Learning planetary photography - session 6 (monochrome without filters)

It was planet season, and I was learning about planetary photography, including all the details that go with it. For my last effort I'd used a mono camera, and found lots more things to get confused about.

So I decided to keep things as simple. I stayed with the monochrome camera, but I didn't use any filters.

I also decided to concentrate on Jupiter. There's so much surface detail that I can see straight away when my photos are going wrong.

I busted out the scope, mount, Barlow and QHY5III 178M camera. The objective was to get a good exposure length - 30ms was too long, and 3 was too short. A bit longer would allow me to use a lower gain and get less of that speckly "noise".

I wanted to learn about FireCapture's regions of interest (ROI). If you draw a box on the preview screen, the camera ignores everything outside this. This means the size of the image is smaller and it downloads faster, so you can take more photos in the available time.

I polar aligned carefully. This was important because I didn't want the planet to drift out of the tight box I was going to set. Unfortunately, the atmospheric conditions were poor, and the planet wobbled around like a coin at the bottom of a swimming pool.

I found Jupiter, set the shutter speed, gain, and ROI and took some videos. There was still some noise, but it looked a bit better than before, even with the poor "seeing". You can see a still here. It doesn't look like much, but I got 1000 of them.

Next morning, I used PIPP to sift through these frames and chuck out the worst 250. I stacked the rest using AutoStakkert. What came out was certainly less speckled, which is the purpose of stacking images. Apart from being brighter, it didn't look much different.

I then opened the image in RegiStax, which is famous for image sharpening. After a lot of fooling about, I got the final image. It's more detailed, even though the noise is beginning to build up.
I was pretty pleased, but there was still room for improvement.