Favorite Jupiter, Mars and Moon-Saturn conjunction 10 June 2014

On this day occultation of Saturn by  the Moon could be observed from large area of South Africa; Johannesburg wasn’t within the area of visibility, but conjunction was just as spectacular and there was enough time to use various techniques and equipment for imaging as Saturn appeared to be gliding past the Moon. But in fact it was the other way around- at the time of this event Saturn appeared to be stationary relatively to background stars, moving only 3′ in 24 hours, while the Moon is moving 3′ in approximately  7.5 minutes relatively to background stars as seen from Earth.

Моон-САТУРН цWhile preparing the equipment for imaging, I’ve decided to take few trial images of planets, currently visible during daylight. Saturn was an easy target to find next to the Moon; Jupiter was in the Western region of the sky , lit by the sunlight. Nevertheless, equatorial belt system as well as  three bright moons of the planet were captured in the image.


20140610_Mars_O_ToumilovitchMars was positioned high in the sky, less effected by the earth’s atmosphere and it appeared much brighter than the sky. To capture planet’s surface features, the exposure had to be adjusted accordingly; the sky in the final image appears to be much darker. Saturn and Jupiter images were acquired at prime focus of 8″f/10 telescope, while Mars image is enlarged through 2x Barlow lens. Only 89.77% of the planet’s surface is lit by the Sun.



As Moon was rising, the sky became darker and Saturn appeared to unaided eye as a tiny star, just as it is reproduced in this wide-field image.




The 80 mm ONYX EDF refractor  showed a stunning view of the Moon with hundreds eye-catching features and Saturn with the ring system resolved.




An 8″  telescope, working at f/10 with medium format DSLR doesn’t fit the whole disc of the Moon, but does produce the features of planets. This is a single exposure, cropped and adjusted for best colour and contrast.





Finally, a close-up image, produced from a video, resembles majestic view through an 8″ f/10 telescope with 6 mm eyepiece.

This image is a result of stacking of 320 frames in Registax and adjusted for contrast and colour. Acquired with EOS-550D camera and 8″ telescope at f/10.