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Saturn at 7820mm (2018May28)

Saturn with Dione and Tethys Saturn with Dione and Tethys © Frederick Steiling
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Target Information
Main Target Designation(s) Saturn
Companion Object(s) Dione, Tethys
All Exposures
Date(s) of acquisition 2018May28 at 09:19UT
Location Defiance, MO
Capture resolution 640x480
Target Altitude 27.0°
Red Exposures (also as Luminance)
Total capture 1591 x 56.55ms at 75% gain
Stack source 40% of 90" video at 17 fps (avg)
Green Exposures
Total capture 1197 x 75.21ms at 75% gain
Stack source 40% of 90" video at 13 fps (avg)
Blue Exposures
Total capture 1122 x 80.18ms at 75% gain
Stack source 25% of 90" video at 12 fps (avg)
Imager ZWO ASI174MM
Filters ZWO 1.25" RGB
Telescope/Lens Celestron C14 XLT SCT
Magnifiers Tele Vue 2x Powermate
Effective Focal Length 7820mm (f/22)
Mount Celestron CGE Pro
Focuser Moonlite 2.5" CSL
Acquisition FireCapture 2.5
Guiding None
Processing AutoStakkert 3, Registax 6, WinJUPOS 10, PixInsight 1.8

In a continuing effort to improve the data available from ASEM's C14 telescope at Broemmelsiek Astronomy Park using some new gear that includes an ASI174MM planetary camera, I acquired this RGB data set on Saturn through very mediocre skies.  The result is astounding and encouraging!

After a series of nights tweaking and improving collimation with star tests and analysis using Metaguide, it seemed reasonable to point the scope at Saturn after earlier acquiring as-yet unprocessed data on Mars and Jupiter.  With Saturn only at 27° in altitude, there was a lot of atmosphere between us and it.  But, with solid collimation and camera alignment, passes of sharpening in Registax and PixInsight gave excellent results here that expose not only the famous "hexagon" at the northern pole, but also the moons Dione (10.63 magnitude) and Tethys (10.43 magnitude) that presented as blips of signal that were carefully exposed from the RGB data.

The skies overall were not very good, with fog, hazy clouds, and poor seeing all present.  However, as I'm starting a separate program to observe the 2018 Mars apparition over the course of several months, this data makes me confident that I'll have plenty of "good enough" skies to acquire the necessary data to observe a variety of Martian features throughout the year.

Next up we have a ZWO Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector on its way for testing and incorporation into the imaging train.  If it works as advertised, we look to have even better data on the way this year!

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