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Thread: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

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    Default New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.



    I'm brand new to this site, so I'm not sure if this is the correct place to ask this question. If not, someone politely redirect me.

    I just bought an Orion StarShooter Solar System Imager IV. Taking videos of the Moon is awesome, but when ever I try and video Jupiter and Mars (I haven't tried Saturn yet) all I get is a white blob. I have changed and manipulated every setting in the software: Exposure, Brightness, White Balance, red balance, Gamma, Hue, everything! I can't find anywhere in software regarding ISO. I have tried using all my filters: moon, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange. I even combined some filters together. Absolutely no change whatsoever. Jupiter and Mars continue to stay as white blobs and nothing more. It's not a telescope problem (I have a 10 inch Dobsonian) and it's not the viewing conditions. The planets look clear and beautiful in my normal eyepieces. But once I put in my StarShooter it's all a white blob. My only conclusion is that I have a defective product. I've already contacted the site I bought it from to request a replacement.

    I'm hoping it's just a setting that I'm overlooking, but I've pretty much tried everything.

    If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I would really appreciate it. Although filming the moon is real cool, my main reason for buying it was for planet photography.

    Thanks for anyone who can help.

    Lou
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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    Hi and welcome to the forums Lou!

    I cannot help with the equipment/imaging problem you are having.
    Just dropped by to say Hi, I am sure some of our members use the same equipment and will be along to offer some advice soon.

    If you have the time why not drop by the forums welcomes and introductions sub forum and introduce yourself.
    Tell us a bit more about your interests in astronomy etc. and a bit about yourself so we can get know you better.
    LINK:Forum Welcomes Introductions

    I hope you find the help you need and can resolve the imaging issue soonest.
    Once you have, we look forward to seeing some of your images!


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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    Welcome to the forum!

    It sounds to me like over-exposure. I'd be shortening the exposure as well as turning down any gain control, etc.

    If that doesn't work I'd try getting a neutral density (ND) filter like a Moon Filter and see if the decrease in light getting to your sensor helps.

    Another possibility? You 10" Dobsonian likely doesn't really have all that long a focal length. If you are not already using a Barlow in your optical train you may want to try that since it will both decrease the light intensity hitting the sensor and probably give you a more pleasing image scale for the brighter planets.
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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    Welcome to the forum. Are you focused?
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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    Most Newtonians, unless they are designed for astrophotography, don't have enough back focus. Normally the focal point is down inside the focuser assembly. It needs to be at the chip surface in the camera.
    Three solutions are possible, add a barlow, this will extend the focal point and also increase your image scale (you want this for planets anyway), replace the focuser with a low profile focuser, or move the primary mirror up the tube.


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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    As already mentioned, you could be out of focus (common problem on some reflectors), or overexposure especially on Jupiter. A barlow would solve both problems. I would not get anything larger than a 1.5x. A 2x would make it difficult to find your target and keep it in view even with tracking.

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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    Since you're reporting that getting good focus on the Moon, then clearly the issue isn't with the focussing - so probably it's one of exposure - I'm totally unfamiliar with that imaging camera, but if it has an auto-exposure setting it would tend to over-expose the planet against the dark background. So, check if there's a manual setting.
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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    If your software is like iCap the software I use with a Celestron NexImage5 then gain is the equivalent of ISO. That sounds like brightness you allude to below. The combination of gain and exposure is how you get to the best setting regardless of filters. Out of curiosity. Since you're using a Dob are you imaging unguided? With planetary imaging you need to create an video then stack the frames with Registax or Autostakkert to generate the image.

    Quote Originally Posted by loudomvis View Post
    I'm brand new to this site, so I'm not sure if this is the correct place to ask this question. If not, someone politely redirect me.

    I just bought an Orion StarShooter Solar System Imager IV. Taking videos of the Moon is awesome, but when ever I try and video Jupiter and Mars (I haven't tried Saturn yet) all I get is a white blob. I have changed and manipulated every setting in the software: Exposure, Brightness, White Balance, red balance, Gamma, Hue, everything! I can't find anywhere in software regarding ISO. I have tried using all my filters: moon, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange. I even combined some filters together. Absolutely no change whatsoever. Jupiter and Mars continue to stay as white blobs and nothing more. It's not a telescope problem (I have a 10 inch Dobsonian) and it's not the viewing conditions. The planets look clear and beautiful in my normal eyepieces. But once I put in my StarShooter it's all a white blob. My only conclusion is that I have a defective product. I've already contacted the site I bought it from to request a replacement.

    I'm hoping it's just a setting that I'm overlooking, but I've pretty much tried everything.

    If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I would really appreciate it. Although filming the moon is real cool, my main reason for buying it was for planet photography.

    Thanks for anyone who can help.

    Lou

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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    Hey everyone, thanks for all your input! What a great group we have here.

    I thought about it more while reading all your ideas, and after thinking that I tried everything, I realized that I DID NOT try my Barlow. What a novel idea, lol. According to the instruction manual of my video camera, it says that for best results, you need a focal ratio of at least f/20. Most research I did online says between f/20-f30 for best imaging of planets. My Dobsonian is only f/4.7, so yes, a barlow will probably help. I only have a 2x barlow, so I'll see how that goes. My main problem with that, of course, is keeping the planet in view long enough. I don't have a tracker mount or anything so I have to keep moving my scope. With that being said, does anyone know a good tracking mount at a good cost?

    Thanks again everyone.

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    Default Re: New to Astrophotography and can't resolve detail in planets.

    After thinking I tried everything, I just realized I did not use a barlow. I have a 2x barlow that I'll try out. Also, after research online, I found that most suggested f ratios for planetary imaging is between f/20-f/30. My Dob is only f/4.7, so that may be the issue.

 

 
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