Photographing Saturn & Jupiter

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enfable | 00:27 Mon 21st Dec 2020 | Technology
12 Answers
Hi all, I’ve bought myself a new camera for Christmas and it’s my first step away from a point and shot.
As Saturn & Jupiter are aligning I thought I’d give it its first test. Would anyone be able to tell me what they think would be the best settings for this?
My new camera a Canon EOS M100 and I have the 15-45mm & 55-200mm lenses. I also had a small 13.5cm tripod.
Any other settings I should consider for capturing the stars would also be appreciated but my mine focus (pardon the pun) will be on the planets.
Thank you.


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Though this has been widely hyped as a major event, the truth is it will be a bit of a damp squib in the UK.

You will only be able to see these planets align on Monday after sunset (approx 4pm). But the planets themselves set below the horizon at 4.45ish. As they are very low on the horizon, a building, a tree or leprechaun in a top hat will stop you seeing it.

And the forecast is rainy and overcast tomorrow evening. If you do manage a nice shot, please post ithere.

Going by the weather we are forecast today, there will be more chance of seeing Noah and his ark.
To see the planets align, look above the southwestern horizon on 21 December after sunset, at around 4pm. The planets will only be visible for about an hour before they set in the west, so remember to look as soon as darkness falls. If you miss the conjunction, don’t worry, although the planets get closest on 21 December, you’ll have a great view of the pair on any evening in December, looking southwest after sunset.
We should have clear skies on Xmas Eve in the UK and there may be a heavy frost, possibly your best opportunity, good luck!

If you look directly South there's a chance you will see some angry French fisherman!
Forget it. A 200mm lens is nowhere near long enough to get a useful image of such small objects. On top of that the length of exposure you'll need to use, even if you set a high ISO, will result in a stripe rather than a circle for the images. Even the moon can be a problem for "ordinary" cameras - try that first.
Incidentally, the pair were visible from Reading yesterday evening. Jupiter is very obvious, saturn is very close but also very faint.
Use remote or delayed shutter to minimise camera shake.
Question Author
No luck due to the weather but will try again when it’s not overcast.

I have decided to use the following settings and see how they work.
ISO 800, f22, 1/5 I’m using Manuel focus with the 200mm lens. The M100 doesn’t have an infinity setting in it, it uses ‘focus by wire’ instead, so I intend using the moon to determine the best setting.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to see it another night.
There is no point using f22 because you don't need any depth of field. Using f22 will mean you have to use a slow shutter speed which will increase the blur due to the rotation of the earth. Use maximum aperture which will allow you to use a faster shutter speed. You might even try using higher ISO ratings to allow you to shorten the shutter speed but remember that the higher the ISO rating the poorer quality the image will be.
This live feed is good.
You must have your camera on a tripod or jammed against something firm.
Set the focus at infinity (autofocus is unlikely to work)
Use the 200mm setting on your zoom lens, this will give a magnification of about six times (DSLR camera?)
Set the aperture to around f8 (small I know)
Take dozens of shots with a range of shutter speeds (try 1 second and shorter)
Jupiter and Saturn are so low in the sky that their images appear to "boil" when viewed through a telescope.
Tomorrow evening looks promising.
Karolina is correct in stating that the best performance of a lens is at f8 but for photographing moving objects you need to use as fast a shutter speed as you can get away with; the planets are moving across the sky because the earth is rotating about its axis.
Back-of-envelope calculation:
earth rotates 360deg in 24 hours = approx 15 deg/hour = 15 seconds of arc /second.
Angular diameter of jupiter varies between 30 and 46 seconds of arc depending how far away from the earth it is.
If it's currently 30 seconds of arc then in 1 second it will move across the sky by half its angular diameter. In other words a 1 sec exposure will have a noticeable blur on it.
Question Author
Thanks for the advise so far.
I will try tomorrow and start with the following settings, ISO 1250, f8, 1/4 and will be using a tripod.
I will try adjust the ISO (smaller) and shutter speeds (faster) if possible.
It’s a mirror less camera not a DSLR so doesn’t have an infinity setting, I read that manually focusing on the moon should equate to infinity. So will try that as well as turning the lens all the way to 200mm.
I guess it’s a case of trial and error, if the weathers on my side that is.

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