Saturn

Saturn

by Kenneth Crawford and Michael A. Mayda

Saturn and its rings are a spectacular sight through even a small telescope, and have probably turned more people into lifelong stargazers than anything else in the sky. With a low-power eyepiece, the ringed planet sometimes looks almost as razor-sharp, but at higher powers the turbulence of Earth's atmosphere may blur the view—as evidenced in this shot, taken with an HDTV video camera through a large backyard telescope. In the film we see this video in real time, but video artists also make still photos by combing through thousands of frames—there are computer program that automate this process—to pick the clearest ones and then combine them into a composite image.