The image on the left was my first picture of Jupiter I've ever taken. The right image is after 6 months of practice. Hope you guys like the progress!

The image on the left was my first picture of Jupiter I've ever taken. The right image is after 6 months of practice. Hope you guys like the progress!

Very impressive improvement here, keep shooting for the stars.

It's so crazy to me that Jupiter is just out there. It's like meeting a celebrity. You see photos and videos all the time you almost forget it's real. And then, there it is. Just like all the photos. Great shot.

The moon of Io

That's exactly how I feel when I see "home-grown" photos like this. It's really there...just sitting there, being all Jupiterish. This massive gas giant, 11 times the size of our planet, and almost inconceivably far right there and you can see it clear as day.

Edit: with a diameter 11 times that of Earth's diameter, and a volume of over 1300 Earths. Thanks everybody for setting me straight. :)

That blows my mind you can see Jupiter with this quality. Is the right image magnified?

Whats the little dot on the left side half way between jupiter and the egde of the image?

I bet this blew your mind when you took the picture. It's one thing to see pics of the planets from NASA, but it's another thing when you take the picture yourself and it looks the same as the ones from NASA.

Well at least I got that feeling looking at your picture.

The right is not magnified with any sort of lens, but rather through a process called prime focus.

The telescope I used is a reflector so it's used mirrors to collect light and focuses into into camera. The telescope practically becomes the lens for the camera like a huge telephoto lens.

It's almost exactly 3 Jupiter-diameters away on average. That's 421,700 km, or slightly more than the distance between Earth and our own Moon. However, Io only takes 1.77 days to orbit Jupiter, while the Moon takes 28 days. This is because Jupiter's much stronger gravity requires objects to orbit much faster.

Jupiter's closest moon is actually Metis, which orbits 127,690 km from Jupiter. It completes an orbit in just 7 hours. However, even from this distance Jupiter would not appear to take up much of the sky; from Io Jupiter is about 20 times wider than the Moon viewed form Earth, and from Metis it's less than twice that size. 20 times wider than the Moon may seem like it'd be large, but the Moon is actually tiny in the sky; you can easily block out the entire Moon with the tip of your pinky finger stretched out at arms length.

You're totally right. After the software was done stacking the photos, and spit out this I was blown away at how detailed it was. That was a year and a half ago and it still feels like I took it yesterday. I'm glad you like the picture!

Never realised it was so far away from Jupiter. Like 2 Jupiter's away.

$1200 is not bad at all compared to a lot of hobbies. I need to get cheaper hobbies.

I've developed this hobby for about 2 years and it's very expensive. The current rig I have cost about $1200. The rig I used to take this picture was $700. I unfortunately live in a light polluted area.

All planets in the solar system can fit between Earth and the Moon. 

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All planets in the solar system can fit between Earth and the Moon.

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Would you explain it?

Yeah the planets of our solar system are incredible and then you think how many planets are in our galaxy and... my head hurts.

Yea, I mainly emphasized my practice to make the title sound better.

aaaaaand there's the bedtime existential dread

If this isn’t the most Reddit sentence I’ve read this year I don’t know what is.

Amateur astronomer: "$2000 is very expensive"

Amateur car enthusiast: "Hold my beer"

How long did it take you to develop this hobby? Was it very expensive? Do you live in an area without a lot of light pollution?

space is so cool

and then there are other galaxies and holy fuck !

Mountain biker: "Hold my craft beer"

Next thing you know you're spending 20 years and $10 billion to launch a 6,500 kilogram near to mid-infrared telescope with 18 hexagonal gold-beryllium coated reflectors composing a 25 m2 main mirror, 930,000 miles to the Earth-Sun L2 point to photograph high-redshift objects in order to observe some of the most distant events and objects in the universe.

Yeah, I know. You can go get a telescope, and look at Jupiter. Not a picture of Jupiter, or a video of Jupiter, but just Jupiter, live, and right there.

That's what happens when you get a camera mount and a fine focuser for your telescope.

edit: wtf happened above my comment? 11 removed comments...

what the hell

That’s crazy

Yes, there was both a telescope and camera upgrade. There was a lot of technique improvement also.

Wow. I’m amazed that you can fit 3 Jupiters between Earth and the moon. Either the moon is much farther from Earth or Jupiter is a lot smaller than I had always imagined. Thanks for helping me end the day with a little more cosmic perspective than I started 🌝

According to the improvement you showed between your pictures, with another extra 12 months of practice you should now be able to photograph a probe orbiting the planet.

That's space for ya. Whole hell of a lot of nothing in between the small pebbles of something. There's a reason we've only physically touched one other place in the entire system. The distances are truly ludicrous to consider. All those pictures of the solar system we see in books are dead wrong in terms of scale.

