Saturn at Opposition 2023 – Narrowing Rings

Saturn at Opposition 2023 – Narrowing Rings

August 27th, 2023, 12:34 a.m. local time

We are now almost three years past the recent Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and the two giants are significantly distanced from each other in the sky. Slow Saturn will maintain its almost annual conjunction calendar while Jupiter “races” a few months ahead. So here we have Saturn and my first opposition photographing opportunity of 2023.

I could not have asked for a better mid-Summer night to observe and photograph Saturn at its opposition. The only real challenge was staying up late enough and then putting away all of my equipment afterward. I used my MacBook attached to my Canon DSLR for focusing, as I began to last year. I used the camera’s tiny LCD for focusing the first set of videos, but then leveraged the much-easier-to-see laptop screen for two subsequent refocuses. The image attached to this post is from the latter sets.

This year, because Saturn was nearly at its peak in the sky at the time of my photographing, and the Midnight weather so nice, I got adventurous and strung together eight videos in a sequence instead of my usual three to four. In truth, I don’t know if it made any difference to the final result, as the limitations of my camera’s sensor are likely more of a ceiling on quality than technique.

Worth noting is that the rings appear narrower this year, as they have done year over year. Comparing to some of my earlier Saturn photography shows the difference. Here is opposition 2021, two years ago, above this year’s 2023:

Saturn in 2021
Saturn in 2023

Summary of my equipment, settings, and software used:

  • Telescope: Dobsonian reflector 254mm / 10″ (homemade)
  • Camera: Canon EOS Rebel SL3
  • Barlow: TeleVue Powermate x5 1.25″
  • Filter: Baader Neodymium 1.25″
  • Canon T ring and adapter
  • Relevant camera settings:
  • ISO 800
  • Exposure: 30
  • HD video at 60fps
  • Created from eight videos of about 30s each, best 60% of frames (via Autostakkert)
  • Software for post-processing:
  • PIPP
  • Autostakkert
  • Registax 6
  • PaintShop Pro for minor touch-ups

Thank you for taking the time to read my article.



I write frequently about astrophotography, technology advice, and my other interests like science fiction. I have over 30 years of experience in computer programming, information technology, and project management.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.