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Paramount

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Everything posted by Paramount

  1. Hi As the moon wasn't rising till late and it was in crescent phase I thought I would have a go at some RGB imaging and I decided on the Cocoon nebula which I have had a couple of goes at in the past. I shot the red data on Saturday and got 4 hours in 10 minute sub frames and just over 4 hours for blue last night again with 10 minute subs. With the light pollution where I live this really was pushing it to the limit but I thiunk the results were worth it. I decded to experiment a bit so I created a synthetic green channel from the red and blue data, this was also partly due to the chance of the weather not playing ball for the next few nights. After creating the synthetic green channel I followed my usual processing work flow of a couple of iterations of levels followed by several contrast 'S' curves, during this process I "inverse selected" the bright stars so they wouldn't become to bloated and dominant. I then did some colour balancing using Selective colour and a couple of iterations of shadows/highlights to help bring out some of the dust and urrounding nebula. I will still try and get some green data later this week but I was quite pleased with the result so far. This was taken with the FSQ106ED and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME. Just to give an idea of the light pollution where I live, my house is surrounded by other houses and streets on all sides, all my neighbours have bedroom lights which for some reason seem to be on all night, two of the neighbours have security lights which come on frequently during the night. There is an outdoor tennis court a couple of hundred yards down the road with flood lights that stay on till past midnight. There is also a street light 30 yards away that shines into my garden. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to make excuses but I think it is possible to do RGB imaging from light polluted sites if you are prepared to work around it, hopefully this image will reinforce that. Earlier attempts at this subject can be seen in the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk There is also a full size version at the following link http://www.pbase.com/image/136697987/original Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  2. IC5146 - Cocoon Nebula RGB (synthetic green)

    Hi Brent Thanks for the comments, to get the large image I click on the "Insert Image" icon and then in the dialogue box enter the Url for the image which is on my website, this then posts the image at the size that it is on my website, in this case 900 pixels wide Best wishes Gordon
  3. IC5146 - Cocoon Nebula RGB (synthetic green)

    Hi Thanks for the comments everyone, following some of the comments I decided to reprocess the data and this is what I came up with, the stars are more evident which is to be expected of this region and I have adjusted the colour balance as the nebula was a bit too orange. I still plan on doing the green data when time and weather allows. Here is a link to the full size version http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/136732740/original Best wishes Gordon
  4. Hi I had previously taken some Ha and OIII data on this and managed to get out and get 3 hours of SII data in 30 minute sub frames. Normally I process my narrow band images using the HST palette partly because I prefer it but also because it is more scientifically correct in that the filters are asigned in order of wavelength, but I found that using this palette the OIII envelope that surrounds the main nebula didn't show up very well so I changed to a palette commonly used by the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) where the filters are asigned to RGB in the order of Ha:OIII:SII. This was taken with my current set up of Takahashi FSQ106ED at f5, Paramount ME and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 with exposures of 7x30 minutes for Ha, 8x30 minutes for OIII and 6x30 minutes for SII, I would have got more SII but clouds interrupted the session. The master frames were colour combined in Maxim DL with a weighting of 1:2:7 for Ha:OIII:SII and processed in Photoshop CS2 using levels and a series of 'S' shaped contrast curves, in order to better distinguish between the main nebula and OIII envelope I used selected colour to shift the colour balance. All three versions (Ha, Ha/OIII and CFHT palette) can be seen on the Nebulae 2 page of the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk and there is a full size image at the following link http://www.pbase.com/image/136460025/original Thanks for looking Best wishes and clear skies Gordon
  5. Hi I am off work on annual leave for a couple of weeks or so and it makes a change to have some clear skies to coincide with that even though the hours of darkness are a bit short. This is a narrow band image of NGC7380 in Cepheus which doesn't seem to be a very popular target for some reason. This is the first time I have imaged this in full colour, I had previously done it in Ha with the BRC-250 a couple of years ago. This can be seen on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk It was taken over three nights and is 8x30 minutes each for Ha, OIII and SII which were then mapped to the wavelength ordered palette used by Hubble. It was taken with a FSQ106ED at f5 and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME, auto guiding was by a Lodestar and OAG using dithering. Processing was levels, curves and colour balancing A full size cersion can be found at the following link http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/135728027/original Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  6. Hi I have been making the most of the clear nights recently to get some imaging time in. This is one subject that I have never tried before but it is a very nice target to do in Cygnus and responds well to narrow band if you are prepared to put the time into it, it is quite a faint subject which is probably why it tends to be ignored as an imaging target. This was taken over three nights and is 6x30 minutes per channel using 5nm Ha, OIII and SII filters. I used the FSQ106ED at f5 with a Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME. Auto guiding was taken care of by a Lodestar and OAG using dithering. The raw frames were callibrated and stacked and colour combined in Maxim DL using a weighting factor of 5:1:7 for SII:Ha:OIII (the OIII was particularly weak for this subject), after doing a gamma stretch with a 0.1 value and saving to 16 bit tiff it was transferred to photoshop where a couple of iterations of curves was used followed by several minor 'S' shaped curves. I will probably add some more data at a later date A full size image can be found at the following link http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/136057528/original Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  7. Sh2-101 Tulip Nebula in HST palette