But the weight you speak of is shared by the whooooooooole vast cosmos and the load is spread out over the duration of all of its existence in time, which really means that you just have to lift an infinitesimal portion of the cosmos for but a brief moment. "We got you" -the rest of the Universe


Must have been pretty amazing for early astronomers to see planets for the first time, like this

Did you have any equipment improvements, or is this all from improving technique?

When it comes to astronomy, "now" is an incredibly vague, if not useless notion.

It's not just the light reaching you, it's the event reaching you. It's didn't happen an hour ago, it's happening now. It's not the light that's waited to reach you, it's the event that waited to happen.

Not to understate 6 months of practice, but of all things those seem a pretty important step forward

Shut up. It was all practice

In times like these, I find comfort in the words of the great Alan Watts:

"Underneath the superficial self, which pays attention to this and that, there is another self more really us than I. And the more you become aware of the unknown self — if you become aware of it — the more you realize that it is inseparably connected with everything else that is. You are a function of this total galaxy, bounded by the Milky Way, and this galaxy is a function of all other galaxies. You are that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes. You look and look, and one day you are going to wake up and say, "Why, that's me!" And in knowing that, you know that you never die. You are the eternal thing that comes and goes that appears — now as John Jones, now as Mary Smith, now as Betty Brown — and so it goes, forever and ever and ever.

Live, but technically that image is between 35 to 52 minutes old when you see it, meaning it isn't even where you are looking. You are looking at where it was in relation to where earth was that amount of time ago, adjusting for relative displacement.

The collective weight of the vast cosmos is a heavy weight to bear.

He practiced using the camera mount and fine focuser

Thank you for saying this. It’s getting sort of grating how every time someone mentions something happening in space, someone else has to pedantically point out “actually, it technically already happened...” Yes, we get it, space is big and light takes time to travel, but we may as well say it’s happening now since we can’t observe an event before it reaches us.

11 times the diameter... but 1,300 times the volume.

He did not use a lens in the traditional sense of a camera lens. Prime focus means that he connected his camera straight to the back of a telescope where there would normally be an eyepiece.

Then no image we see is live if you account for the miniscule amount of time it takes for the light to reach your eyes and be processed.


Private jet enthusiast: "Hold my champagne"

I'll do my best!

Okay, so, now that our little buddy Pluto has been stripped of his planetary accolades (may he rest in peace), Neptune is now the furthest planet out from our Sun in our Solar System.

But that's not all that lies beyond.

Outside of Neptune's orbit, there's this HUUUUUGE belt of... well, stuff. They call it the Kuiper belt. It's like 20 times wider than the asteroid belt that separates the inner planets from the outer planets, and anywhere from 20 to 200 times as big in terms of mass.

As you may or may not know, Pluto lives out there in the Kuiper belt, though occasionally he crosses Neptune's orbit to come hang out with the proper planets from time to time.

Pluto actually isn't alone out there in the Kuiper belt, there's actually like a dozen dwarf planets - our old buddy Pluto, Haumea and Makemake, and Eris, and a bunch of other fun planets with weird names like, (225088) 2007 OR10.

These minor planets are known as "trans-Neptunian Objects", or TNOs for short - basically everything big and legitimate (so not like, random shards of frozen methane) that orbits the Sun "out there" beyond Neptune is a TNO.

So, you're caught up so far. Pluto got the ax because we've been paying a lot more attention to "out there" than we used to and we realized, hey, if we're calling Pluto a planet then there's a lot more planets than we thought, and, well, the world was barely ready to accept Pluto as not a planet, let alone accepting a dozen other guys as planets, so there we are.

But anyway, I digress, let me get back to the point.

Okay, so, these TNOs. They orbit the Sun, and, well, those orbits are being affected by things, as orbits are wont to do.

First and foremost, there's the Sun, obviously, as it has a huge effect on every orbit in our solar system. Some might say our world revolves around it.

And then there's Neptune, the closest big mass to the orbits of all these planets, its mass naturally affects these orbits. When Neptune goes closer to them, their orbit sways closer to it, and visa versa.

And then there's the other usual suspects of "big things" in the solar system, putting their influence on the orbits just like Neptune does. Even Mercury, with its tiny amount of mass, puts a little bit of influence on these orbits, though it's pretty much negligible.

But even when we account for all these factors that should be affecting the orbits of these TNOs, there's... something unusual about these orbits, they're not behaving like we'd expect them to.

So, something's... there, out there, it seems, affecting these orbits, clustering them together. What could it be? Well, me personally, I have no idea. Maybe it's a huge space whale. But, some smart dudes theorized that hey, maybe there's another real planet out there, and it's affecting these orbits and causing these abnormalities we're seeing, because we certainly can't account for these with what we currently know about the solar system.

