1969-2019 - 50th Anniversary Year
Venus Collage by Dave Smith
Venus images were taken at regular intervals from July 2010 until January 2012 to capture a complete orbit of Venus around the Sun.
All images were taken with Dave's Vixen FL102S refractor using a 2x barlow and DMK21 camera. They were all taken in daylight through a red filter to improve contrast. His procedure was as follows. Initially and with a solar filter in place, he pointed the scope at the Sun and with a 30mm wide angle eyepiece centred and focused on the Sun. Using Eqmod he synced on the Sun and GOTOed Venus. Every time Venus was visible in the field of view with the Solar filter now removed. (As a safety precaution, he would approach the eyepiece slowly in case the light was too bright) He then replaced the 30mm lens with progressively higher power eyepieces and centralised Venus in the FOV. Finally he replaced the eyepiece and diagonal with an extension tube and DMK camera. The software he mostly used was SharpCap and with the histogram turned on changed the focus to get an image of Venus on the screen. The histogram would change shape as it neared focus and could detect the planet before it became visible on the screen. He would then again centralise Venus and then add the barlow lens and repeat the last step.
Processing was done in Registax6 and some final tweaks were applied in Photoshop where the collage was put together each image on a different layer. They were positioned using measurements taken from SkyMap Pro.