Wednesday, 9 January 2008

More cold astronomy

Blogging about astronomy is mainly just a way of getting away from all the stuff about Church. Tonight was supposed to be cloudy and wet according to the weather forecast, but at 7.30 it was clear and dry, so I nipped into the garden and got a better shot at Mars than previously. The telescope is still moving in jerks rather than smoothly, but I got enough frames to produce a reasonable picture of Mars. On the right I've put a picture from the astronomy software package 'Red Shift', showing what Mars ought to look like at that time of the night. It seems I've managed to capture a bit of surface detail, despite everything.

The way it works is that the computer records a rapid series of mini-photos. These are then amalgamated by a piece of free software, designed for astronomy work, called Registax. I then increase the image size in a photo software package and finally tweak the contrast and colour. There is no 're-touching' as such, only the effort to bring out what is there in the original image.

To give you some idea of what is involved, through the telescope eyepiece, Mars appears as a large bright-yellow dot, something like this:

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