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Seeing Everything Saturn has to Offer

Observing Planet Equipment
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#1 kas20amc02


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Posted 15 September 2021 - 09:36 AM

Hello everyone.  I have been watching Saturn for a month or two pretty regularly. I want to be able to see more of the features; currently I can easily see A ring, B ring, Cassini and the NEB.  I have seen the brighter moons.  I think I have sporadically seen the C ring and Encke with my Dob but both are iffy and only sporadically seen over 30-60 minutes.  I have tried #8, #15 and 82A as well as neutral density filters.  #8 showed me Cassini better but I can't see the SEB to save my life.  It looks best without a filter, at least given my options.  


There are numerous more features I would like to observe, listed below.  Are these unrealistic expectations given my equipment in my signature line?  My next upgrade is a high power eyepiece, probably a 6 mm TV Delos.  I have also thought about the Baader contrast booster filter.  Would any other equipment help?  My Dob is well collimated and flocked.  Tracking is as good as possible with a homemade counterweight and clean bearings.  


I would appreciate any advice.




Squared appearance (10:11)
B ring: brightest
A ring: 2nd brightest; outer
C ring: inner; pale; dark
Cassini division
Encke Division
Bicolored phenomenon
Terby Spot: white ellipse in B ring
Equatorial zone
S. Polar Region
N. Polar Region
Equatorial zone
White ovals near equator
Festoons near equator

#2 Mike G.

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 10:00 AM

a challenging list for sure, and requiring excellent conditions.  what you may or may not be able to resolve in your scope I can't answer but I can state that I have both the Baader Contrast Booster and the Baader M&SG filter - they have very similar spectral transmission curves FWIW.  I do use them on Jupiter regularly, but find that Saturn reveals more detail with no filter, when conditions support high magnification.  so if you are looking to purchase the filter for Saturn exclusively, I would say put your money somewhere else.  But either filter will add contrast to images of Jupiter (along with the 82A), should you choose to add Jove to your observing list.

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#3 kas20amc02


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Posted 15 September 2021 - 01:24 PM

Thanks Mike. 


Jupiter is on my list as well.  I may make another post for optimizing Jupiter but am glad you say the Baader filter helps.  I think it is going to end up in my stocking this Christmas!  ;)

#4 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 10:02 PM

I've never seen some of those features in apertures larger than 10 inches and at magnifications higher than 200x, which is what I assume a 6mm Delos will produce, in your telescope, but one never knows.

#5 Special Ed

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 08:06 PM



There are some features on your list that can be seen with your 10" dob--others probably not (at least not at this time).  For instance, you won't be able to see the SEB because it is obscured by the C Ring and blocked by the rings at their current tilt angle.  The Equatorial Zone is obvious--it is the bright region between the rings and the NEB.


Seeing the C Ring is helped by the current ring tilt--I've had good luck with a W11 filter but also seen it with the unfiltered view--good seeing and transparency helps.


The Encke Division is probably not doable with your scope but the Encke minima is.  It's a contrast feature that is broader than the ED and more in the middle of the A Ring at the ansae.  The minima is often mistaken for the division but the division is much closer to the outer edge of the A Ring.


The other belts you mention are low contrast but seeable with your scope under good conditions.  Filters can help.  The North Polar Region is a yes--but don't expect to see the hexagon visually.


The Terby white spot is transient--if it even exists.


There is no detail currently visual in the southern hemisphere, but look for the blue color--it has been out of the Sun for several years.


I've never heard of festoons on Saturn.  There are storms but they have to be pretty big to be detected visually.


You can see all the moons you listed--and Enceladus--if you know where to look and conditions allow.


Good luck with your future observations.

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#6 tturtle


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Posted 30 September 2021 - 10:30 AM

One thing you don’t mention is your position at the eyepiece and whether it allows sustained viewing. I find that teasing out the subtle details of planets really requires the ability to comfortably hold your eye at the eyepiece over many minutes without back or neck strain, something I personally find difficult with a dobsonian. It sounds like you don’t currently have an issue with this but you might consider something along the lines of a comfortable stool. We don’t tend to think of chairs as astronomy equipment but they can be pretty important!

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#7 t.r.


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Posted 30 September 2021 - 11:26 AM

Binoviewing can aid in making detail pop. Terby white spot…rare if ever, never saw one. I did catch the Dragon storm white spot eruption as did everyone. Challenging list to be sure…

#8 kas20amc02


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Posted 05 October 2021 - 05:42 PM

I don't have any neck problems and I am usually comfortable at the EP when using my Dob or refractor.  When I look down toward the horizon with my Dob it is not comfortable (I am 6'4''), but the views through that much atmosphere are limiting.  I usually spend about 10 minutes when I look at a planet.  If I change out filters, maybe 20.  


I do not have a binoviewer.  Would love to have one but the costs of the viewer and pairs of EPs is limiting for me.  


Thanks for the tips,


#9 Cpk133


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Posted 05 October 2021 - 07:38 PM

The excellent seeing filter is the best (:-)  A tracking mount that allows extended comfortable viewing at the center of the field of view (EQ platform) is really helpful.

#10 bikerdib



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Posted 06 October 2021 - 07:24 AM

I will say that even with the equipment I have, I have never had atmospheric conditions good enough to clearly see the Encke gap.  The Encke minimum, sure; I see that pretty regularly but never the actual gap.  Lots of people say they have seen the gap but in fact they are mistaking the minimum for the actual gap.

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