And the more they thought about it, the more "Planet 9" kind of made sense. When they came up with a hypothetical orbit that this planet could take on, with a certain mass and size, it correctly modeled the abnormal orbits of these TNOs.

Hell, it could even explain why the Sun is tilted on its axis - or well, why the planets are on a different plane from the Sun's equator. "Tilt" is, after all, relative. :)

So we know why Planet 9 is hypothesized to exist, but what it's hypothesized to be becomes a little trickier. It's not enough to just say "hey, there's probably a thing out here, so let's just act like there's a thing out here", you kind of have to wonder, well, why is it there? Is it an alien space ship? Are we all screwed?

They basically guess that it's the core of an old gas giant that died and got flung out of the Solar System and left to rot in an orbit way out there. This core of an old gas giant has been dubbed a "Super-Earth", basically a HUGE planet that is still nowhere near as huge as the ice giants, Neptune and Uranus.

They theorize that Planet 9 is probably around 10 times more massive than Earth, and about 2-4x as wide, with a solar orbit lasting around 15000 years.

So, what's the problem? Why can't we just, well, see it, confirm it's there, and name it?

Well, for one thing, it's waaaaay out there, so far that it probably doesn't reflect much of the Sun's light, so us finding it with a telescope is a tough sell.

For another thing, well, it might not exist at all. There's lots of other competing ideas to explain the weird orbits of TNOs, including the hypothesis that it's just, well, a temporary coincidence that's clustering a bunch of orbits together.

Anyway, hope that helps! Space is cool.

I used a 6 in reflector telescope with a ccd camera to image the planet. If you are going to used a telescope to image planets I recommend you get a planetary ccc imager like a neximage. If you want to image with a dslr I recommend a cassegrain telescope

Once they know what they're doing, an astrophotographer can give car folks a serious run for their money – pun intended. $2,000 gets you a decent telescope mount. Just the mount. Not the telescope, the tripod, the spotting scope, any imaging or guiding instruments, etc. OP's post shows that nice results can be had with a relatively inexpensive setup, but as you continue to reach the limits of your gear, you can end up sinking tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into any kind of photography.

Nerd (I say that out of respect of your knowledge and fear of being faced by my own intellectual inferiority).

I remember when I saw Saturn through a telescope. It just looked fake lol. I couldn’t believe it.

if you’re stuck looking for it turn brightness up

It'll blow your mind even further when you see it in person with your very own eyes. I lucky enough to see Jupiter and Saturn in a very expensive telescope rig (over $10,000), and it was awe-inspiring. You could even see some of the details on the moons of those planets.

You don't need a very large telescope to see this level of detail on Jupiter. In fact, your eye can often resolve detail better than a camera can because of how quickly our eye-brain combo can pick out sharp details through bad atmospheric turbulence and how much higher resolution our eyes are compared to a camera chip.

If you were to aim a modest 5" telescope at Jupiter on a night with steady air currents, and pushed the magnification to about 200x, you would see a slightly smaller, but sharper version of that image with your eye (though that's just a rough estimate since your monitor and sitting distance could be different from mine).

Additionally, you would see Jupiter's four largest moons as bright pinpoints of light, and occasionally you can watch a moon cross in front of Jupiter, and see the shadow it casts on Jupiter's clouds very clearly (not like, oh yeah, I sort of think I see it, but like unmistakably clear that you're seeing the shadow of one of its moons on its surface).

Jupiter also rotates once every 10 hours, so its rotation happens quite quickly. You can take note of the position of some features in its clouds, and then look again just an hour later and see that they have noticeably moved position. If you were patient and timed it right, you could even catch the Great Red Spot coming into or going out of view in real time.

One thing on my bucket list is to see Jupiter through a large ~24" scope under very steady skies at about 1,000x. The sharpest view I've ever had of Jupiter was through an 8" scope at about 250x.

I remember the first time I saw Jupiter through my telescope. I don't know why but I felt very spooked!

I was like "holy shit all this science and space stuff is actually real !"

DJ: "Hold my Cocaine."

The current rig I have cost about $1200.

That's pretty inexpensive from a photography perspective. Would love to see a list of what your current rig consists of!

That's the most reddit thing I've ever read hahahaha.

Still, huge props to OP. That's fucking cool!

I was like 7 or 8 when I saw Saturn with my own eyes through a telescope and looking back , it's probably one of the greatest moments of my life so far.

I was hoping this was real

What model telescope are you using to get those kinds of pictures? I was thinking about getting one.

