Photographing Saturn Jupiter Conjunction

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by tim_eastman, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. I am trying to decide which setup might be better for photographing the Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter on Dec. 21st. I have a D750 and choice of either 300 mm F4 Nikon or 80-400 mm and 1.4 and 1.7 teleconverters. I can also use a Celestron Maksutov telescope approx 1000mm with the converter for Nikon mount.
  2. With any of these choices, Jupiter will be pretty small in the FOV. The Nikon 300/4 will probably have the best resolution than the 80-400 zoom. The Maksutov has the longest focal length, but is not ideal for large, bright objects like Jupiter. In any case you will see the 4 Galilean moons and an indistinct view of Saturn's rings (like a small ball with ears). Heck, use them all. The planets are not flying across the sky. They're brighter than you think, and you will have to adjust the exposure downward if you want to see any detals in Jupiter. You might need two exposures - one for the planet and the other for the moons, and possibly Saturn. Then stack the images. Use a non-contact shutter release, or a self-timer at 10 seconds or more.

    I used a Sony 200-600/4.5-5.6 at 1/60, f/4.5 @Iso 25600, and could barely see bands in Jupiter. Focus is critical, so you will need to use live view (if you have it). You don't need a motorized mount for exposure, but at 300+ mm focal length, the obects move visibly in the FOV. The downside of tracking is less resistance to vibration. I use a fluid head for ease of locating the subject (without spring back), and a red-dot laser finder.

    Full Frame, taken with a 4" Maksutov f/13 (1300 mm) 6/10/19
    Glenn McCreery likes this.
  3. moon saturn jupiter 2.jpg

    For reference, here are the moon, Saturn, and Jupiter (in that order) last month, on 11-19-20, as photographed with my Canon 5D IV using a Canon 100-400mm lens at 100mm. The clouds were moving in and out (mostly in), but I managed to get a few decent shots at 1/10s, f:4.5, ISO 3200.

    I do not hold much hope of seeing the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction on Dec. 21, since the local forecast is for snow and more snow through at least Dec. 22. If this were a different season and the skies were clear, I would set up my 8" Meade SCT, with it's 2,000mm focal length, for viewing and photography while tracking. But, even that focal length is not a big magnification jump over Ed's Maksutov.
    Supriyo and luis triguez like this.

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