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What to expect when you’re expecting: PLANETS

Planet comparison

Generally speaking, planets are easy targets in astrophotography. They are bright and easy to find. Tempered expectations are key when it comes to planets because they are small and far far away. When we look at them with the naked eye, they appear as bright stars that move differently from the actual stars around them. Even with a good pair of binoculars, it’s difficult to make out any surface detail. Saturn looks like a circle with ears, Jupiter might show some striping, and everything else, just colorful stars. With a telescope and a video camera, and free processing software (Autostakkert), we can start to see some pretty cool detail. Depending on where the planets are, they may appear bigger or smaller. In this photo, I’ve put images of the planets, side by side, to show how big they appear when all other factors are the same. I did not change telescopes or cameras between these images, and they were all taken within about the span of an hour. This was with a 127mm telescope and the ZWO ASI224MC Pro camera.

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