Images of our solar system
Photographing the body’s of our solarsystem require a different technique. Good results can already be aquired with a small telescope and a “slightly” altered webcam. Several of the images below are taken with a Philips SPC900 webcam. For this purpous the front lens of the webcam was removed, so the telescope could function as a kind of telelens. By recording a movie (in fact several frames in sequence) a lot of data is aquired. By stacking those frames onto one picture, a high level of detail can be obtained.
To image Mercury is actualy pretty hard. Because of its orbit it alway stays close to the sun. Only when it is near its apparent, furtherst point from the sun, it is visible from earth. On May 28, 2013 three planets converged in the evening sky: The inner planet Mercury and Venus and the outer planet Jupiter. This picture was taken just 20 minutes after sunset.
Venus is an interior planet. That means it moves in an orbit between the Earth and the Sun. This is why Venus shows fases, just like the moon. On this image those fases are shown as they change during the course of two months. Venus was an eveningstar during the spring of 2012. In the summer it came nearer to Earth and passed in front of the sun on june 6th.
This was a rare event because the next crossing wil occeur on december 11th 2117! To bad this “solar eclipse” by Venus wasn’t visible from my place (Cloudy weather).
I managed to capture Venus crossing the solar disc on june 8 2004. Unfortunately this was during the time astrophotography was not at the top of my mind. But, because it was a nice sunny day and the scope was set-up very fast, I managed to capture a glimps of the transit by photographing the event indirect. A projection of the event was made on a sheet of paper witch was photographed. The little planet Venus is clearly visible on the disc of the sun. I gives a nice impression of the immense difference in sizes between the sun and the planets.
Mars is the planet that resembles the Earth the most. It is a little smaler, has an atmosphere end tw polarcaps. On this image of 15-03-2012 one of the polarcaps is shown at the bottom of the planet. The disc also shows some large structures on the planets surface.
Jupiter is the king of the solarsystem. Its volume could hold about 1,321 Earths! This planet is the closest of the four gas giants: Saturn, Uranus en Neptune. Because of its dense couldcover, no surface is visible. The clouds, hihg in the atmosphere are formed in bands that spans the planet. Jupiter has 67 confirmed moons. In amateur telescopes usualy four of them are visible. They are called the Gallilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
Jupiter and these large four moons are like a miniature solarsystem by themselfs. In the animation on the left you can see not only the planet Jupiter rotatating but also see the major moons swirl around the planet.
This planet is also a gas giant. The rings are in fact little parts of debris, cause by the impact of a comet or an astroïd. They are swirling the planet by the billions.
The planet Uranus is the third of the four gas giants. Although it is big (about four times bigger than Earth) it still is a little speck in the night sky. At clear nights Uranus can be seen with the naked eye, if you know where to look.
After the International Astronomical Union (IAU) degraded Pluto from a Planet to “minor planet” (just like Vesta en Ceres), Neptune became the outerplanet of the solar system. The size of Neptune of just under 4 earth diameters and the very large distance, makes this planet much smaller and dimmer than is “twin” Uranus. In the picture on the left you’ll see Neptune and its movement trough the stars in a matter of three days. This way Neptune is easy distinguished as a planet.