Saturn

Image exposure:
Best 10% of 1000 frame video.
Planetary disc diameter:
18.3 arc-seconds
Image date:
2021-09-01

Above is the sharpest view of Saturn which I have obtained so far, made possible after I learned a bit more about how to make wavelet adjustments in Registax.

I wondered whether I should go back to some of my older images and reprocess them with the improved method. I decided not to, because I didn’t want them to turn out better than the latest one…

Saturn always appears slightly flattened at the poles, which is due to its fast rotation – two and a quarter times per Earth day!

You can also see the shadow of Saturn on the rings

Saturn’s Tilt

The Northern Hemisphere is currently tilted towards us, so the Northern polar region is in view. This is where the famous North Pole Hexagon is located but whilst you can see the general polar region, the distinctive hexagonal shape is not really distinguishable. It was discovered in 1981 by a Voyager spacecraft flyby.

The ring tilt of Saturn is currently 19° and decreasing annually from its maximum of 28°. By 2025 the tilt will be zero and the rings will appear edge on as a slender straight line, bisecting Saturn. The last time this occurred was in 2009 and I took the following novice image a few months later:

Saturn with ring tilt close to zero
Image: Roger Powell
2010-02-17

The useful animation below (not mine), shows our approximate view of Saturn over the course of its twenty-nine year orbit. Don’t be alarmed, it’s not wobbling! It’s quite steady, we are just seeing it from different perspectives as it moves along its orbital path and we move along ours.

Animation of Saturn.
As seen from Earth over the course of one Saturn orbit of the Sun.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Satellites

Below is an overexposed and uncropped image, taken a few minutes after I took the main feature image, showing some of the traffic congestion around Saturn!

Saturn and some of its satellites
Image: Roger Powell

2021-09-01 @ 21.58

Cosmic Focus Observatory

34° S

Above us only sky….

Telescope:SkyWatcher Esprit 120 mm apochromatic 3-element refractor; 840 mm f/l @ f/7.
Optics:Field flattener; Astronomik broadband light pollution filter. Powermate 2X amplifier.
Mount:SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount.
Imaging camera:ZWO ASI 071 MC cooled.

Thanks for reading!
🙃
Images © Roger Powell
I’m one of the founder members of Macarthur Astronomical Society

Acknowledgements: Irina Blok

7 Comments

  1. That is an excellent sharp image. I doubt you meant seeing the shadow of Jupiter on the rings. Last evening I was out viewing Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune. My lovely wife came out for a look, too. It was finally a nice clear sky with no smoke and haze.

    Like

    1. 😖 Whoops, thanks for pointing it out – I’ve edited that blooper!

      Glad you got a good viewing opportunity without the smoke. Those fires are a worry.

      Like

  2. These are great! I’m impressed that I can see the slight separation between rings so clearly in the cropped image, and I love how the one showcasing the satellites makes Saturn look like its own little star.

    Like

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