These images cover the 2017 season. Saturn reaches opposition on 30th June 2017.
I have neglected Saturn over the last few years, but this year the rings become fully open with the northern side presented towards us. Unfortunately Saturn is far south of the ecliptic and comes to opposition in June. This means that Saturn is very low in the sky and at a time when it never gets truly dark at my latitude (moving north by 1½° since my last pictures doesn't help). So imaging is much more difficult.
The images are in chronological order.
My first reasonable picture of the season. Saturn was low in the sky (14½°) when this picture was taken with the Sun only 14° below the horizon. Saturn had only cleared the big tree near my observatory a few minutes earlier. Saturn was 1,366 million kilometres (9.13 AU) away and subtended an angle of 18 arc-seconds. The inclination of the rings was 26 degrees.
The picture was taken with my X2 SLR lens attached to the LX200. This is the first time I have used a Zwo Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (ADC), (quite successfully too).
Date and Time: 25th May 2017 01:13 UT
Camera: DFK 21AF04
Telescope: LX200 with X2 lens
Capture: ICCapture. 1/8", 1023 gain, 449 frames
Processing: Registax6. 2 alignment points, 100 frames stacked per point, Gaussian wavelets Scheme 10
Focus Magic 2, Gaussian blur 2.
The next night I attempted to capture some of the satellites. Conditions were not as good as they had been the day before and I had to use an exposure of 4 seconds to register the satellites. Seeing conditions resulted in very blurred images of the satellites, which I have been able to correct at least to some extent with Focus Magic. This exposure over-exposed the planet and so this picture is a composite of the original with a correctly-exposed picture of Saturn. I was unable to remove all the brightness surrounding Saturn without losing Enceladus and Iapetus, so the composite nature of the picture is obvious. Mimas is present but lost in the glare of Saturn. In addition, Titan and Iapetus were too far apart to be captured together, so the original picture is a mosaic. I forgot to use my ADC so dispersion had be compensated in Registax. There is another object near the lower right-hand corner; it is not a satellite so must be a background star.
Move your mouse over the image to see the satellites identified.
Date and Time: 27th February 2011 01:32 to 01:37 (Sats) and 01:39 (planet) UT
Camera: DFK 21AF04
Telescope: LX200 at prime focus
Capture: ICCapture. Sats - Exposure 4 sec , 1023 gain (maximum), 30 frames
Planet - Exposure 1/19 sec, 995 gain , 898 frames
Processing: Registax6. Sats - 10 frames stacked for each section, Gaussian wavelets Scheme 1
Planet - 2 alignment points,100 frames stacked per point, wavelets 1-2 = 10.
Assembly of mosaic by iMerge Superposition of Saturn by PhotoImpact.
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