• Stephen Strum

Animating Jupiter

Updated: Jan 31

Animation of Jupiter with Great Red Spot
~1 Hour Animation of Jupiter from July 19, 2019

On the evening of July 19, 2019 I attempted my first ever animation of Jupiter. The above animation was created by compiling 13 images of Jupiter taken about 5 minutes apart. Each image was created by taking 1 minute of video at ISO 400 and 29.97 fps with a 1/60th shutter speed on my Canon SL2 through my Celestron C6 telescope. Each one minute video clip was processed using PIPP, AutoStakkert, Registax, and Pixelmator. The 13 individual images were then compiled into the animated gif you see above using PIPP. See the bottom of the post for a YouTube video running through the whole process.

All of the processing steps are needed to produce the final short animation, and total processing time was probably about five hours. Each video clip was initially processed through PIPP to crop the video down to make further processing steps faster, and to center Jupiter in each frame. Since I was using a manual mount without tracking, Jupiter would drift across the video frame as I recorded. PIPP will center the object of interest in the video it outputs, and exclude frames where the object of interest doesn't exist. Additionally, the video was converted from MP4 format to AVI format so it would be compatible with AutoStakkert.

The second step in the processing queue is to take the AVI video from PIPP and sort and stack the frames in AutoStakkert. Since seeing was pretty good this evening, I stacked the best 80% of frames to compile each image. I also used a 1.5x drizzle to enlarge the image somewhat.

Registax was then used to sharpen the stacked image from AutoStakkert, using the wavelets functions which work magic. I also flipped the image top to bottom.

Finally, each image was processed in Pixelmator to adjust the color balance and to rotate each frame to be level. Since I was using an Alt-Az mount instead of an equatorial mount, the orientation of the Jupiter would change from image to image.

Once all 13 images were produced, they were then compiled in PIPP to produce the animated GIF above as well a video version.

I took the best single image of the animation set, and went through the processing steps above except that I used a 3x drizzle, and then used Topaz Denoise to further clean up the image as that software can do a great job removing noise. Doing these steps to all the frames would likely have resulted in a nicer animation, but would take more time than I was wanting to spend.

Links to all the software as well as the astronomy gear I used can be found at the bottom of the post.

Jupiter with Great Red Spot on evening of July 19, 2019.
Best single image of Jupiter from the evening of July 19, 2019.

Astronomy Software:

◆ PIPP: https://sites.google.com/site/astropipp/

◆ Autostakkert: https://www.autostakkert.com

◆ Registax: https://www.astronomie.be/registax/

◆ Pixelmator: https://www.pixelmator.com/pro/

◆ Topaz Labs DeNoise: https://topazlabs.com

My astronomy gear:

◆ Celestron C6: https://amzn.to/2SFeCWv

◆ C6 from Highpoint Scientific: https://bit.ly/2wSwGTj

◆ Canon SL2: https://amzn.to/2Jn3Qzc

◆ ES Twilight I Mount: https://amzn.to/2JMuYtF

◆ From Highpoint Scientific: https://bit.ly/2xkgz0c

◆ Skywatcher AZ-GTi Mount: https://amzn.to/2K0Q3zl

◆ 2x thread on Barlow lenses: https://bit.ly/2MbTR3l

◆ Canon camera adapter: https://amzn.to/2LDjF9i

◆ William Optics Binoviewer: https://bit.ly/2XXvRbs

◆ Vixen Zoom: https://amzn.to/2MbBXxY

◆ Televue 19 panoptic: https://amzn.to/2LEmw1D

◆ Televue 9mm Nagler: https://amzn.to/2MbCpfE

◆ Televue 3.5mm Nagler: https://amzn.to/2Yg3AIi

(NOTE: Some of the above links are Amazon affiliate links: I make a small commission from any purchases made through those links.)

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