Have you ever taken a photo that left you speechless? Maybe you didn’t realize how good a shot you took until you had your film developed (HA! Remember that?) or you saw it on a large computer screen for the first time. I’ve taken my share of pictures that turned out much better than I thought they would. Even better is when someone is making a funny face that wasn’t realized that the time of the shot. But, being left speechless is in a different class entirely.
I took the above picture of Saturn from my Levittown backyard, through my telescope, on a clear July night. Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun in our solar system and is somewhere around 746 million miles away from earth, at its closest. More often than not, Saturn is everybody’s favorite planet to observe. It has a prominent ring system that makes it the jewel of the night sky.
Now, there’s nothing especially flashy about my photo and it’s probably not Sky & Telescope Magazine good. But, it simply took my breath away the first time I stumbled across it while reviewing the dozens of images I got that night. My lack of photography experience coupled with using a Dobsonian telescope that’s not quite designed for astrophotography rendered almost all of my shots useless or blank. I didn’t even realize I got this pic when I did.
But, there it was. Saturn. Just hanging there in the dark. Silently doing its thing millions of miles away. And, out of all that photographic mess on my DSLR’s flash card, I actually got one! I was speechless; less because I got a pretty good shot of a beautiful planet and more due to the gravity of the situation in the picture, pun kinda intended.
The following link I wanted to share is full of awe inspiring images, way more fascinating than my humble little photo of a distant gas giant. They’re truly worth a thousand words. Keep in mind, though, that some could be considered graphic.