Friday night at Montebello

by Peter Santangeli

Friday night at Montebello was one of the busiest non-wednesdays I can remember, with at least 10 of us out. The weather was pleasant, and Mars was putting on its show. The Great Obliterator pretty much limited viewing to its luminous self and the red planet.

At least 3 of us were using webcam's to image mars. Personally, I was using a Logitech 3000 Pro camera whose lens has been replaced with an eyepiece tube. Apart from that it is stock.

Many thanks to Phil for helping me through what we originally thought to be a driver problem, that turned out to be a problem with my power supply (don't ask - batteries and I just don't see eye-to-eye).

Anyways, here are the first results:


The first is an image based on 2700 frames taken with my C11, with an Orion Shorty barlow giving somewhere around 5000mm. I've run a bit of sharpening across it to bring out details - the north polar cap was not visible before that. The second is a similar number of frames from another sequence.

Interestingly, the view through the telescope was more like the following:

This is the same image, but scaled smaller. Sharper detail, but less of it. It is however pretty close to the visual look through the scope... only imagine looking at this image through the water of a running bath.

(Please send questions about the imaging process to the TAC-Imaging special interest group on yahoo groups.)

One thing I did want to mention. At times like this in California, politics is certainly on people's minds. On the other hand, many people go to astronomy to get away from that kind of thing. There were quite a few heated political debates going on up at MB that night, and I think a few people were getting annoyed at the volume and tenor of the discussions. Of course, any topic is suitable for discussion at a star party, and I certainly don't want to single anyone out, but please be courteous to those around you, and try to keep your voices low, particularly about devisive issues.