Saturn 12-6-2003 Opposition - First Photos of Saturn

Using 3com WebConnect webcam.

The Saturn opposition of 2003.  Photographs were taken with a 3com WebConnect webcam (at medium resolution) at the prime focus of my f/15 7" LX-50 Meade Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope.  All photos are at f/15 unless otherwise stated.  All of these images were stacked using Registax 2.0.  Wavelets were used to increase the sharpness.  The files so created were then further processed with Corel Photopaint 9 using the unsharp mask, tone curve, hue, guassian blur and contrast.  All of these are eyeballed for best iamge.
12/6/2003 11:34 pm PST Stacked 66 frames


12/6/2003 11:34 pm PST Stacked 165  frames (from same 479 frame video used to produce the photo above.)

Notice that the larger number of stacked frames makes the rings more distinct and the equatorial band more pronounced.  Even though the extra frames added are each of lower quality according to the image Fourier transform, the improved statistics give a better image.

12/6/2003 11:43 pm PST Stacked 197 frames

The focusing was better on this image than the others.  Notice the bands on the face of the planet and the details on the rings.

12/6/2003 11:43 pm PST Stacked 290 frames

Same as above except for the fact that more frames are averaged.  Even adding less quality frames gives a better image.

12/6/2003 11:57 pm PST Stacked 124 frames
Second and third photographs from above have been combined.  The second photo is somewhat blurry but the colors blend nicely while the third photo is sharp but harsh.  Adding the two gives the best of each.
Conditions were hazy all evening.  All photos are with south pole up.