We Captured SATURN From The Front Garden

The week started badly. REALLY badly. Long covid was giving me some serious issues, and by Tuesday I was in a full blown migraine. You know the sort, where all you can cope with is a dark room, absolute silence and sleep with some Zapain for the pain.

My partner, Amanda, lovingly made me some home made chicken soup, which stayed down for less than an hour. So I slept some more. Come Wednesday I was past the migraine and in need of some tree therapy. So she took me out to reconnect with nature.

Unfortunately I overdid it (which doesn’t take a lot), and come Thursday I was bed bound again. Friday, although I wasn’t at my best, I was still much better, but my mental health had suffered as much as my physical health and with no clear sky forecast, I was climbing the walls. Saturday was forecast clear and so I took it easy until the evening and set up early (and slowly!) determined to capture something.

As it was, the younger two (Benj and Millie) also wanted to image, so we decided between us to try some planetary. Saturn was up as it was getting darker and so we gave it a go.

Saturn is the sixth planet in the solar system, and the second largest after Jupiter. It’s most notable feature is its ring system, which is visible to the naked eye from earth through a medium powered telescope. Saturn has a diameter of approximately 9 and a half times that of the Earth, but it’s density is so low that if the Pacific Ocean were large enough, the planet could float on it, assuming such things as maintaining atmospheric rigidity of the planet, among other things. But, getting back to the imaging…

Benj, bless him, on his first go, managed to obtain a better image than all of my own previous attempts. A little chagrined, but nevertheless extremely proud of him for calling the focus point and the exposure, his image was absolutely fantastic, bearing in mind there was no Barlow lens nor ADC (atmospheric dispersion corrector.)

Benj’s first go at Saturn, using the 200PDS at its native focal length, on the EQ5 Pro with the Altair Hypercam 183C. Ultra proud daddy!

I got some data myself after they went to bed and then switched scopes to the 72ED for some DSO work, managing some time on M81 and M82, plus a bonus hour on the area around Alnitak, in Orion.

I had a go at processing my own Saturn the following day and it fell woefully short of Benj’s attempt. I knew that there was more there though, and I happened across a tutorial on using Registax6 a couple of days later. I’ve never understood the wavelets manipulation in it and, I must admit, even after following the tutorial I’m still really none the wiser.

However, it still improved my own image hugely, to the point it turned out to be my best one yet! Cue dancing a little jig.

So I’ll leave you with my own version of Saturn, inspired by my 12 year old son’s capture. After all, we can’t have the student outdoing the teacher, can we?

Thanks for reading and clear skies all.

My best Saturn yet!


Finally sat down with Benj so he could process his own image. Have to say that he’s coming on in leaps and bounds. He’s managed to bring out the banding on the surface better, as well as starting to see more of the divisions in the rings.

Benj sat using Registax6 to enhance his Saturn image
Benj’s final Saturn. Won’t say I’m envious but….well done Benji!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s