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  • Writer's pictureKevin Hearn

JUPITER. The Giant of the Sky

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but slightly less than one-thousandth the mass of the Sun. Jupiter is the third-brightest natural object in the Earth's night sky after the Moon and Venus. It has been observed since pre-historic times and is named after the Roman god Jupiter, the king of the gods

This is my best Image to date of the Big Giant of the sky. Taken Friday 25th August 2021 using my Skywatcher 200p 8"Scope, EQ6Pro Mount, a QHY 132E Planetary Camera with a 3 x Barlow lens.

To take a photo of a Planet you actually take a video clip then stack the frames of the video using Free Astronomy Software to stack and process. The video used for this image was 1000 frames, with only the best 50% being stacked. Unfortunately the 3 x Barlow lens is very difficult to get a crisp image, but still happy with the image considering its just a single dot in the night sky.

Imagine a Ping Pong Ball next to a Football and that will give some idea as to the scale of Jupiter in comparison to earth.

The image below was taken on the 23rd without the 3x Barlow Lens and 3 of Jupiter's 80 known moons.

Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen, but helium comprises one quarter of its mass and one tenth of its volume. It likely has a rocky core of heavier elements, but like the other giant planets, Jupiter lacks a well-defined solid surface. The on-going contraction of its interior generates heat greater than the amount received from the Sun. Because of its rapid rotation, the planet's shape is that of an oblate spheroid; it has a slight but noticeable bulge around the equator. The outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, with turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries. A prominent result of this is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that is known to have existed since at least the 17th century, when it was first seen by telescope. Surrounding Jupiter is a faint planetary ring system and a powerful magnetosphere. Jupiter's magnetic tail is nearly 800 million km long, covering the entire distance to Saturn's orbit. Jupiter has 80 known moons and possibly many more, including the four large Galilean moons discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Ganymede, the largest of these, has a diameter greater than that of the planet Mercury.

This is a snap shot of the AVI video clip before any stacking or processing is done which hopefully shows why its not like point and shot like a normal camera and stacking is essential to get as much detail as you can. I believe with the equipment I have at present this is the best Image I am going to get, although may give a go with a 2x Barlow lens instead of the 3x to see if can improve.

The End

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