The Planet Saturn ... The 6th Planet from the Sun



The Planet Saturn
I captured this planet uing the 11" Celestron with an Explore Scientific 3X Barlow extender in my backyard on the night of July 2, 2018 (1:00 am, July 3). On an atmospheric 'seeing' scale where 0 is total cloud cover and a 10 is totally clear with low humidity and no moon glow, the sky that night was a 7. At that time, Saturn was about 888 million miles away, as compared to about 841,952,750 million miles in early Jul, 6 days before opposition, when it will be 841,346,750 away. It takes 29.457 years for Saturn to orbit the sun.

I used the software; SharpCap Pro which has a ROI (Region of Interest) function to capture the planet. Instead of taking pictures with a dimension of 4128 x 2808 px, I am able to set a capture area around the planet, and in this case, 640 x 480 pixels (there are several options for sizing the capture box). This greatly reduces the avi file size by 97% allowing for much more frames for better resolution and faster stacking times.

Techy Stuff:
Telescope: 11" Celestron Edge HD with the Explore Scientific 3x 4 Element Barlow Focal Extender yielding a focus ratio0 of f/30
Mount: CGX ii
Camera: Altair Hypercam 294C Pro tec (Color)
Capture software: SharpCap Pro 3.1
Guiding: PHD 2
Filter: City Light Pollution Suppresion
Number of Frames in .avi file: 5,000
Stacking Program: AutoStakkert! 2.6.8
Used best 2,500 of the aligned 5,000 frames for stacking
Post Processed in Photoshop CC
Seeing Conditions: 7 (0-10, where 0 is total cloud cover)
Bortle Light-Pollution zone: 6-7 (can barely see the Milkyway)
Temperature: 82F, Dew Point 74
Location: Backyard, Savannah GA


Some other images I took of Saturn. In the earlier years, the telescope was the Celestron 6" unguided telescope and the camera was the canon T2i, all just a single shot with no stacking. As time goes by, my equipment, software, and technique improved resulting in better and better pictures.

My 1st Picture ... Apr 23, 2014

My 2nd Picture ... Apr 23, 2014

June 19, 2017

September 12, 2017

May 10, 2018

June 15, 2018

July 4, 2018

August 26, 2018

June 27, 2019

July 1, 2019 (Hazy Sky)

July 9, 2019 (Clear Sky)

July 12, 2019 (Hazy Sky)

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