Astrophotography

Winter Widefield

Here are a couple from last week. First up, here’s a widefield view of the Milky Way- taken at 18mm on my 18-55 zoom. I did one of these about 4 months ago- it’s nice to catch the ‘next bit’ of the galaxy so to speak. This is an hours worth of 60 second exposures.

With hindsight I think I’d have been better off stopping it down a bit (this was f3) and going for, say, 30 2 minute exposures, as it was a swine to focus and the star shapes at the edges of the frame are more like fans. Still- it’s been nice to work my way around the frame and pick out some familiar objects- here’s an annotated version below:

A bit more successful was this slightly tighter view taken with the 50mm lens on the 15th when Neil came over and was working on his rather splendid Rosette. Again- this was an hours worth of 60 second exposures at f3.5, but the lens made a better job of keeping things sharp(ish).

The plan on this one was to be looking out past the edge of our galaxy at Andromeda (coming to get us!), but I haven’t been able to pick up of a drop off in the star density to pick up the edge of the galaxy. I might try this one again one day from a darker site. I still like this image a little better than the wider one as the objects in it are a bit more distinct- Pacman is really clear, Caroline’s Rose is quite prominent and you can see the dark nebulae of our galaxy.

 

Process of my M42 photo 17/1/2020 by Damian 23/1/2020

The following is the result of Damian’s processing of my M42 data. I wish I had got this result when I processed the image!

Damian’s comment:

“Very quickly took a look at the .tif file you included with those downloads. You have plenty of data in that file – proper flat frames would certainly help…. I’ll reprocess from scratch over the weekend (hopefully). Here is a version though – from your own file. This was a quick 5 minute process, just to see what data is in the file. I’ve made no effort to keep detail in the core, allowed the stars to bloat and added no noise reduction. All I’ve done was to try and neutralise the light pollution gradients and stretched…. Gave it a bit of colour to keep you happy for now!”

Andy

Damian’s version of my photo:

Compare above with my version:

The most obvious thing to me is that I have clipped the black.

Orion Nebula – 1st Time

So a combination of #lessimportantthings (clouds/illness/school days/a 6yo that refuses to go to bed/tiredness/clouds/family commitments/clouds/christmas/clouds) have resulted in no time outside since my Pleiades post way back when.

In the interim, my continued use of StellarMate to manage imaging has been tested to the max as the installation of “updates” have resulted in problems with wifi hotspots and GPS dongles refusing to work.  Out of frustration I reflashed the Raspberry Pi with Astroberry – a free version of StellarMate, basically – to great success.  The session on 20/01/2020 was flawless; no crashes or slowdowns at all.  I may just stick with it, you never know.

I also had a chance to test my DIY Flats box comprising of a 130mm square EL (electroluminescence) Panel and a butchered drawer from a kitchen island trolley that was being replaced.  Saved myself about £30, I reckon. 🙂

1st attempt at Orion Nebula.  Partially processed cropped image.

40 Lights 50secs @ 1600iso
25 Darks 50secs @ 1600iso
52 Flats
54 Bias

Unguided
DeepSkyStacker & GIMP

Skywatcher 80ED+Red/Corr
Canon 450D – Modded (IR)
Skywatcher EQ3-2
Raspberry Pi 4b running Astroberry Server 2.0

Testing the Eagle

Hi All,

Got out last night to test the Eagle 3S magic box. Ed has now been able to make all the power cables for the devices on the mount. There is a small glitch in that the preloaded software for the cameras is not compatible with the Atik so we, (Ed), is going to load a new set of data that’s available on line to install new drivers. Then the USB’s will hopefully work. So I fitted up all the 5 power cables and then reverted back to the “old” system for the USB connections. The image above was taken with this rig. It is the Jellyfish Nebula (AKA SH2-248 with SH2-249 in the top left). Taken with the Tak Epsilon and Atik 4021, using an Ha filter. This is a total of just 35 minutes………7×5 minute subs, stacked in DSS, then Fits Liberator, and tweeked in PS. The system so far works!!!!

Geoff

I

M42 photo from Lichfield 17/1/2020 – QHY10

QHY10 60 sec sub-frames, darks and flats.

The following photos show how the same photo can appear quite differently when slightly different processing systems used – including PixInsight Dynamic Background Extraction, eyedropper to set background black level in Photoshop, synthetic flat field in Nebulosity, curves and levels in various programmes.

Which version do you prefer?

Andy

 

Rosette Nebula in Ha

This is the result of last night’s ‘learning session’, thanks to Rob (who has a very nice little observatory!) for hosting.

Stack of the best 12 images, also using flats generated with Rob’s portable Flat-O-Matic which I think is going to be copied quite soon!

 

Rosette Nebula in Ha
Rosette Nebula in Ha

Here’s a version using the Ha layer as L on top of an old RGB one:

Rossette Ha as L
Rossette Ha as L