Astrophotography by David Gares


Solar System
Open Clusters
Globular Clusters
Double Stars
Image Index
Observing Tools
Imaging Tips
My Equipment
The planet Saturn is an utterly amazing sight in any telescope, large or small.  You'll never forget your first view of Saturn's rings.  The 6th planet in our solar system is a gas giant with a thick atmosphere of hydrogen, helium, and traces of water, methane and ammonia.  Sources disagree on the ring thickness (between 30 feet and 12 miles).  The rings span 185,00 miles in diameter and are composed of ice, dirt and rocks of unknown size.  Most telescopes will show a clear view of the Cassini division, the dark black 3000-mile gap between the outer "A" ring and the brighter "B" ring.  The division is especially clear on nights of good "seeing", when the stars don't twinkle.  Every 15 years the planet's tilt changes our view of the rings from face-on to edge-on.  The rings will seem to disappear next in 2009.
North is up in the view above.

 Planet Details:  
 Type:  Gas Giant Planet
 Diameter:  75,000 miles
 Orbit Radius: 888 million miles
 Mass:  95 x Earth

 Image Details:
 Date: Dec. 27, 2004
 Time: 1:05 a.m. CST
 Site: Harahan, LA
 Conditions: 7/10 Seeing, Full Moon
 Telescope: 10" f/10 Meade LX200
 Projection: TeleVue 2.5x (f/25.8)
 Camera: Philips ToUcam Pro II
 Filter: Astronomik IR Blocking

 Capture Speed: 10, 20, 30 fps

 Frames: 621 of 3025, 1790 of 6000,
             6742 of 12687
 Processing: RegiStax 2, AstroArt 3.0
 Dubbing: VirtualDub 1.5.10
 Image Capture: Philips VRecord