These images of Saturn were captured from the driveway amidst atrocious street lighting glare. 

In fact I used a piece of black plastic board propped up in the open trunk of my car to shield the scope from the glare! 

With planets, tracking isn't so much of an issue, and guiding is unecessary.  The technique is to take many short exposures to freeze the seeing.  I used a pocket digital in movie mode attached to a Celestron 6" Reflector with Clock Drive.

I ignored the golden rule of digital cameras 'Dont, for Pentax Sake, use the Digital Zoom!'  Normally that's good advice

but in this case I had only a 3X optical zoom which gave a very small image of Saturn.  I decided to zoom to illegal levels which

produced a big but horribly noisy image.  I hoped to overcome the noise by stacking hundreds of images together.

The best image resulted from a stack of 1695 frames of Saturn.







Stage 1



Using just the 3x optical zoom on the pocket digital

produced a very small image of Saturn. 

Each individual frame of the

movie is horribly noisy.





Stage 2



250 frames stacked in Registax results in a

much smoother image. 



Stage 3



1698 images stacked and lightly filtered in Registax starts to bring out some detail on Saturn.  The Casinni Division is just visible and so is the South (South is up) Equatorial Belt.





Stage 4



Finally, Photoshop is used to bring out more detail. 

The end result is surprising when compared to the individual frames that combined to make it.




The Scope Used For Saturn



Celestron 6" Reflector with Clock Drive




The Camera Set-Up for Saturn



Pentax Pocket Digital Camera

Orion SteadyPix Camera Mount











All Content Copyright © James MacWilliam