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  • Writer's pictureStephen Strum

What Jupiter and Saturn look like through a 6" Telescope​​

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

I spent a couple of hours during the evening of Friday, June 28, 2019, collecting video data of Jupiter and Saturn using my Canon SL2 DSLR camera with my Celestron C6 telescope, a 6" SCT. These video clips were generally only around a minute long, and longer video clips would result in more video frames to stack, and a higher quality final image. Visually, the images of Jupiter and Saturn were somewhere between the images shown below and the raw video you can watch at the end of this blog.

A collection of images produced from stacking the individual frames within a minute or so of 1080P video from a basic DSLR camera

A Canon SL2 isn't the ideal camera to use for planetary imaging, but can still produce good results. Again, taking longer videos would result in more frames to stack, especially since I was only recording at 30 frames per second. A dedicated astronomy camera used for planetary photography will generally capture video at over 100 frames per second, often much more than that, which increases the number of frames that will have a sharper image as a result of varying seeing conditions.

Larger telescopes will also generally produce better planetary images since a larger aperture telescope will be able to resolve finer details. The tradeoff though is that larger telescopes take longer to reach thermal equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere, are harder to move around, require a larger mount, and of course are more expensive.

Here is a YouTube video showing the raw video I captured to produce the above images. Again, the images of Jupiter and Saturn were a little better visually than what the camera video would suggest, and also somewhat brighter. I captured the video at ISO 400, since I didn't want to blow out any details, but that resulted in a fairly dim video as well.

The bottom line is that a 6" SCT, generally available for less than $500, can produce nice views of the planets and produce images that show a lot of detail, even though they won't rival those taken with a telescope in the 11-14" range.

C6 Telescope Used:

C6 with GoTo mount:

Canon SL2 Camera:

T-Ring adapter to connect camera to telescope:

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