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Saturn at 3910mm (2017Jun12)

Saturn through 14" at 3910mm (2017Jun12) Saturn through 14" at 3910mm (2017Jun12) ©2017 Frederick Steiling
Target Information
Main Target Designation(s) Saturn
Additional Images
Published image Full resolution
All Exposures
Date(s) of acquisition 12Jun2017 at 07:13UT
Location Defiance, MO
Capture resolution 320x240
Luminance Exposures
Total capture 35247 x 11.36ms at 55% gain
Stack source 20% of 400" video at 87 fps (avg)
Red Exposures
Total capture 6004 x 29.97ms at 55% gain
Stack source 15% of 180" video at 33 fps (avg)
Green Exposures
Total capture 3995 x 45.07ms at 55% gain
Stack source 15% of 180" video at 22 fps (avg)
Blue Exposures
Total capture 4084 x 44.07ms at 55% gain
Stack source 15% of 180" video at 22 fps (avg)
Equipment
Imager ZWO ASI120MM
Filters ZWO 1.25" LRGB
Telescope/Lens Celestron C14 XLT SCT
Focal Length 3910mm (f/11)
Mount Celestron CGE Pro
Focuser GSO Crayford (manual)
Software
Acquisition FireCapture 2.4
Guiding None
Processing AutoStakkert 3, Registax 6, WinJUPOS 10, PixInsight 1.8

In my first proper full-color photo of it, here we get a view of the iconic gas giant, Saturn!

This is my inaugural Saturn photo from the club's C14 scope, and I'm very encouraged by the quality of images I'm starting to get from it.  After a quick look at the splendid Cassini Division (the large gap in the rings, originally discovered by Giovanni Domenico Cassini in 1675), we can see some more delicate features courtesy of the giant aperture of this scope.  First, some separation in the cloud bands has become evident throughout the northern hemisphere of the planet, a feature we're quite used to seeing on images of Jupiter, but a more fleeting feature with Saturn because of the lower contrast difference between them.  These faint clouds have little else that is unremarkable about them, boasting wind speeds up to 1800 km/h (1120 mph)!

An even fainter feature is evident on this photo as well, and may be considered the "prize" of this capture.  On the northern pole of Saturn sits a very curious hexagonal cloud, and in this image, we can barely glean 3 edges of it.  The cloud represents one of the most fascinating features of any planet, the source of which remains a subject of much speculation today.  Through the fairly poor atmospheric conditions of St. Louis, I was really surprised to have been able to get it to present itself, but doing so leaves me even more encouraged with the splendid captures that await from this scope as I further learn how to tame its nuances and get the most from it.

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