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Paramount

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Posts posted by Paramount


  1. Hi All

    Last night was one of those nights when you want to tear your hair out, all the equipment is running smoothly, skies are clear (average seeing though) and the first subframes are downloading nicely and then after 2 subframes at 12.30am clouds blow in from the middle of nowhere and although they are moving fast there doesn't appear to be any break. Anyway I decided to stay out in the hope that it would clear, eventually it did at 2am so I recalibrated the autoguider and restarted and managed to get another 4 subframes in before more clouds and approaching daylight put a final stop on proceedings. Hopefully I will get the chance to add some more Ha data and colour to this a bit later. For comparison there are two previous attempts at this subject that I took last year, one in Ha and one in colour with different scope/camera combinations on the Nebulae page of the image gallery on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk

    Takahashi BRC-250

    Starlight Xpress H9

    Astronomik 12nm Ha filter

    Paramount ME autoguided with Starlight Xpress M8C

    No calibration was done on the image ie no darks or flats

    Thanks for looking

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    PS By the way does anybody actually know where the middle of nowhere is?

    IC5146.jpg


  2. Hi Ray

    Thanks for he comments. My shop is sending me a new one so hopefully that will be ok, it is very easy to use and does a good job (when it works), I will give my verdict depending on whether I have problems or not with the new one, I will let you know

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  3. Hi All

    I previously (yesterday) posted a Ha image of this subject and was intending to add some OIII data to it, well the sky cleared after a rain shower last night so I go set up and managed to get 20x10 minutes for OIII, using the Takahshi BRC-250 and Starlight Xpress H9 as before and guided with the M8C. The seeing was very poor and it never got as dark as the night before so tere is not as much detail and sharpness as I was hoping but I am pleased with the result especially as the bluish halo associated with this subject is clearly evident. You can compare it with the HA version on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk in the Nebulae 2 section of the image gallery. Again no callibration with darks, flats or bias frames was used

    Thanks for looking

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    NGC6888rgbhigh.jpg


  4. Hi All

    Clear weather last night so I set everything up and then disaster struck, my LVI smartguider wouldn't work, it kept stopping in the callibration phase. So in a hurry I got my Starlight Xpress M8C out and connected it to the TMB and used that to auto guide, I had to set it to binned mode as the 3.15 micron pixels are a bit insensitive and as I was starting to run out of decent imaging time I just used the basic default settings in Maxim DL which seems to have worked reasonably well. I only managed Ha and did 12x10 minutes, no callibration has been done at all so no darks, no flats and no bias frames. It was taken with the Takahashi BRC-250 and Starlight Xpress H9, seeing was average. I took an image of this subject unguided with the H36 and TMB last summer, this can be seen for comparison on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk

    Thanks for looking

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  5. Hi all

    I thought I would have another go at this galaxy, except this time use the Starlight Xpress H9 for a bigger image scale and also to try out my new toy, an LVI smartguider (yes you heard right this is an auto guided image). Because of the light pollution where I live I don't really get the best out of RGB imaging, but as my house is still in the way of the splendours that cygnus has to offer and my neighbours tree is blocking Cepheus for at least another month I don't really have a lot of narrow band targets to go for at the moment. This is made up of 14x4 minutes Red, 9x4 minutes Green and 15x4 minutes Blue, I would have liked longer subframes but with a half moon present, the light pollution and sky glow I would have been pushing my luck. Some very bright satellite and aeroplane streaks put paid to the other subframes (I didn't realise they showed up so bright with RGB imaging as they are normally fairly faint with NB). Again I would have prefered more but with a 3 hour imaging window at this time of year I have to be grateful for what I get. If anybody can tell me what the faint streak is in the bottom right of the picture I would be grateful as I haven't been able to find it yet. Thanks for looking, I have put a very short article about the smart guider in the miscellaneous section of the equipment page on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk which I will be adding to at a later date, it is very easy to use.

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  6. Hi Ray

    Thanks for the comments, the Tak wins hands down for me, lighter weight, smaller size, flat field, no coma, I can use my large chip camera on it, fast focal ratio, I can put it on the mount myself without putting my back out. It is a no brainer really for me. That is not to say that the C14 isn't a good scope, it is just that the Tak is much better for my needs

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  7. Hi All

    This is my first return to imaging after my "eventful" holiday to Orlando --- details of which are in my blog on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk if you want to know more. Anyway, back to the subject. A lovely clear night on Saturday so I got everything set up. Started imaging just after 12 midnight and was planning 15x4 minutes for each channel with this subject, the red and green channels went fine apart frrom the usual light pollution where I live but I only managed 6x4 minutes for blue as I forgot about the shorter dark hours and it got too light after 3am so this one hasn't gone as deep as I would have liked. It was taken with the Takahashi BRC-250 and Starlight Xpress H36 and Astronomik RGB filters, no time for luminance on this, all unguided.

