The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn
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The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

Howieh · 31 · 2670

Howieh

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It looks like the weather gods are conspiring to prevent me from seeing the two giant planets at their closest on Dec 21 so I have been observing them lately every chance I get. Although I didn't take any pictures, yesterday evening I was easily able to get Jupiter and a few of it's moons and Saturn in the same field at 50x zoom with my SX50 and it looks like this evening may be the last chance to see them until late next week because cloudy conditions are expected to persist for several days starting tonight.
https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/1615/how-to-photograph-the-conjunction-of-saturn-and-jupiter/


Shortsighted

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 So, if you have 50x zoom ratio then you must have at least 20x at maximum FL and therefore enough to capture some detail (satellites and rings). Why not try a few frames at different exposures and share regardless of the level of success.

 
If I didn’t have a 93-year old to take care of then I might even give it a try with only 200mm even though I have a terminal case of laziness.


TransAtlanticGoose

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I hope you manage get a couple of shots, despite the weather.
I finally had a clear night tonight, but my longest lens is only 50mm, so I couldn't capture much more detail than a could see with my naked eye. (They were also pretty close to the horizon.)

(Photo: a 1 second time-exposure on a tripod, with a 16MP sensor, cropped)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 12:15:12 pm by TransAtlanticGoose »


Shortsighted

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 What a trooper.
I finally located Jupiter with my naked eye but couldn’t make out Saturn because the twilight sky was still too bright. The trees in the woodlot blocked my view. It was too cold to mess with a camera and tripod. I thought that you were having dull, overcast weather with rain. Looks clear to me. Must have been fairly warm out, what … say 6 – 7 degrees?
How did you manage to get a trailing effect with a 1 sec exposure? Only about 50 sec of arc/second and you shouldn’t be able to see that with a 50mm lens. I managed 2.5 seconds at 200mm before trailing was detectable after cropping when trying to capture the comet. Dino had trailing at 5 seconds with a 300mm, but it still turned out to be the best exposure solution for stacked images. My 2.5 sec at half the lens speed (same ISO) just barely worked and not with enough success to wrestle with DSS software that would probably render me apoplectic.
 


Charline

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I looked at the conjunction in the past few evenings, but have not felt motivated to photograph them. Guess I just don't know how I should photograph them.


However, I took a shot of the crescent moon a couple of days ago. Since the weather is cold and wet, and with all these depressing covid news, I thought I needed a change.

https://charline.pixels.com/featured/new-moon-over-ruins-charline-xia.html
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 06:47:55 pm by Charline »


Shortsighted

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 Your moon above columns shot (Guild Inn?) shows penetrating depth-of-field. The detail on the lunar surface close to the terminator is impressive, therefore implying perfect focus, while the capitals are also in fine focus. Two stacked images perhaps? Setting a lens to infinity is not always appropriate to capture a celestial object in proper focus. Using live-view and digital magnification with manual focus is a reliable method for focusing.
I guess capturing both Saturn and Jupiter in the same frame demands that you wait until they are separated by the least celestial arc using the greatest magnification that manages to embrace both of the planets. Two stacked images might be needed since Jupiter is much brighter than Saturn and Saturn’s rings need a longer exposure, but not too long (smear) and that probably demands a really fast telephoto lens. I once managed Saturn’s rings with a few seconds exposure but with some manual tracking, something that seldom works and is the last resort of the desperate.


Charline

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SS. thanks for your comments. I was thinking if I should soften the moon and allow it to be defocused, ..., I am not sure what I am going to do with it.

I had hoped that the crescent moon and the planets are somewhat closer, like that: https://charline.pixels.com/featured/toronto-evening-skyline-with-new-moon-and-venus-charline-xia.html
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 09:01:02 pm by Charline »


Dinusaur

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Great discussion and thanks for sharing the link. The weather god is not in our favor - I was really hoping to make another trip to Minesing the same way I did for Neowise. Since these two planets are far brighter than Neowise, exposure shorter than 5 second should produce good results.


