Here's What It Takes to Take a Photo of Saturn

Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun, is a beautiful gas giant, well known for its iconic rings. However, it is almost unfathomably far from Earth, making it a challenge for any photographer wanting to take an image of it. This great video follows an astrophotographer as he tackles the challenge of creating a photo of the planet.

Coming to you from Astro Backyard, this fascinating video follows the process of creating an image of Saturn. Saturn sits between 746 million miles (1.2 billion kilometers) and a little over a billion miles (1.7 billion kilometers) away from Earth (for reference, the sun is 93 million miles away). As such, there are numerous difficulties in creating a clear image of the planet given the extreme distances involved. A Celestron Edge HD 11, an 11-inch 2,800mm f/10 telescope, was used along with a ZWO ASI290mm Mini camera. Over 1,500 images were taken, from which the 200 best frames were selected and stacked to create the final image you will see in the video. It is certainly a very labor-intensive process that requires a lot of advanced technique and effort, but it looks to be very rewarding. Check out the video above to see how it was done. 

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5 Comments

Mark English's picture

Superb, with a touching end...

David Pavlich's picture

Saturn is a reason so many people end up buying telescopes. You have to be emotionless to see Saturn through a telescope for the first time and not say, "holy cow!"

Good article!

Spy Black's picture

Trevor has become a great storyteller. I've seen him evolve over the years. He's been accused of being a product shill, and he's certainly done some of that, but it's always been to get to the end result and to share it with you.

E F's picture

this post actually made me go out and try to capture it myself, being far from an expert i realized you can actually capture Saturn and rings with a 600m*1.4tc and a fullframe camera. Now i need to start stacking it =)

Spy Black's picture

You should try it with a crop frame body (with it's higher pixel density) without the teleconverter, and see which offers a sharper image. You'll have higher noise levels with the smaller sensor, but extra subs can compensate for that.