Saturn on the evening of Monday, July 8th, 2019, through my 254mm Dobsonian telescope.

Last week I mentioned that I had one other planet to show from my telescope work on the evening of July 8th.  It was about as perfect of a night for early July in Summer, so I kept my camera and telescope out for hours.  I first photographed the Moon, followed by Jupiter.  About an hour later, I took pictures of the other visible planet that night, Saturn.

Saturn was at opposition.  As I had not filmed Saturn since last year, I was very worried that the results would not be good.  It is harder than Jupiter to manually track with my Dobsonian telescope, because it is dimmer.

The above image was stacked from the final two videos I took (17 videos in total).  With these final two, I lowered the video exposure to 60.

For the first 18 videos, I let in more light with exposure 30.  They were good as well, but not as good, I thought, as the image produced from exposure 60.  Now normally, I stack only three videos at a time. But I decided to try stacking all the good videos (i.e. good focus), of which there were nine.  Below is the result, after some final post-processing touchups (as I did with the image above as well).

Saturn at opposition, July 2019. This is a composite of my nine best videos at exposure 30.

Summary of my equipment, settings, and software used:

  • Telescope: Dobsonian reflector 254mm / 10″ (homemade)
  • Camera: Canon EOS Rebel SL1
  • Barlow: TeleVue Powermate x5 1.25″
  • Filter: Baader Neodymium 1.25″
  • Canon T ring and adapter
  • Relevant camera settings:
  • ISO 1600
  • Exposure: 30 & 60
  • Set 1: Two 24-29 second videos at exposure 60
  • Set 2: Composite of nine 24-29 second videos at exposure 30; refocused after three videos at a time
  • Software for post-processing:
  • PIPP
  • Autostakkert
  • Registax 6
  • PaintShop Pro 2018 for final minor touchups