Saturn unprocessed

Saturn unprocessed image

Planet Imaging Processing & Astro Artistry

Saturn processed

Saturn processed image

The challenge in imaging the planets is the long focal lengths needed for good image details and the affects of seeing. Fast exposure times help to reduce some to the affects of seeing. But, fast exposures result in dim and noisy images as seen in the above single unprocessed image of Saturn. Imaging processing improves signal to noise by stacking (combining) multiple good images.

The above two Saturn images show a single uncalibrated image and the result of combining and processing 22 images into one image. These images are a small 160 x 90 sub frame of the complete 2048 x 1536 Nikion 990 image.

Astro artistry is the personal preference of processing and presenting the image. Images can be processed for maximum details or processed for a pleasing image. For example, the above Saturn image the South Pole is oriented up because it looks better to me.

This is a typical imaging processing procedure I have been using on planet Nikon 990 images as of Feburary 2003.

Software Used

Setup directories and sort files

Crop of files and approximately position the planet in the same spot on the image

Best and worst Saturn images

Align, sort and stack images

Stacked Saturn images

Sharpen Image