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by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

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Saturn - actual pixels collected

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29th Mar 2007, 17:44  

seaneeboy says:

Christ! How did you do that?!

Nicely done feller :)

29th Mar 2007, 17:53

mat says:

awe. some. now take five hundred pictures and stack 'em to get rid of the noise.. :)

29th Mar 2007, 18:06

goode says:

very cool! See, it's not THAT far away is it! :)

29th Mar 2007, 18:38

mat says:

yeah, only a 1.3 billion kilometres (or 73 light minutes)... a mere trifle. :)

29th Mar 2007, 18:54

Probably I should start with something larger across than a 5" telescope. But failing that, yeah, a couple thousand pictures stacked, some cheap speckle interferometry via Photoshop, oh, and maybe something with a mount for the camera so I don't have to hold it at the eyepiece and a motor so I don't have to keep chasing Saturn down every five seconds... :)


29th Mar 2007, 20:44

taniwha says:

wow it even kinda looks like Saturn

29th Mar 2007, 20:49

If you squint.


29th Mar 2007, 20:53

Rich says:

Nah, that's pretty good going, that is. Moblog needs more space shots.

29th Mar 2007, 21:41

Dhamaka says:

that's so cool!

29th Mar 2007, 21:53

Euphro says:

Wow, awesome! You really deserve some congratulations for these shots :)

29th Mar 2007, 22:25

hildegard says:

Hats off.

29th Mar 2007, 23:10

...which brings me the dubious honor of having the grainiest, blurriest, most indistinct shot ever to get highlighted. :)

Admittedly, those poor photons had quite a distance to travel and had to put up with the optics in what's apparently a truly crappy scope, at least mechanically speaking. But the scope was hand-focused and the camera was hand-steadied, so I'll take it.


29th Mar 2007, 23:17

Rich says:

I came back to make a very similar comment, Mr X. An hour too late! But nonetheless, I don't think anyone'll be taking a photo of anything further away from the camera for quite some time.

We need a moblogger working at the Large Hadron Collider when that gets switched on. If you can't get further you might as well go smaller.

30th Mar 2007, 00:42

seaneeboy says:

To be fair, it's probably also the furthest thing ever away to get moblogged, let alone highlighted, so you have to be chuffed, it's the law :)

30th Mar 2007, 00:57

wraith2 says:

cool pic, I did one of the last eclipse but you could imagine the results.anywho did you use a dslr together with the scope ? I ve heard that the digital rebel is the best camera for astrography but it cost a tidy bundle, still I think you did a great job on saturn and also a well deserved highlight.

30th Mar 2007, 01:14

Sprocket says:


30th Mar 2007, 06:16

wow rings and all!!!

30th Mar 2007, 12:42

This shot was taken with a $120 6 Megapixel Kodak C633 consumer-grade POS set on infinite focus and auto-exposure mode. The pixels shown in the lower shot are just cropped in to 516 x 384, the maximum size ever displayed here on Moblog. The top shot has had the levels adjusted in Photoshop, dropping the white point to 80 out of 255, leaving the black point and midpoint to fend for themselves. A less than 30-second operation.

Amazon.com says the Meade 5" scope involved is worth $1000 US, but the amateur astronomy buffs at large tend to disagree. The guy running the scope (in the middle of Downtown Atlanta) seems to think a $250 second-hand Orion scope would have worked just as well.

There was no mount for the camera, no motor or computer controls being used for the scope, and viewing conditions were such that pretty much nothing in the sky was visible except for airplanes, the waxing gibbous moon (about 5' away), and maybe Sirius. And whatever that was that zipped across the face of the moon right before I snapped that picture (also posted in this blog).

There's so much pollen in the air it's a wonder these shots aren't visibly tinged green.


30th Mar 2007, 13:41

Oh, and if anyone wants to send me to the opening of the LHC (Rich) I'll gladly stick my camera in the beam and hit the button. :)


30th Mar 2007, 13:43

Rich says:

I'll call in a few favours...

30th Mar 2007, 13:50

*%$@&#^$! I need a press pass and an expense account.

Is anyone out there hiring nosy bile-filled busybodies with more curiosity than sense?


30th Mar 2007, 14:06

mat says:

The Meade cats are pretty good as an off-the-shelf thing, but will be utterly blown away by a similar diameter Orion (well, that's British bespoke engineering vs US mass production for you :). Thing is: $1000 (or $500 second-hand) will get you a Meade scope on a GOTO mount with eyepieces, tripod, wedge and everything else you need. A $250 pre-owned Orion tube is optically a lot better, but by the time you've got it mounted and (ideally) motor tracking if not GOTO, tripodded and eyepieced and so on, $1000 is going to be looking like chump change.

Astronomy is SO expensive. Although secondhand gear is a good investment - you can buy 20+ year-old pro-grade optics for next to nothing these days, and it's still just as good for looking at the sky with (it's just today's pro-gear is better)

Wraith - the Canon cameras are what most astrophotographers use, yes. It's not cos they are the best (Nikon ccds are more sensitive and perform demonstrably better for noise in low light/high iso), it's 'cos they're easier to remote control, and most of the software out there supports them. And the 350D upwards all have mirror locks on (which is only an issue if your mount sucks). You'll find the non-DSLR camera of choice for the astronomy crowd is a Nikon Coolpix (or a Philips webcam with it's IR filter ripped off). To be honest, most of the time the telescope optics are the weak link in image quality.

31st Mar 2007, 13:26

The charm of seeing for yourself is undeniable, but man, I need to get my car moving again (or find a replacement) before I start thinking about setting up my own private observatory in the middle of one of the smoggiest cities on earth.

I'm way more interested in investing in macro shooting, since it's guaranteed that I'll be shooting compositions no one has ever seen before.

The Kodak C633 has a macro range of about 6", which sure as heck beats the cam on my Nokia 6101, but ...

I want something that can capture everything I can see and then, every now and then, show me something I would have missed.


31st Mar 2007, 17:07

mat says:

You can go a long way just holding a magnifying lens directly in front of the camera, to be honest. My macro adaptors are just lens-mounted magnifiers, and I can easily get shots like this. If I'd clamped and lit that subject properly, rather than just hoping it would stay still, I could have gone a lot closer. Those photos are uncropped off my D50 using a 50mm prime lens.

Kodak might do a screw-on adaptor for the C633, it's worth a look at least. I know Nikon CoolPix and some Sony cameras can take wide/macro adaptors.

31st Mar 2007, 17:58

No such luck on there be any attachments for the Kodak C633... At least, not without a little bit of engineering. Anything I hold in front of it is gonna contribute just a little bit of glare unless I build a tube to keep the light out, but that's feasible. I've already discovered that holding up a pair of binoculars to the lens can increase the zoom, but DAMN that takes steady hands....


It's eventually just going to take more money.


31st Mar 2007, 18:27

mat says:

Engineering is always fun though. Might be worth looking for something generic - if there's room to glue a steel ring around the lens, then someone has probably made an wide/macro adaptor that will fit, or at least fit enough. If I were in your situation, I'd head to my nearest photography store (preferably run by some old guy who's been accumulating stuff for at least 30 years) and ask if they have anything that could help.

Optics of any decent standard always involves cash, more's the pity.

31st Mar 2007, 18:50

jake45x says:

wowww thats cool

5th Nov 2008, 16:43