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This Photo of Saturn Was Shot from a Backyard with a Red Filter


Did you know that you can capture clearer photos of planets by using a red filter? Photographer Andrew McCarthy captured this view of Saturn from his backyard in Sacramento by doing just that.

“By putting a red filter over a camera, you can reduce the effects of Rayleigh scattering on an image, giving you crystal clear views of planets,” McCarthy writes.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison the photographer made between the same view captured with blue and red filters “to show how much different the atmosphere treats blue light”:

Saturn shot with a blue filter (left) and shot with a red filter (right).

As with many of his viral photos, McCarthy created the photo by capturing around 10,000 frames through a $1,699 Meade 8″ LX90 ACF telescope. He then stacked the images and sharpened the result.

Here’s a cropped and enhanced version of McCarthy’s red filter Saturn photo:

“You could get a shot like this with a $150 camera and a $200 telescope,” McCarthy says.