Thursday, February 5, 2015

Adventures in collaborative planetary astrophotography part 2

No, there's no part one per se.  Last January Kevin Quin, a very accomplished astrophotographer had some issues with his color filter wheel.  He lost one filter's worth of data from the whole night.  In is asking around it just so happened that I had my own images from the same date and time.  We're separated by about 235 miles straight line distance but had quite similarly good weather.  His quest to fill the gap in his own data was met with a warm welcome from me.  I always share my data and methods with all and in this instance he rescued his own data with a small help from my own.

Now onto part two: In some odd twist, I suffered a loss of the whole filter wheel itself and not just a malfunction.  I lost the ability to change filters quickly enough for me to shoot a color image.  I didn't think to ask anyone else for other shots of my own missing colors but did think the weather was good enough to shoot at least one color's worth.  Red is always my goto and usually has the best seeing.  I unscrewed the red from the wheel and put it into my imaging train.  It wasn't until many days later that I found Kevin was again out at the same date and time as me!  What luck, he was happy to share his stacks of Jupiter with me and I was able to make this color image.  Using a single stack of Kevin's blue data that he got from a 5min derotated .ser file, I combined with my own Red.  For green I used his blue and my red at a 50/50 blend.  This technique is often called RsGB or a synthesized green (

I found it amazing that despite our differences in locations, cameras, telescope types, styles and sizes we were able to bring out data together to make great images.

In discussing this type of coimaging work, we can't think of many folks who have done similar work.  Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO), BritAstro, Planetary Virtual Observatory and Laboratory (PVOL) and Section Planets Italian Amateur Astronomers Union are all good candidates for such collaborative work.  All sites tend towards gathering images at separate dates and times and using them for study of changes over time or whole planet maps.

What Kevin and I are thinking would be a place to share raw or simple stacked images in an effort to learn and discover.  I'm curious to know what other's think about this.  If folks are interested we can setup a shared file repository and wiki to make it happen.

As a sample here is my raw red frame:

 and Kevin's blue

Special thanks to Kevin Quin for making my image really special!  Thanks Kevin!

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