    Hi guys Thanks for the comments, they have helped me improve over the last couple of years. I have found now that for me the best approach is plenty of good quality calibrated data which means that I can keep the processing simple without having to resort to some of the sharpening and noise reduction filters and other tools which can have the nasty effect of leaving artefacts in the end result. I used to use all these when I was using shorter subs and not fully calibrating the raw frames but I find the results are much better with simpler processing. At the end of the day the only way you get good quality data is to be patient and put the time in at the telescope, this is particularly important with narrow band imaging. The down side is that it can take a while to complete a full colour image but I feel the results are worth the wait Best wishes Gordon
  8. Hi This is another start of a tri-colour narrow band image, this time it is NGC6888 and so far I have managed to get 7x30 minutes of Ha data with the FSQ106ED at f5, Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME auto guided by a Lodestar and OAG using dithering. This combination gives a nice field of view to give the nebula a bit of context with its surroundings. Again the processing has been fairly simple with just levels and curves being used. I have tried this subject numerous times before both in monochrome and colour with a variety of scopes and camera combinations. These earlier images can be seen on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk I will be adding some OIII and SII as soon as the clouds clear again. A full size image can be seen at the following link http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/136057554/original Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  9. Hi I had already shot some Ha and OIII data over the past couple of nights with the Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 camera and I was hoping for some more clear weather but the clouds have come back in and then I am working for 4 nights so it will be at least until next week before I can shoot some SII. A good friend of mine Richard Crisp suggested it might be fun to try combining the SII data that I took with the Starlight Xpress SXVF H36 camera last year for a widefield shot of this region so I thought I'd give it a go and see what came out. This is the first time I've done this and I did it by cropping out a section of the widefield master frame for the SII and then aligned it with the Ha and OIII frames taken with the H9, this was done with Maxim DL. I then colour combined in Maxim DL with a weighting of 10:1:7 for SII:Ha:OIII, this may seem extreme but this was required to give equal signal and for the histograms to be roughly the same as each other. One iteration of levels was used followed by several minor 'S' shaped curves adjustments, with a final colour balancing and saturation reduction for the stars which understandably were a bit magentaish. Just as a reminder for the details Takahashi FSQ106Ed at f5 Paramount ME 9x30 minutes each for Ha and OIII with a Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 (1.4 megapixel with 6.45uM pixels) 8x30 minutes SII with a Starlight Xpress SXVF H36 (16 megapixel with 7.4uM pixels) Although the image is a bit noisy I am quite pleased with the result, I will still shoot some SII data with the H9 when I get the chance to see if it will improve things. Again I have used no sharpening or noise reduction in the processing. All three versions of this are now on the home page of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk for comparison Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  10. NGC7822 in Ha and OIII

