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Photographing Saturn with Dobsonian

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#1 Gschnettler


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 04:11 PM

I have a 6” manual dob and I’m getting a 12” goto dob with tracking.  I wasn’t planning on using either for astrophotography, but now I think maybe I could use the 12” with one of those ZWO video cameras to get photos of the moon and planets.


I am really confused about the whole process.  Seems like it’s very difficult, but some people get good photos of Saturn with tiny 2 megapixel cameras by taking hundreds or thousands of photos and stacking them.  Sometimes the photos are color, but then they recommend black and white cameras.  I suppose maybe you use a color wheel and take 100 photos with each color and then combine?


I tried to find a good tutorial online to give it a try but couldn’t find much that explained the details on how to do it.  Are there any good threads on Cloudy Nights you could refer me to?  Do most people just learn by trial and error?

#2 rkinnett


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 04:35 PM

Here's a good overview:


#3 Tulloch


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Posted 16 September 2020 - 04:42 PM

Also, these tutorial videos are excellent.



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#4 RedLionNJ



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Posted 16 September 2020 - 05:20 PM

Seems your initial information is quite a bit off.


You don't need megapixels. With a 12" scope, you need less than 100k pixels to image Saturn at the maximum resolution attainable.


A one-shot color cam can be nearly as good as a mono cam with color filters.  There are a few factors which determine image quality - whether you have OSC or mono is not near the top of this list.


From Ohio, three of your challenges will be transparency (this wildfire smoke is playing havoc all across the country), seeing (maybe you'll get lucky) and elevation - you'll be needing an ADC as Saturn & Jupiter are really low in the sky.


A general rule of thumb is that Saturn's rings should cover about as many pixels as your scope aperture has mm.  So for a 300mm scope, about 300 pixels across for the rings is the optimum image size. It's up to you to devise a system of amplification to get your effective focal length long enough to achieve that, without going too far over.


Good luck!

#5 pastorgalactico


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Posted 17 September 2020 - 02:44 PM


This can be achieved with a motorized dobsom.

Edited by pastorgalactico, 17 September 2020 - 02:47 PM.

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