Photographing Planets

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by DennyCrane, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. DennyCrane
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    DennyCrane New Member

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    This was not a great success.

    [​IMG]

    Through live view, Jupiter and 4 of her moons were very well defined. Using a 2 second delay and a tripod, this was the best I could get. I'm wondering if this was from planetary motion, jittering of the camera itself, or what. I should probably be using a remote for the shutter, I know... thoughts?

    ISO 3200
    .6 second exposure
    f/5.6
  2. jbylake
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    jbylake New Member

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    Amazing feat considering the cost and method. (followed the link and read the details). $150..huh? How much would you charge to send my ex up into the stratosphere? All kidding aside, I'm impressed that you could do that for that low of a cost. Maybe you can start consulting with NASA and the Air Force, and save the taxpayers a few bucks.

    J.:mrgreen:
  3. Error
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    Error New Member

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  4. dhilberg
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    dhilberg New Member

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    I don't think the planets are going to move that much in a 0.6 second exposure. You are probably seeing mirror flap. When the mirror flips up just prior to exposure, it causes a vibration that is especially aggravated in telephoto lenses. To cure this you need to use mirror lock up, which allows you to flip the mirror up beforehand, and then you can fire the shutter whenever you choose--usually a few seconds later to allow time for the vibration to subside. Mirror flap is most prevalent when using shutter speeds between approximately 1/8 sec. and 1/30 sec.

    Despite the blur, you can still see the Galilean moons quite clearly. I've thought of trying a shot like this myself, but haven't because my camera doesn't have MLU and I figure I'd end up with similar results.

    You might be able to reduce the vibration by hanging something heavy from the tripod and/or putting something heavy on top of the lens/camera (like a small sandbag, 1-2 lbs.). Just be careful not to put something too heavy on top of the camera/lens as you could damage the tripod mount or lens mount.

    Not sure how effective this would be, but it's worth a shot if you don't have MLU, as that's really the only other solution.
  5. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    I think the planets move a lot faster than you think they do.

    Looks like motion blur to me. Mirror shake wouldn't be in a nice, perfectly straight line.

    You need faster shutter speed. Shoot wide open - this was 5.6, that might be wide open for that lens (I don't know), but there is no need to stop down. You don't need the DoF.

    It looks like they're blown out anyway, so you could use a faster shutter speed without changing aperture at all. If you still can't get the shutter speed fast enough, up the ISO.
  6. DennyCrane
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    DennyCrane New Member

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    Thanks for the input... n00b question, isn't the mirror already up in live mode? But yeah, some strategic weight migh do the trick. And it later occurred to me, I was in a perfect opportunity to get some 1080p video of that... and I forgot... d'oh.
  7. dhilberg
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    dhilberg New Member

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    You might be right. If you look at the full-size image you can see white specks that look like stars, and they are not blurry at all.

    Definitely a faster shutter speed needed here. Try it and let us know.

    Not sure about live view mode, my camera doesn't have that feature.
  8. astrostu
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    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    It is incredibly difficult to photograph planets because they are so small. Atmospheric turbulence will cause it to jump around and blur out most features despite how bright the planets appear to be. The best photographs that show any features are actually taken with webcams which can take a ~few-minute movie and then average together thousands of frames to reduce the noise and atmospheric effects.

    As to why your image shows streaks instead of dots, even in 0.6 seconds I think that it may simply be movement of the objects. You appear to be using a very long focal length, based on the spacing of the moons, and though I haven't done the math, it really could just be due to the rotation of Earth.

    Edit: This was my best shot, taken a few years ago, it's an average of 200 photos (1/10-sec each) and way over-sharpened. Exposure and processing information are here.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
  9. DennyCrane
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    DennyCrane New Member

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    Well, hell or high water, I'm going to get a better shot of this... I doubt it'll be very pretty, but somehow I'll get something sharper.
  10. Dwig
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    Dwig New Member

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    The blur/streaking is definitely caused by planetary motion, or more properly apparent motion since its really caused by the Earth's rotation and not the planet's proper motion. The slowest shutter speeds that work without using a tracking mount are generally 1/60-1/125th of a second.
  11. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    I'd be willing to bet that those are just hot pixels... If you look around them, there are stars that do have motion blur.
  12. DennyCrane
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    DennyCrane New Member

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    I'm going with over-exposure and the camera jittering. Different location (a LOT of light pollution), hazy, but still, a couple moons of Jupiter visible.

    [​IMG]

    f/5.6
    ISO 12800
    1/5 second exposure

    Big difference.
  13. Actor
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    Actor New Member

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    Planetary and stellar movement due to the earth's rotation is 15 seconds arc per second of time. That's 9 seconds of arc for a 0.6 second exposure. What's the focal length of your lens (telescope) and the size of your film (sensor)? Knowing that you can calculate the length of the blur that's attributable to terrestrial rotation.
  14. DennyCrane
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    DennyCrane New Member

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    It's a 250mm telephoto. I was paying close attention to this last night. Under full zoom and Live View full magnification, the movement of the planet was clearly visible. The faster shutter really made the difference. It's just the massive haze and light pollution that smeared the shot.

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