Another night with Saturn

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Ed Roach
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Another night with Saturn

Unread post by Ed Roach » Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:26 pm

Hi everyone,

It seems like it's been a while since the conditions were good enough to image Saturn. The last night I captured the ringed planet was on January 18th. Conditions were not as nice last night as they were in January, but beggars can't be choosers. :) There was a small breeze during my imaging session that was giving me problems, but I still managed some good moments. I would estimate the seeing as 5/10 on the Pickering scale. It can be lonely and boring just staring at the computer screen for hours at a time, praying for the jet stream to settle down, but when you see the finished product it always seems like time well spent. :D

If last year is any indication, the next four weeks should give the best chances for a great image and I'm hoping for a couple more great nights this season.

The image was taken with my 8" Meade LX90 @ f/35, along with my DMK firewire camera for luminance and Atik 1C for RGB. I hope you all enjoy the image.

Image

Thanks,
Ed Roach
Bruce D
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Unread post by Bruce D » Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:36 am

When I'm done picking my jaw up off the floor I'll tell you what a great image you got! Do you give lessons?!
Bruce D
Dan Chieppa
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Unread post by Dan Chieppa » Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:42 am

Ed,
That's a really great picture of Saturn! I was out on Friday night as well and enjoyed a nice view at 190x.
Thanks for posting the photo.
Clear skies,
Dan
P.S. If you don't mind sharing, what's the stacking info and exposure times?
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WCGucfa
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Unread post by WCGucfa » Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:28 pm

Ed,

Unbelievable image! If it weren't taken by you I would say you clipped it off the cover of S&T or Astronomy.
I too want to know all the details including camera tech. I'm not familiar with any cameras above DSI's, LPI's and the unobtainable (moneywise) SBIG's.
We want to know all the secrets from the Great God of Lunar and Planetary imaging. Cough them up!

Bill :shock: :!:
Comets:40, Best Meteor shwr: Leonids '01, Best Aurora:Oct. '03.
Total.Sol.Eclipse,7/10/72 from Nova Scotia.Annular Sol. Eclipse '94,
Trans.of Venus 2004&2012.,ShoeLevy crash into Jupiter '94.
4/25/66 fireball-9 mag.,SN2011fe,N2012aw,DelphN2013.
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Mark G
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Unread post by Mark G » Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:09 pm

Wow NICE 8)
Clear skies,

Mark

iOptron CEM25P w/ Tri-pier
CGEM DX
LXD750 w/ CDS #1697
LXD75 w/ #497 autostar Hypertuned
Antares 8" f/5 Newt
Antares 4" f/15 "Vixen Spec" long focus refractor
Orion 4" f/7 ED refractor
Astro-Tech 65mm Quad APO
and so much more
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Ed Roach
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Unread post by Ed Roach » Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:10 pm

Thanks very much guys!! Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Bruce DiDucca said:
Do you give lessons?!
I'm placing you first on the list Bruce when I put togther my lesson plan. :D

Bill Gucfa & Dan Chieppa said:
We want to know all the secrets from the Great God of Lunar and Planetary imaging. Cough them up!
P.S. If you don't mind sharing, what's the stacking info and exposure times?
Here's my secret recipe. :D
I pretty much use the same procedure for Saturn now. I take a 5 minute avi for the luminance portion of the image which carries all the detail. I use my DMK 21AF04 monochrome firewire camera for this. The DMK uses a 1/4" Sony ICX098BL B&W chip that produces a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. You can see all the specs at this site. http://www.astronomycameras.com/en/products/

I capture at 30 frames per second, using a 1/30th of a second exposure. At this exposure setting I have to set the gain at almost 100%, but since the camera has very low noise it does not cause any problems. I actually take 4 avi's of 1 minute and fifteen seconds apiece. This gives me 2250 frames per avi and 9000 frames total. The reason I do this is Registax can't handle avi's much bigger than 2300 frames, but it will let you place several together up to about 10,000 frames maximum.

I usually use about 1600-1800 frames in the final stack and I used 1600 frames with this image. Since the seeing usually doesn't get better than about 7/10 on the Pickering scale around here I use a composite technique with Saturn which really benfits from it. What I do is run the avi's through Registax three different times, aligning on a different spot each time. I align on each side of the rings and on the globe for the third using a 128 size alignment box. I use the image that I aligned on the "globe" as my template image. I take the other two "ring" images and crop off the rings and paste them on the template image in Photoshop. Since the atmospheric morphing that regularly occurs around here moves the image around so much, this technique produces much sharper image than using a larger alignment box with a single run through Registax. It's the reason Registax 4 has a multi-alignment point option. I don't use it on the planets because Registax seems to have trouble putting planetary images back together, so I only use this function on my lunar images and do the mutli-alignment point processing manually with the planets.

When I use the "Wavelets" in Registax, I usually use sliders 1,2 & 3 for sharpening Saturn, with the most sharpening done with slider #1. I finish sharpening with Unsharp Mask in Photoshop and maybe some final sharpening and noise reduction in NeatImage.

I capture the color data using my ATiK 1C and I capture two 2300 frame avi's at 10 frames per second and 1/10th of a second exposure for a total of 4600 frames. I used 1000 frames total for the final stack. I processed each image separately and then combine them in Photoshop. It usually only takes a slight resizing and rotation of the color image to match the luminance image. That's about it. Each image is processed slightly different, depending on the quality of the raw data, but I pretty much stick to this "recipe". :)

Clear & steady skies,
Ed Roach
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Mark G
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Unread post by Mark G » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:47 pm

Thanks I'll see if this will fly with my 8MP digital rebel. BTW I agree on the 7 and under on the pickering scale. It's rare if it ever gets better than that.
Clear skies,

Mark

iOptron CEM25P w/ Tri-pier
CGEM DX
LXD750 w/ CDS #1697
LXD75 w/ #497 autostar Hypertuned
Antares 8" f/5 Newt
Antares 4" f/15 "Vixen Spec" long focus refractor
Orion 4" f/7 ED refractor
Astro-Tech 65mm Quad APO
and so much more
james and james mceachern

Unread post by james and james mceachern » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:49 pm

hey mark that's quite a mug shot!
james and james mceachern

Unread post by james and james mceachern » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:53 pm

fitting for the post office wall i'd say :P
Bruce D
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Unread post by Bruce D » Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:20 pm

Yeah Mark what's that behind you, your cape blowing in the breeze?
Bruce D
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