Saturn Movie 2001

A movie, compressing half of a Saturn day into about 5 seconds, was made to show the moons orbiting Saturn. For this series, only images through a clear (IR-blocked) filter were taken. The seeing was only moderate, so a total of 620 images, taken about every 30 seconds, were required to get a good movie. From this long list, the best image out of every 10 was manually selected. The movie starts at 6:12 pm PST on January 20, 2001, and the 60th frame was taken at 11:19 pm as the planet was disappearing behind the neighbor's house. This 5 hour 7 minute series is almost exactly one-half of Saturn's rotational period of 10 hour 39 minutes.

This single frame near the start of the movie labels the moons initial positions. The brightest three moons are always easy to follow, but Mimas was drawn in by hand here to better show its position. If you can't see it move under Saturn in the movie, you might have to adjust your monitor - its difficult to follow! Note that Mimas is only magnitude 12.7 and very close to Saturn, so processing the images to show it was a challenge. The frames use MaxIm DL's DDP (digital development processing) to stretch the dim moons without saturating the planet. An added benefit of this processing is the clarity of the inner C ring.

Saturn annotated

Saturn Movie

If the moons are not orbiting Saturn in the second frame, check your browser settings!

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