Planetary Images

The images below were all taken on the back deck of our house in California.

Planets are harder to image than the moon because they are much dimmer and smaller and thus require longer exposures, The resulting images are susceptible to blurring due to movement of the atmosphere (like heat waves) and telescope movement due to wind or vibrations of the structure on which the telescope is sitting (like a deck).


This photo of Mars was taken on August 29, 2003 which is a few days after Mars' closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years.

It is composed of 24 images that were digitally stacked on top of each other. This technique causes aberrations caused by the Earth’s atmosphere to be "averaged" out leaving a more detailed image than would be possible with a single image.

This is the above photo of Mars with a side-by-side comparison with what Starry Night Pro software calculated was visible at the time the photo was taken.


This image of Jupiter was taken on March 10, 2004.

It is composed of 556 frames of a digital webcam video stacked to make one composite image.


This image of Saturn was taken on January 29, 2004.

It is composed of 47 frames of a webcam video stacked to make one composite image

Saturn: The Movie

This movie is a short clip from which the images were extracted and stacked to construct the final still image above.

Note how jumpy the image is - this is due to turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere, even though this was a calm night.