The Unparalleled Beauty of the Night Sky ... Up Close
About This Site
Welcome to my Astro-Imaging website! I built this for my own use, but you may feel free to explore and enjoy it as well.

This site primarily is a place for me to catalog my own planetary and deep space images. I have also added many tools to help me plan observing sessions. I plan to add more features and content in coming months.

The data powering this site is JPL's developmental ephemeris DE431 (2013). I created a database with exact positions of all planets and major moons in the solar system for the period 2000 - 2049 AD. There is one position PER HOUR for each of these objects! Between hours, I use a 6-step numerical integrator for precise interpolation.

I live near San Diego California, so all geocentric positions are based on that. The closer you live to southern California, the closer my site will match your own sky. Times on this site are either UTC or Pacific Time Zone.

Some terms on this site default to my own imaging parameters. However, I've added a way for you to change those to your own. For example, when projecting image scale (such as number of pixels wide a planet will be in an image), I default to my own planetary imaging scale, which is currently 0.214"/pixel. On any page, add the parameter "?scale=n" where n is your own image scale. If this appears to be a valid image scale value (in arcseconds per pixel), then that page will display with your settings. Note that this setting is per-page, not per-session, and must be repeated for each page.

Another note, the term "ipx" is used throughout the site. It stands for "illuminated pixels". Normally appearing for planets, this term shows me how many pixels in my images the illuminated portion of the planet will occupy, which gives me an idea of how detailed it will be. It takes into account the apparent size, shape, and phase angle of the planet. This value can be adapted for your own camera setup (see preceding paragraph).
Feel free to contact me with questions, feedback or suggestions!
Site Tour
Here's a brief site tour explaining the active features and content of this website:
Home Page : the right column contains widgets, showing current observing parameters of the Moon and each planet in the solar system. Notes:
  • The green and red arrows next to parameters indicate that those values are increasing or decreasing. For example, a red arrow next to distance means that object is currently moving closer to Earth.
  • For the Moon, and the visible planets (excluding Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), the sizes of the image are scaled - meaning that when the planet appears as large as it can be from Earth, the image of the planet will fill the box it's in.

Planners - Planets this Evening : this page shows when visible planets are highest in the sky. Hovering over any object shows its viewing parameters for that hour. You can choose any date by adding the URL parameter "?date=2019-01-25" with the desired date.

Planners - Solar System Calendar : I use this page mostly to see when the Moon is "out of the way" to image deep space objects, based upon the moonrise and moonset times. Some major events such as planetary oppositions and elongations will appear. Later I'll be adding more types of events to the calendar. You can choose a different month by adding the URL parameters "?month=062004" for June 2004 ... note that the value must be 6 digits long, so include that leading zero.

Planners - One Planet Detailed : this page gives very detailed by-the-hour info for a single planet for one evening. The blue rows indicate twilight and daylight, while the rows with the black background indicate nighttime. The planetary details are white while the planet is above the horizon, and gray when not visible (below the horizon). On the page you can choose any planet, date and imaging scale. The "include moons" checkbox will add details for all major satellites of that planet.

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