Dave Moore's Planetary Imaging Page

    created by Mike Lockwood

This page is to provide space to show images captured by Dave Moore or Phoenix, AZ.  Dave currently images with a 10" F/6.3 Newtonian and a 14.25" F/20.8 classical Cassegrain.  A photo of the (very heavy) Cassegrain is included below.  Unlike the other well-known planetary imagers, Dave doesn't have steady seeing due to ocean breezes.  Instead, he must find those good moments amongst the hot, dry, often windy nights of Phoenix.  Still, he perseveres and produces excellent images of planets, mainly through practice, persistence, and hard work.

Dave's Cassegrain

The original Cassegrain telescope was not performing as it should, and Dave contacted me in the fall of 2005 after seeing my writings about my 12.5" Cassegrain and our club's 16.25" Cassegrain.  Following some long-distance debugging (on email and over the phone),  I received Dave's primary for testing and it proved.... well... disappointing.  The conic constant was not close to what it should be for either a classical Cassegrain or a Dall-Kirkham.  At this point we decided that the best course of action to improve the telescope's performance was to refigure the primary to a parabola and make a new, smaller secondary (the old one was 4.25" in diameter).  So, in early 2006 I refigured the primary mirror and made a new 3" secondary for Dave's scope, and it became a 14.25" F/20.8 classical Cassegrain with a 3" diameter secondary.  The obstruction is now only 21%, compared to the previous 30%.

Thus the reason I'm putting up this page for him - he's using my optics!  Also, he didn't have a good place to post images, and I do.

With the uncoated secondary installed and after some more long-distance collimation advice, Dave phoned with the results: even uncoated he was seeing detail on Mars at higher powers than he could use before.  The mirror got aluminized, and the new scope was complete.  It featured improved primary cooling, and a new focuser, spider, and secondary holder.  The last two items Dave fabricated himself.  Also, the baffling was redone to suit the new optics.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are the before and after photos, taken under approximately the same seeing conditions. Dave captured the first image of Jupiter (below) with the old Cassegrain in 2003.  The image below that was obtained recently, including "Red Spot Jr", and a transiting moon.  What a difference!

Jupiter, before scope is fixed  BEFORE.......

Jupiter, after new secondary and refigure
AFTER - Note "Red" and "Red Jr." rotating off the disk at 10 o'clock position in the image at right.

I think the results speak for themselves.  A bit better seeing and there might be detail on the disk of that moon!  Obviously the new optics have made a huge difference, but to be fair that is in combination with improved collimation, less central obstruction, an improved spider, new improved baffling, and no barlow lens in the imaging train.  Dave is not one to heavily process images, so it's possible some more detail could be teased from the second set of images if it were worked on more aggressively or if different software were used.

Personally, though, I enjoy seeing the subtle hues of the too-numerous-to-count features over the disk of mighty Jupiter.  The subtle differences in the pastel hues of the bands, belts, storms, ovals, festoons and other features are quite beautiful, I think.  In the future, I can't wait to post more images here that show Dave's hard work.  I am eager to see what a night of truly GOOD seeing will produce!

More Moore Images

Venus, UV, April 21, 2007

Saturn, April 22, 2007

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