Astronomy round up for week up to 17th April. Spent the day in the garden trying to coax the Philips SPC900 webcam to work. Tried imaging the Sun in white light using Baader solar film with the webcam but could see the footage breaking up into lines as recording. Managed to get a close up of a sunspot group with a 3 x Barlow and the webcam that you can see on the solar summary picture. The main solar disc image was stacked from about 15 frames on the DSLR as was the top group of sunspots. The prominences were the only thing I could get using the Hydrogen alpha Coronado PST solar telescope and webcam, its not really picking up much and utterly struggled with surface detail.
Mars is supposed to be at its closest approach to Earth this week. Distinctly orangey bright in the sky at the moment at around magnitude -1.5, its easy to point out. For a little secret, I’ve always found Mars disappointing. Visually through a telescope its a small pinkish very bright disc, can’t usually see much detail, I’d be kidding myself If I could see any distinctly clear desert regions like Syrtis Major or snow capped polar regions Even with a Barlow and webcam, the planet is still small. Tried comparing webcam stacked footage against DSLR stacked image to find very little difference confirming the webcams best days are over. Then again, its not particularly easy when trying to use a non-tracking mount.