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Saturn f21 05/07/13 Excellent Seeing

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#1 sfugardi

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 11:36 AM

That's not a misprint. I was treated to the best seeing conditions of the year, I'd call it 4.5/5! I collimated off Arcturus this time, a bit higher in the sky vs Spica in the 0.5-0.55 range with the occasion drop into the 0.4's as measured by Metaguide. I took 7 avi runs over the course of 90min with the first 5 being the best. Here is a 5-frame R only animation. Note that Tethys is rotating around from 7:30. You know the data is excellent when you capture a moon without overexposing. After the seeing dropped off, I managed to dig up my vintage 40yr old Edmond Scientific 5mm ortho eyepiece and attached a baader high contrast filter for a whopping 560x! Now except for the lousy 10% field of view, Saturn looked excellent. Not nearly with quality of the 16" + ethos, but very acceptable to me. 7mm may have been ideal if I owned one. Cassini ring clean throughout, globe banding and color were good, and a hint of darkness was noticed at the north cap. There's nothing like catching 2hrs of sleep before work... I'll post the RGBs later.

Regards,
Steve

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#2 GeorgeInDallas

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 11:58 AM

Steve,

Spectacular! Amazing details in the rotating cloud bands! Congratulations! I look forward to seeing the RGBs.

George

#3 R Botero

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 12:36 PM

Excellent shot Steve! Can't wait for the coloured version! :)
Thanks for sharing.
Roberto

#4 lcd1080

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 02:24 PM

Super quality Steve, signs of the Encke Gap are clear to see! You mentioned having seen a hint of darkness at the North cap; I'm assuming that means you didn't see the vertices of the hexagon? Did you see the hexagon vertices in the 16 inch SCT when you were able to look through its eyepiece? Just 2 hours of sleep, you must be exhausted!

Pete

#5 martus

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:12 PM

Steve wonderful !

Regards,
martus

#6 Mitchell Duke

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:22 PM

Wow, send that seeing our way :)

#7 Sunspot

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:32 PM

Fabulous in every way!

#8 Mitchell Duke

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 04:36 PM

Wow :bigshock:

#9 Kokatha man

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 05:42 PM

Bring on the rgb's Steve..! :waytogo: :waytogo:

#10 SeptemberEquinox

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 07:32 PM

Oh. Em. Ji

#11 Kecktastic

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:46 PM

Well...all good things come to those that wait, what ripper data Steve, I can feel your enthusiasm. What great results.

Cheers
Trevor

#12 Olorin

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:42 AM

Fantastic!!

#13 ToxMan

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:47 AM

Wow! Congrats on a great catch! Yes, can't wait to see RGBs.

#14 mitovka

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:09 AM

WOW! Tons of details!

#15 sfugardi

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:07 AM

Guys, thanks for the kind words! Let me start with the collimation data. With Spica being a bit low on the horizon, I opted for Arcturus this time still near Saturn but higher in the sky to avoid atmospheric disturbance. I used Metaguide with the Flea3 and a R filter at f40 for 20fps. 30fps made the red dot jump around too much and thought since B was being captured at 20, it was ok. I figure an f40 collimation will give plenty of margin for an f20-25 image. A warning here, that if you do not have a dewheater your corrector plate will fog up in minutes after pointing the scope upward. My results were very good generally low 0.5 arcsecs. Knowing my best had been 0.49 under a perfect night with Mars a couple years back, I can quantify the conditions as excellent for sure. After 30min of tweaking, it was as good as I could get it. Attached is the MG screen shot. More to come

Regards,
Steve

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#16 sfugardi

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:32 AM

I collected 7 RGB avis at 36/30/20 fps, 3'x3'x5' times, with histograms running 45-55% right around peak transit. Actual f-ratio is f22 taking an average of the 5 R's in FireCapture. I tried to dynamically tweak the focus approx +1 count/min to compensate for the chilling of the night air. I was constantly tweaking the dewheater setting to keep the boundary layer to +/- 0.1degC vs the mirror back. Using AS2! and taking the best 5 of 7 avi runs (which were the first ones), I stacked 2800 frames each (picked randomly since I was starting a new folder and 3000 was already taken). Applied Reg6 gaussian sharpen/noise reduction to each, prealigned in Images Plus then derotated in WinJupos. I took derotated R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 and combined as RRRRR, and repeated for G, B. Images slightly sharpened and stretched from 230 in Reg6 then prealigned again in Images Plus. RRRRR, GGGGG, BBBBB files then derotated back in WinJupos as RGBx5 using a grand total of 42,000 frames! A color balance, stretch, and slight sharpening was done in Reg6. Background cleaned up in PS, and the Tethys moon was "borrowed" from my recent Meade 16" IR image and resized since the RGB moon was smeared. There was no LR deconvolutions applied - only Reg6 sharpening. Color and details are very rich. The shadow detail under the front ring on either side is interesting and drops off on either side of the globe edge. In total, this represent 55min of derotated data which took hours to process. Hands down my best image.

Regards,
Steve

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#17 sfugardi

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:37 AM

Here's the map projection of the 42,000 frame derotated stack from above image with some additional enhancement. Well over 12 rings can be seen here. Please notice that yellow dot in the middle of the dark hex and a light ring around it. I am declaring this to be the hurricane and not an image artifact.

Regards,
Steve

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#18 RedLionNJ

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:10 PM

Very comprehensive write-up and a BEAUTIFUL RGB image. Not exactly the kind of thing you expect to knock out every clear night...

Best,

Grant

#19 HANTO

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:40 PM

Wow, great! Congrats, Steve!

Regards
Torsten

#20 woolbrig

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:55 PM

That looks great!

#21 R Botero

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:59 PM

Good find! Excellent coloured version as well. Have you found any updates on the storm online?

Roberto

#22 AstroDan2015

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:19 PM

Steve, really great work!!! :jump:

#23 lcd1080

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:54 PM

Wow nearly an hour of data and processing one might expect to see from a professional observatory, that was a lot work but the results more than justify the effort. Not only do I see the yellow dot corresponding to the polar hurricane in the polar projection but I also see it in the RGB image if I crank the brightness and contrast up on my monitor. Just a great image on so many levels Steve.

Pete

#24 sfugardi

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 03:16 PM

Grant, Torsten, Joe, Thanks! It was really a night to remember. I felt like I won the lottery catching Saturn near opposition and at transit with these rare conditions. I plan to go back tonight and reprocess the first 3 avis & then the last 3 separately just in case there is "too" much data buried in this image.

Regards,
Steve

#25 BKBrown

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:47 PM

That's some terrific work there Steve, and the result is well worth it. I really like the color rendition, I'm having a lot of challenges getting it right with my C11...

Clear Skies,
Brian :waytogo:






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