would be a tracking mount that will keep the object in the middle of the frame during the exposure. This is not critical though and a normal camera tripod can be used. The main thing is for the telescope and camera to have a solid base to attach to. I have an old black HEQ5 mount which can be bought very cheap on ebay and once polar aligned i can get 3-5 mins unguided shots.

PROCESSING SOFTWARE

The most popular processing application is called Registax . This analises the video, determines which are the good images on them, aligns them, and stacks them all into a single image. There are then some post processing options that can be applied to the image to bring out the detail.

WEBCAM FOR IMAGING PLANETS

There are so many options that you have available. These range from buying a dedicated Planetary Imaging or Solar System Imager using a telescope guide camera; to modifying a standard computer webcam. Alot of this is very confusing for the amateur photographer.

For my first webacm I modified an old XBox 360 webcam for about £10, the cost of a replacement nose piece which screws onto the body and has the same dimensions as normal eyepiece. You can modify any HD web camera for astrophotography.  You just need to open the webcam up and remove the stock lens, then either add your own 1.25 webcam adapter or make your own from one of your eyepieces. I am currently using a Logitech 920 HD webcam which has proven very good for astrophotography.