Recently I purchased this 127mm SkyWatcher Maksutov telescope on eBay for less than £100! The optics were clean and it looked barely used so I was very happy to finally have a small, high focal length telescope that I can use for planetary imaging.

While not necessary I decided at the same time to purchase a SkyWatcher AZ-GTI mount for a portable option when imaging. Being an Alt-AZ mount it’s perfect for visual use and some light planetary astrophotography.

I paired this scope with my ZWO ASI 183MC which I opted to use as it has smaller pixels than the ZWO ASI 290MC giving me a higher resolution.

While it may look like the 183 was a poor choice, the cropped image of Saturn would result in a much better quality image at 0.33″/px

It’s important to understand your imaging capabilities before you start imaging the planets. If you understand the qualities of your skies and the capabilities of your telescope and camera you will capture much better images. A great tool for all this is Astronomy Tools

I purposely chose a night with very calm skies as clarity of your sky is very important for planetary imaging.

Processing these images is very straightforward, I have a full written tutorial for quick and easy planetary image processing using AstroSurface.