Saturn and Five Moons

June 16, 2009


Photographer: John Chumack, Galactic Images
Summary Author: John Chumack  Jim Foster

The handsome photo above shows a view of Saturn and five of its, at last count, 53 named moons. It was observed on May 14, 2009 from Yellow Springs, Ohio. Though the viewing was far from perfect, it was sufficient to easily detect the Solar System’s second biggest planet and second biggest moon (Titan), plus a few dimmer moons. Aqua colored Saturn now shines with a magnitude of 1.0 and is currently in the southwest at dusk, sinking lower in the west as the evening advances. Look for it in the constellation of Leo the Lion.  To take this picture, I attached my fire-wire video camera and filter wheel to Ron Whitehead’s C-11 Telescope. Since Saturn's rings were quite thin last month, very little of their reflected light was coming into the camera, so I had to turn the gain up a bit in order to capture more signal and to better define the nearby moons. The negative image may be of help in seeing the moons, especially Hyperion at magnitude 14.19. John Chumack and Ron Whitehead are both long time members of The Miami Valley Astronomical Society (Dayton, Ohio).

Photo details: Planetary Image assembly - Saturn LRGB 05-14-09; Saturn DMK 21F04 Fire-wire Camera; Optec LRGB 50 mm filters; Prime Focus C-11 telescope, captured as 1-2 minute AVI files; 30 to 60 frames per second; 750/1400 frames per channel stacked in Registax 5, deconvolution in Maxim DL; final balance in Adobe.