    This is my next project, NGC7822 and I've managed to get 4.5 hours each of Ha and OIII thanks to a couple of clear nights. It was taken with the FSQ106ED and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME using 30 minute sub frames, the processing has again been a combination of levels and minor contrast curves adjustments with a colour adjustment to tone down the red. I am hoping to add some SII data on my next night off if the weather is clear. The Ha channel can be seen on the Nebulae 2 page of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk and there is a full size high resolution version at the following link http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/134999598/original Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  11. Hi I managed to get 5 hours of SII data in 30 minute sub frames last night. Sky conditions weren't brilliant and even with the moon not rising till early morning the sky never got very dark (a problem this time of year) which makes narrow band imaging the only choice for me. This was taken with the following Takahashi FSQ106ED at f5 Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 Paramount ME Lodestar and OAG for guiding 5nm narrow band filters Exposures are 8x30 minutes for Ha and 10x30 minutes for OIII and SII Colour combined with a 7:1:5 ratio for SII:Ha:OIII. No sharpening, smoothing or noise reduction has been used. Multiple iterations of levels followed by multiple iterations of contrast curves were used with some colour adjustments and de-saturation of the magenta stars I have put the three stages from the last couple of weeks on the home page of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk and a full size high resolution image can be seen at the following link http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/134880409/original Thanks for looking Best wishes and clear skies Gordon
  12. Hi I have been lucky to have two clear nights on the trot and since my neighbours have chopped their tree back I can shoot the northern skies earlier in the year, as the moon is back I thought I would get back to my preferred imaging of narrow band and have a crack at a close up of the Elephants Trunk nebula even though it is still quite low in the sky from where I live at this time of year. I did 4 hours of Ha data on Thursday and managed 5 hours of OIII last night. This was taken with the Takahashi FSQ106ED at f5 and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 (a great camera considering its small chip size, relatively low pixel count and no set point cooling). All sub frames are 30 minutes and auto guiding was done with a lodestar and OAG using dithering, I used 5 second guiding exposures. The processing is basically multiple iterations of levels followed by several contrast curves (slight 'S' shaped curves. A final shadows/highlights adjustment was made and colour adfjustments made to tone the bright reds down. No sharpening filters or noise reduction was used. All raw frames were calibrated with darks and dark subtracted flats. I will be adding the SII data at the earliest opportunity. The Ha channel can be seen on the 'Nebulae 2' page of the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk as well as a previous HST version of this subject taken with the BRC-250. A full size high resolution image can be seen at the following link http://www.pbase.com/image/134691156/original Now that the summer nebulae are starting to appear the majority of my imaging will be narrow band until next March Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  13. M101 - Pinwheel Galaxy

    Hi I took this a couple of months ago with some Ha data added but was never happy with it as it looked "purple" so I didn't bother posting it. However, I've had another go at it but this time just using the RGB channels only and despite the red sub frames looking more like noise (transparency was appalling due to haze) I decided to process it to see what I could get. This time I used the ratios from a more recent G2V colour calibration when colour combining in Maxim DL, I had to use quite a bit of gradient removal due to light and colour gradients but the rest of the processing was a combination of only levels and curves with a minor shadows/highlights adjustment, there is no sharpening or noise reduction used. It was taken with an FSQ106ED at f5 with a Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME auto guided by lodestar. Exposures are 18x5 minutes each for red and blue and 13x5 minutes for green. I will do this again when conditions are considerable better but for now I am pleased with the result. The "purple" version can be seen on the galaxies page of the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk There is a full size high resolution version at http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/134572411/original Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  14. NGC4565 - Needle Galaxy

    Hi I had a clear night on Wednesday of this week and managed to shoot just over 5 hours of NGC4565 in 10 minute subs before it dipped behind a tree at just after 4am. It was taken with the FSQ106ED at f5 and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME. Auto guiding was via a lodestar and OAG. Exposures are 12x10 minutes each for red and blue and 7x10 minutes for green. Hopefully I will be able to get a bit more data and some luminance on the next clear night. I did an unguided monochrome shot of this 2 years ago with the BRC-250 and Starlight Xpress H36 using 4 minute subs. This can be seen fo comparison on the galaxy page in the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk The full size high resolution image of this can be seen at http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/134281035/original Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  15. M13 - Hercules Cluster

