bobbycaputo: News Helicopter Camera Snaps Photo of Saturn While…


News Helicopter Camera Snaps Photo of Saturn While in the Air

If you’ve ever watched the evening news on television, you’ve probably seen photos and video captured by the powerful cameras on the station’s helicopter. Here’s something interesting: on a clear night, the long reach of the helicopter’s camera can actually snap a clear photograph of the planet Saturn!

The photograph above was captured by Chopper 6, the news helicopter operated by Philadelphia’s 6ABC Action News.

Earth and Saturn are separated by roughly 746 million miles, or about eight times the distance between Earth and the Sun. It’s the most distant planet in our solar system that’s obviously visible to the naked eye, though to see the rings of the planet you’ll need to use a powerful telephoto lens on your camera, or a telescope for your eye… or a gyro-stabilized chopper camera.

The clarity of Chopper 6′s photo shows how effective the stabilization system on the chopper’s camera is (the photo was shot while the helicopter was flying around).

This is one of the really fun surprises that awaits new users of an amateur astronomical telescope. Some things in the sky don’t look very impressive, maybe, compared to the long-exposure images that a new visual observer might be unconsciously expecting.

But a telescopic view of Saturn through even a modest instrument is one of those things that can’t help but be impressive, as long as the ring plane is angled enough.

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