Jupiter, Callisto and Ganymede 2008

I find it delightful that one can do pretty decent planetary imaging without computerized tracking equipment. This image of Jupiter was shot with a simple 85mm (3.3”) refractor on a tripod with no tracking mechanisms. The camera was a Sony Hi8 Handycam. I would turn the camcorder on, fiddle with the scope until Jupiter was in the lower left of the field, then let go. The image would quit shaking in a second and I would get a few seconds of footage while Jupiter traveled across the field to the upper right. Then I’d move the scope again and let the process repeat. Loading the footage into After Effects I trimmed out all the shaky frames, leaving only a series of smooth clips of Jupiter moving across the field. I saved this uncompressed and used stacking software to align all the images, cull out blurry ones, and average them all together into a single stacked image. Final processing in Photoshop.

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Joel Hagen

An award-winning artist and animator, Joel Hagen is a founding member of the IAAA. He is a MER collaborator, part of the Opportunity rover science operations team and has produced image products for the Opportunity, Phoenix and Pathfinder missions. A retired computer graphics instructor, Joel works with digital and traditional media as well as 3D printing and print surface treatments. Joel also designs extra-terrestrial life forms and biomes. His work has appeared on PBS, BBC, NHK in Japan, Discovery and National Geographic channels.

This artwork is copyright © Joel Hagen. All rights reserved.