    I took this last night but was only able to get just over 3 hours of data so this is 12x5 minutes each for red and green and 15x5 minutes for blue. It was taken with the FSQ106ED at f5 and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME. Auto guiding was by a Lodestar/OAG combination with dithering. The processing was very simple although several iterations of levels and curves were used while inverse selecting the core with feathering to avoid burning it out. No sharpening or noise reduction was used. This was the first subject that got me into imaging 4 years ago when I took a picture with my Meade LX200 and DSI using 15 second exposures, this can be seen on the star cluster page of the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk to see how far I have progressed since then. There is a full size high resolution version at the following link http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/134435973/original Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  16. M106 - lrgb

    I managed to get out and do some colour data on Monday night and although the half moon was high in the sky in the south I tried for 10 minute sub frames and shot 12x10 minutes each for RGB to go with the luminance that I shot a week or so ago. This was colour combined in Maxim DL so I didn't work on the luminance and RGB separately, I tried doing it separately but wasn't happy with the result. Processing was mainly levels, curves, contrast with some minor saturation added and a shadows/highlights adjustment. The full size high resolution image is at http://www.pbase.com/image/133890265/original and the luminance image can be see on the galaxies page in the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk for comparison Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  17. M106 - Luminance

    Hi all It was clear last night and a crescent moon was slowly descending into the west so I thought I would try and get some luminance data on M106. I stuck with the luminance filter for the night and managed to get 65x5 minutes. When the weather coincides with my next nights off I will add the colour data. It was taken with an FSQ106ED at f5, Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME with guiding taken care of by a lodestar and OAG combination using dithering. I tried this subject a couple of years ago with the TMB115 f7 and H36 combination and this can be seen on the galaxies page of the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk for comparison. The full size high resolution version can be found at http://www.pbase.com/image/133734757/original This was fully calibrated with darks and dark subtracted flats and the large number of sub frames made it easier to process apart from taming the core which was quite bright. I may consider adding Ha to this as well but I'm not sure how much is present and whether it will be worth an extra evening of imaging, suggestions would be welcome Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  18. M3 - Globular Cluster

    Hi I was hoping to do some colour data for my M106 image but the seeing wasn't really good enough last enough so I thought I would have a go at M3 instead. This was taken with the FSQ106ED at f5 with Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME. It is 18x5 minutes per channel for RGB. Just levels, curves and contrast used in the processing. I tried this subject a while ago but had difficulty with the core in the processing, I think this is better, the previous version can be found on the star clusters page in the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk The full high resolution image of this can be seen at http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/133832100/original There is still life in the H9 even though it doesn't have set point cooling Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  19. M81 and M82 under a full moon

    Hi all Orinarily I wouldn't contemplate RGB imaging when there is a full moon but I had been shooting some Ha data for M81 and M82 and I thought "Nothing ventured nothing gained" so I gave it a try. By this time the subject was close to the meridian and an almost full moon was high in the south of the sky, the red subframes looked ok so I carried on and finished just as it was starting to get light hence the reason why there was only 14 green sub frames. The Ha was blended into the red channel. This was taken with the FSQ106ED at f5 with a Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME, autoguided by a lodestar and OAG. This was very challenging to process due to light gradients and trying to control the cores of the galaxies and although far from perfect I am quite pleased with the overall result. It is quite a while since I tried this pair of subjects together, in fact I tried them shortly after I sarted imaging and that effort can be seen at the beginning of the galaxy page in the image gallery on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk The full size high resolution image can be seen at http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/133286726/original I will have another go at this when the sky is a bit darker, but hopefully this may give people a bit of encouragement that reasonable RGB results can be obtained even with bright moonlight present Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  20. Ngc3628

