A surprisingly effective way of getting good planet images is with a good webcam. Put it in video mode, capture a few hundred frames in a minute or so, and then let readily available freeware automatically align and stack the frames, for an image with a very good signal to noise ratio. The "wavelets" sharpening of the freeware program RegiStax works wonders to bring out everything in the final image. Routine color/brightness/contrast final adjustments were made in Photoshop.
Unless otherwise noted, all images on this page were taken by John Mahony with a Phillips ToUcam Pro 740k webcam and the 12" scope.
This was my first attempt with the webcam. Jupiter cooperated with the Great Red Spot (lower left) and a moon shadow (eclipse) at upper right on the planet's surface. Two of Jupiter's moons are shown further to the upper right.
Here's the result of just a little more experience. The Great Red Spot is at lower right. Jupiter's moon Ganymede is off to the left.
This image was taken by Buck Harley using his 7" refractor, which he later donated to PGO. Two moons are shown, one of which is casting a shadow on the planet.
The camera was a SAC IVc, which is a Logitech 3000 webcam put in a container suitable for attaching to a telescope.
This image was taken during a night of exceptionally good seeing during the 2010 IFSP. Image by John Mahony using a Toucam webcam on our 16" LX200R.
This image of Mars was taken during a night of exceptionally stable air during the close approach of August 2003. It still appeared only about half the size of Jupiter, but the still air allowed very high "magnification" (very long effective focal length) to be used. The white feature at the bottom is the south polar cap. Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the solar system, runs vertically across the center.
Here's another image taken a few days later, showing a dust storm (bright yellow region) near the top.