The Gas Giant

We’ve been enjoying Professor Brian Cox (physicist) on his TV show Wonders of the Solar System on BBC Entertainment (India) at 9pm on Wednesday nights. In true BBC style, the production values are top class, the photography breathtaking and the digital imagery really brings the solar system to life. To guide you through, is Prof Brian Cox’s simple presentation, engaging style and of course the Oldham accent. He’s not just lending his voice like Morgan Freeman in Through The Wormhole on Discovery. He’s an actual young physicist. After his lecture on the stars to the children of the Officers and as an homage to our fascination with our solar system my dear husband photographed the Gas Giant, Jupiter, a few weeks ago and here are the results. The images were taken through a Konus 130mm maksutov-cassegrain telescope. 130 represents the objective aperture diameter and determines how much light can enter the instrument. 130mm is on the border of beginner-intermediate telescopes and just allows resolution of planetary features of Jupiter. The telescope was mounted on a motorised EQ-5 German equatorial mount. This just means that the telescope support axis was aligned to the rotational axis of the Earth and rotated at a constant rate of 15 deg / hour to compensate for the Earth’s rotation.

Konus 130mm Matsukov

Konus 130 mm Maksutov Telescope


About 1000 images were captured through a webcam mounted on the eyepiece. These were then fed through a software program called Registax which can be downloaded here to firstly align all the images (a process called registration) and then increase detail and reduce noise (a process called stacking). Final cropping was done with The GIMP. You can see the quality of the raw data next to the final stacked result in the first image.

Jupiter - before and after Registax

Jupiter - before and after Registax

You can just make out the rings of Jupiter and on the second image you can just about make out the great red spot (on the bottom left of the largest gas ring) – a storm that has raged on the surface of Jupiter for several hundred years. It’s large enough to swallow our entire planet three times over!!

Jupiter photographed through 130 mm Konus telescope

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About nonsense girl

Galley slave, qualitative researcher working in development, married my best friend, writing about my life, my family, my dog, TV, Indian culture, astronomy and my garden. www.nonsensegirl.wordpress.com
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5 Responses to The Gas Giant

  1. Aryaman Joshi says:

    wow! Cool korula uncle! you should be a scientist! Plz come up with more presentations.

  2. Englebert says:

    very nice fotos. our universe so beautiful. much wonder and questions. very nice for children to see in planetarium and in sky. stars, planets, comets, moon. very beautiful thank you.

  3. gkorula says:

    Skies are very clear up here on Dolphin Hill. Very few street lights so not much light pollution. Just saw Graham Norton show with Brian Cox and Sigourney Weaver (very sci-fi show) and found out about the musical aspect of his life. What a guy, eh! Must go check out that No.1 song

  4. StuPC says:

    And of course, Professor Cox also had a number one hit single in the early 90s as the keyboard player in D:ream. Fact!
    Amazing pictures of Jupiter, too – are the skies very clear where you live? Not too much light pollution?

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