    Hi All I managed to get some clear weather that coincided with a night off to add some colour data to the Luminance that I took a month ago, this is NGC3628 which for some reason is also known as "Sarah's Galaxy" (haven't found out why by looking on the web yet), it is also referred to as the "Hamburger Galaxy" (I can see why it got that name). I had a reasonable night for the luminance but there was faint mist last night when I did the colour data. This was taken with a Takahashi FSQ106ED and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME with guiding done by a lodestar camera and OAG. Exposures are 46x5 minutes for Lum and 18x5 minutes each for RGB. There are a few small faint fuzzies in the background as well. I have tried this subject before a couple of times with limited success and these can be seen on the Galaxies page in the image gallery on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk and there is also the full size high resolution image at the following link http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/133033349/original Thanks for looking Best wishes and clear skies Gordon
  21. IC410 - Tadpoles Nebula

    Hi I got back from Astrofest in London and the following night the weather looked ok so I took some Ha data on IC410. I managed to get 9x30 minutes before it ducked behind a distant tree. This was taken with theTakahashi FSQ106ED at f5 with a Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 camera on a Paramount ME, auto guiding was done with a lodestar and OAG using dithering. The only processing done was levels, curves and contrast. For comparison I took a picture of this with the Takahashi BRC-250/H36 combination 2 years ago using 10 minute sub frames, this can be seen on the nebulae page of the image gallery on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk The full size high resolution image can be seen at http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/132400294/original I will be doing the OIII and SII data at the earliest opportunity as this is a good narrow band target for tri-colour imaging Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  22. NGC2024 - Flame Nebula in Ha

    Hi I managed to get some Ha data on NGC2024 earlier in the week, This was taken with the FSQ106ED at f5 with a Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME, it was 12x20 minutes auto guided by a lodestar camera using dithering. I last tried this subject 4 years ago with my previous Meade LX200 system, this can be seen on the Nebulae page of the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk for comparison Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  23. M1 - "Smoked Crab Nebula"

    Hi Ok, I haven't renamed this popular object. One of our next door neighbours had been clearing out bags of rubbish from their house and decided to have a bonfire in their back garden earlier in the day (not sure if there is some council regulation against that), anyway they lefty the fire to burn away and it was still bellowing out smoke all night and into the following day. On a lot of occasions the clouds of smoke blew right through my view of the sky (inconsiderate people). I managed to get 6x20 minutes each for Ha, OIII and SII before a tree called an end to this image. It was taken with a Takahashi FSQ106ED and Starlight Xpress SXVF H9 on a Paramount ME using a lodestar and OAG for guiding. I mapped the results to the HST palette and as there was good signal for each emission line nothing was done with the weighting or shifting the colour balance. I have tried this subject several times with different set ups and they can be seen in the image galery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk A full size high resolution of this image can be seen at th following link http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens/image/132207894/original I did check the optics of the FSQ after I finished to see if there were any contaminants on them but they were clear otherwise my neighbours would be receiving a bill for damage Thanks for looking Best wishes Gordon
  24. M1 - "Smoked Crab Nebula"

    Nice thought Tim, but the logistics of taking all my kit down, transporting it and setting it up again would be a no no as I don't drive and the thought of getting there and having bad weather would be the final straw Best wishes Gordon
  25. Hi All As a pom from the other side of the world I relished in the celebrations of the England cricked team giving the Aussies a bit of their own medicine on their own soil and enjoyed taking the micky during any correspondence that I had with my friends over here. However, I am dismayed and shocked at what a lot of Australians are now having to go through because of the floods in Brisbane and elsewhere, I have heard that some people have gone missing and some have lost their homes and indeed their towns as a result of this terrible disaster. I hope that things will abate soon and clearer skies return so that you can return to a safer place. We are lucky over here in the UK where our extremes are nothing like what you are experiencing right now. My thought are with all my friends on the forums and for everyone affected by this calamity. Best wishes Gordon :peace2:
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