If the sun was the size of a pea,

More scale stuff: our solar system could mostly fit on a foot ball field. To get to the nearest star, you would need to drive comparatively about a state over in the US, or a country over in Europe. Driving that distance in 3 or 4 hours, you would be driving the length of our solar system every 3 seconds. To get to a star like Betelgeuse, a bright red giant that is located relatively closely to us in the same vicinity/arm of our galaxy on this scale, You would have to nearly drive completely around the earth's circumference.

Back to our football field, if we wanted to crawl at the relative speed of light at this scale, leaving from the sun, it would take you about 5 and a half hours to reach Pluto - That's a Reeeeeeally slow crawl across a football field. Crawling at that pace, it would take you about 4 years to reach that first star(the one we drove to in about 3 or 4 hours), and 640 years(good luck!) to reach Betelgeuse. This is the stuff that is close to us in our own galaxy.

Super duper Reddit comment.

Edit: I misread your username as SuperDuperRedditName. I'm leaving it. I think it's dope.

I bet that was incredible. Now you have me wanting to buy an extremely expensive telescope...

Well do you know how far away our own moon is? To scale

The short answer is... kinda. It's a bit more complicated than pointing a camera at any telescope and snapping a pic, that's how you get the left image. The folks at /sub/astrophotography will be glad to help you get started with planetary imaging and maybe eventually you could graduate to deep sky imaging like galaxies and Nebula. Feel free to ask me any questions.

My feelings when I saw Saturn in my telescope for the first time. Sure it was tiny and fuzzy but holy guacamole there are the rings! It's just out there.

I was just there the other week. Cayde-6 sent me on a flashpoint. Didn't get any good exotics or anything but it was a fun time...

You’d be incorrect

What tech are you using at the moment to capture these pics? I'd like to do it myself.

For what it's worth, I wouldn't say $700 is "very expensive." Expensive, yes, but that's a perfectly reasonable cost to take decent quality photos of objects 365 million miles away. It's a few months payment on a credit card, or like 20-30 grass mowing gigs. Hell, people literally spend that on a phone these days.

Yep. Let me lie awake and think about how improbable it is that I'm staring out from my face, when space is out there. What is the point of anything? Why do I even exist? Everything is so weird.

I recently bought one for around $100. Over the summer I saw the rings of Saturn, Jupiters red spot and strips, plus 4 of Jupiter’s moons. The pictures i took with my iPhone don’t do it justice. It was incredible to see it, just sat there staring at it for long time.

No, it’s converged by a mirror.

The first one, most likely. The Earth can fit inside Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

Did you hear about Pluto?


I remember my friend laughing at me when I complained my bike was $800!

He showed me his bike hanging on the wall: $8000+

The focal length is longer than what I used so if you were to use the same camera as I did you would get an image that was closer to the planet. But, the optical diameter is much smaller so you need to Image longer to get the necessary data to stack and process a decent photo.

And it moves oceans from all the way over there. Amazing.

For reference, the Moon is about 30 Earths away from us :)

Technically, he could just shoot the stars.

Don't be afraid. It's a beautiful thing.

Yes. Io, the moon of Jupiter.

It’s pretty expensive if you consider you can only do one type of photography with it.

Edit: I’m not saying it’s not really cool, I’m just saying it’s not cheap. Stars and planets is what you can shoot with it. It’s awesome. But a regular camera can shoot animals, people, flowers, sports, weddings, underwater, and so on... $1,200 to do a VERY specific thing is not cheap. unless you’re rich I guess.

I'm actually working on imaging the andromeda galaxy and also imaged other objects such as the Orion Nebula.

I'm actually working on imaging the andromeda galaxy and also imaged other objects such as the Orion Nebula.

Thanks, I was starting to think I'd been bamboozled.

Well I️ mean with the new US tax laws... /s

I was about to gild both you and OP for this comment chain but then I decided it would be financially irresponsible

Agree. I remember the first night I took our telescope out in the driveway and could see the moons around it. I called everyone I knew. It blew my mind.

That's such a great way to put it. The first time I saw Saturn it was like seeing your teacher at the grocery store "in the wild" - whoooaaa!

Just imagine what it was like for people to first see it with the new technological wonder of the telescope. No wonder there was a kind of freak out.

I bet there were parties with a telescope as the centerpiece attraction.

Almost 20 years of EverQuest. I don’t care to know how much I’ve spent on that hobby

Which again, never meant to understate. 6 months of anything is dedication, especially sitting there trying to pinpoint a massive lump of gas that’s lifetimes away

Even crazier that it's actually 1,300 times as voluminous as Earth. Jupiter's a big guy.

“Jupiterish”. That’s my new favorite word.

That's beautiful.

You're a galactic accident. We all are.