Schiaparelli's "Figure 5" on Mercury

Posted by pilotstar
on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This photo shows the famous "Figure 5'  feature  on Mercury, first observed by the great Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli in the early 1880s.  Like most features on Mercury, it is difficult -- if not impossible -- to observe visually in amateur-size telescopes. Good seeing and numerous video frames are needed to capture details on Mercury.  This photo was taken with a modest 6" Newtonian with a digital point-and -shoot camera at 150X.  Telescopic Mercury photography has been largely been excluded by amateurs, but as you can see from this photo, a large scope and expensive imaging camera are not needed to get great photos of Mercury!  I feel humbled and honored to have captured Schiaparelli's 'Figure 5' using today's technology, knowing he first saw it visually with an 8" refractor. Try your luck at imaging "The Messenger of the Gods," you might be pleasantly surprised with the results!  (Also see my other Mercury photo in the 'Planets Gallery.)

Ernie (PilotStar)

Tags: Mercury
To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.
Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.


Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter. View our Privacy Policy.

Find us on Facebook