Saturn with Tethys, Enceladus, Dione, Rhea & Titan 2016-06-18 04:15 UT. Questar 3.5" with 2x2x Dakin Barlows and Sony a6300. HDR stack best 89 of 3640 ISO 3200 1/8 sec 4k 30fps HD video, 8 at ISO 6400 for 10 sec. Stacked and deconvolved in Lynkeos, noise reduction Nebulosity. HDR composite in Photoshop.
By submitting a comment, you agree that: it may be included here in whole or part, attributed to you, and it's content is subject to the site wide Creative Commons licensing.
Nice shot Rob. I use the moons to set focus, you can do that by live view or setting the gain beyond belief, then back down to image the planet
Thanks! The a6300 has a great magnified focus with focus peaking. I don't bother with my Bahtinov mask much anymore. Titan is the only one I can see in real time. With 89mm of aperture and 5000 mm of focal length, I can't resolve the dim moons very sharply. I love the way that I can integrate the 1:1 UHD 4k video with longer exposure still images on the Sony. It makes this sort of shot much easier. I should have done 100 exposures for the moons rather than 10 :-( Transparency was only fair to good, but much better than the past few nights.
Saturn, my favorite planet. Great photo, was it hard to take it?
Hard to take it? Hmmm... Out for four nights to get acceptable atmospheric conditions. 15 minutes to polar align, focus, and let the scope come to thermal equilibrium. 5 minutes to take the 3700 raw images. The images are of a dim, moving object with a 5000mm telephoto lens. Then several hours with 4 different software packages converting, aligning, grading, stacking, deconvolving, and finally HDR compositing the final image. Other than Milky Way nightscapes, any decent astro photo takes many hours of effort. It's not as bad as it sounds once you work everything out, but there are no astrophotography snapshots. Truth be told, a good Milky Way shot takes a lot of effort as well, but with the right equipment you can take a single image that looks pretty good right out of the camera. Not meaning to be snarky here just educational. I know that when I got started my expectations were very different from what I know now. I have some info on getting started with simple equipment on my site and pointers to other resources.
Rob Pettengill I have it somewhat easier, but you missed the point. Set gain until Saturn saturates, then focus on the moons. Planets are very hard to bring to focus because they are much more than a point of light. Once you get them to their brightest, then set your camera to image the planet. I am just trying to help. I would like to see your Questar do the best it can.
I use the rings edge for Saturn. I should be able to boost the ISO and focus on Titan. I am more used to Jupiter where the moons are bigger. I used to use the Bahtinov mask on a nearby bright star, but that wasn't getting me any better results. I'm thinking that I'll try your suggestion + some high ISO test shots. in this image a better alignment plus more aggressive sharpening of the moons gave a better result.
Rob Pettengill I guess the DSLR is not a CCD I use Firecapture to get a live view which your camera will not work with. Just trying to help.