With Rings Wide Open

December 18, 2001

Uploaded 12/22/2001

Every 15 years Saturn tilts its rings toward us, and presents an unparalleled opportunity for photography. While the ball of the planet subtends 20 arcseconds, the rings span 45. This is about the same angular size Jupiter is presenting at this time. This image was taken at a lowly f/10. A Televue 2x barlow was used to project the tiny image onto the CCD chip. Also, this image has been enlarged 2x from its original size. (2x "digital zoom") Seeing was poor, and a large number of images were taken to try to get a steady moment or two.

Processing: 300 images were taken, and the best 10 were used for the Luminance channel. They were doubled in size, averaged, and deconvolved with Maximum Entropy Deconvolution. Finally, a weak FFT high pass filter brought in the fine details such as Enckes Gap, and the image was combined with RGB images selected from over 100 taken in Photoshop in the LAB color space.

Instrument:  12.5" f/5 Home made Newtonian + 2x barlow
Platform:  Astrophysics 1200 QMD
CCD Camera:  SBIG ST7E w/Enhanced Cooling
Exposure:  LRGB = .1:.2:.2:.2 
Filters:  RGB Tricolor
Location:  Payson, Arizona
Elevation:  5150 ft.
Sky:  Seeing FMHW = 2.2 arcsec, Transparency 8/10
Outside Temperature:  -5 C
CCD Temperature:  -35 C
Processing:  Maxim DL, Photoshop, AIP4WIN, PW Pro.




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