Charline

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Ok, I have replaced the sharp crescent moon with a blurry moon. It may take a day or two for the website to update. :)


Shortsighted

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 I only mentioned the DOF issue because I was surprised to discover such a deep field of fine focus. It was not meant to suggest a flaw. The warm crisp lunar sickle captures the viewer’s attention, as does the stark B&W architecture, so the eye fails to anchor itself to a subject. The moon tends to deliver greater gravitas by virtue of its material significance, but the columns, capitals and supported entablature have visual appeal as well and therefore a conflict exists … where to look?
Softening the moon would tone-down the moon’s contribution to the conflict. Let the exquisite festooning on the stone provide the fine detail and serve as the nidus for our attention. Either de-saturate the moon or add warm filter tone to the columns. Warm on one side and cold on the other creates more conflict. Much of the architecture is black, even darker than the night sky. I wonder what the moon may have looked like if it were between columns with a lighted column on the right side of the photo and the moon on the left side close to a dark column. I’m not sure that the silhouette of the tree has much to say. I know ... I know,  if only I were a tree.


Charline

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SS, again, thanks for you thoughtful musing. It was my original intention to have a blurry moon which was in the original image. After looking at it again, I feel a blurry moon would serve the image better - Perhaps subconsciously, the ruins is the reality such as the pandemic, which we are in right now, and the waxing crescent moon is a new beginning of a not so clear future such as the hope of some magic vaccines, lol.

Does it make sense?


Howieh

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I kinda like the original image but I'll reserve my uneducated judgement until I see the blurry moon version. So I dug out my old cheap tripod, set up between me and my neighbour and shot the conjunction until my right hand froze. As anybody who dabbles in astro-photography knows, seeing is believing, and the 'seeing' was actually pretty good. I still remember hauling the old Skyscope out in the cold and waiting half an hour for the mirror to settle down (i.e. stop contracting?) but I'm not sure if the same conditions apply to today's camera optics. I'm still hoping for another chance to shoot Jupiter and Saturn close together so I haven't downloaded yesterday's images but here are a few from the past.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2020, 08:55:03 am by Howieh »


Shortsighted

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 Wow. Your view to optimistic analogizing and symbolism is way beyond the powers offered by my stash of mushrooms. You must have more potent mood enhancers than I do. I see the ruins as folly, albeit very exquisite expressions of greatness that have fallen and now all but vanished amidst new incantations for the next powerful regime that aspires to control everything while the moon just continues to look on, unconcerned and perhaps a little amused by the episodes of folly unfolding below.
The celestial world is both beyond comprehension in its vastness and well outside the understanding of our species when you get down to the mysterious quantum world where nonsense and chaos abound, perhaps because our three dimensional perspective limits our investigation. The ruins of past vainglory are not even up to the role of long forgotten stage props to some inconsequential puerile play.
I don’t see the crescent moon as the sign of a new beginning in the post covid-19 world. Its presence undermines the machinations of the man-made world, while the ruins are the denouement of mankind’s collective ego, so their very presence in your photo are more valuable in their portrayal of how are mindset is expressed in architectural motifs and the building technologies of the time. The moon was built by the laws of physics, still the technology of the day, and does not represent some illusion of power. The moon is a speck in the universe and still dominates your picture. Throwing a veil over it doesn’t obfuscate its omnipotence as it faces mankind.
Your post covid-19 optimism is probably an essential part of the beauty of youth. I see possible mutations to coronavirus as likely, as with all respiratory viruses, even the version that causes the common head cold. Vaccines may not be able to keep up. The microbial problem may be a protracted one. While this all slowly unfolds, the moon looks on with resolute dissociation. It could be renamed “shingles” because shingles just doesn’t care.
Since you seem to have more latent energy than Vesuvius you might be up to engaging in a photographic essay of covid-19 in our times. There is so much that has changed and the lens likes change. The moon will always be there and designing a veil for it seems fiddling while Rome burns.
No offense intended. I just have a knack for it.


Charline

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Howieh, was the first Jupiter image a single shot from a telescope? It looks amazing! I tried to use DeepSkyStacker for Neowise earlier this year, but my result was not much better than that from a single DSLR shot. Maybe I will buy a light-weighted tracking device one day. With my multiple  injuries, I really cannot handle heavy camera gears.

SS, I wish I were young. The youthfulness you perceived from my photos is perhaps a reflections of my naivety?? lol.



Shortsighted

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Nice try with the moon and Jupiter. The planet would capture well with an even shorter exposure. I've applied a little PS to clean up the glow around the perimeter of these bodies and a lighter version of HDR.


I'm wondering what Charline's exposure was for Neowise. What was your exposure for Jupiter?