    Thanks for looking

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  8. Hi

    During the cloudless skies a couple of weeks ago I managed to get some imaging time in although the seeing conditions were pretty awful. I managed to get NGC 3628 and M51 with the H9 camera and M101 and its companion NGC 5474 with the H36. All were taken with the Takahashi BRC-250. I only managed 10x4 minutes each for the red and green channel for the M101 and NGC 3628 shot, and 10x4 minutes each for RGB for the M51 shot. Unfortunately cloud or day light put a stop to further imaging. I will be revisiting these again when time allows to do them more justice but in the meantime I am reassonably happy with the results considering the time and conditions

    Thanks for looking

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    PS I'm off to Orlando next week for some sunnier, warmer weather


  9. Hi Trevor

    Thanks very much for the tips on light pollution removal in Noels Tools. I have done what you said and it did such a good job that it allowed me to adjust the curves to bring out a bit more detail in the picture. Have a look and let me know what you think

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    :woot:


  10. Hi Trevor

    Thanks for the assistance, I do have Noels tools and have done for some time but have never tried the noise polluton removal tool, sorry to keep asking questions but what adjustments should be made when the curves box comes up part way through the action

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  11. Hi all

    Sunday was clear but the seeing conditions were awful as described in my earlier post of "M 3 on a murky night". I took this shot later in the night again when M 13 was high enough to get anything decent recorded. This is one of the subjects that I have been wanting to try again as it was my first ever attempt at imaging when I still had my Meade LX200 system.

    This was taken with the Takhashi BRC-250, Starlight Xpress SXVF H36 on a Paramount ME, exposures are 30x1 minute each for RGB unguided with just simple auto dark subtraction in Maxim DL, no other calibration was used. As described in my M 3 image the top and bottom of the image are croppeddue to some dark lines about a 1/6 from the top and bottom of the subframes (not sure as yet what is causing this as it hasn't happened before).

    The glare round some of the brighter stars is caused by the poor seeing so it isn't as sharp as I was hoping. You can compare this with my first attempt at this subject by looking at the first image in the star cluster section of the image gallery of my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk

    Thanks for looking

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  12. Hi ray

    Thanks for the comments, I am using Maxim DL for the acquisition, with simple auto dark subtraction, stacking, log stretch with maximum pixel value then save to 16 bit tiff, no other processing. Then open the tiff masters in Photoshop CS2 and colour combining before processing.

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  13. Hi All

    I must admit it is nice to have some cloudless nights, now if we could do something about the sky glow, light pollution and poor seeing conditions it would be even better.

    This is of the globular cluster M 3 on Sunday night which was as mentioned above, I had to wait until it got near to the zenith as too much either side appeared misty. This is first real attempt at globular clusters, I did have a bash at M 13 when I first started imaging with a Meade LX200 3 years ago, this attempt can be seen on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk. I wasn't sure about exposure times so did 30x1 minutes each for RGB all unguided. Just simple autodark subtraction was used, no bias or flat fields. It was taken with the Takahashi BRC-250 and Starlight Xpress H36. It is cropped top and bottom due to some heavy dark banding on the subframes, haven't figured that out yet. Overall I am reasonably pleased considering the seeing conditions. I have come to the conclusion that emission line imaging is a lot easier than RGB from where I live.

    Thanks for looking

    Best wishes

    Gordon


  14. Hi All

    You must be getting fed up with my reprocesses but I have to keep myself sane when the weather is bad. Following tips and comments from various people from different forums, I decided to go back to the drawing board on the processing of my M 82 image, this time I did the following

    Combined using Sigma Clip with a Sigma factor of 3.0 in Maxim DL

    Stretched each master frame using log, maximum pixel value and 16 bit

    Saved to 16 bit tiff

    Blended 100% Ha to Red channel using normal stretch mode

    Blended 20% Ha to Blue channel using normal stretch mode

    Nothing done to Green channel

    Manually combined RGB channels in Photoshop CS2 using default settings

    Levels and curves

    Contrast enhancement

    Unsharp mask

    Shadow highlight adjustments to bring down the core a bit

    Mild gradient removal with Gradient Xterminator

    Mild noise reduction using Noel's tools

    The result is that the background is less black so the comment about clipping the black point seems to be resolved. There is more detail in the red jets than the previous reprocess. I think I have gone as far as I can with the data that I have, unless .........

    I think I will try this again when seeing conditions are better as I had to deal with the moon, neighbours lights and a hazy sky, also longer Ha subframes will be beneficial

    I have enclosed the final reprocess as well as the previous one for comparison, the first "cigar.jpg" is the final reprocess as described above, the earlier ones can be found on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk to see how this image has progressed. Ain't learning fun!!!

    Thanks for your patience

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    cigar.jpg

    M82HaRGBtweak.jpg


  15. Hi all

    Sometimes bad weather can be a blessing in disguise as it allows a bit of catch up time in the processing department. I posted this image here and then tweaked it a bit but following some suggestions from Neil Fleming from http://www.flemingastrophotography.com I had a complete reprocess at it using colour combining in Photoshop CS2 (which I have never tried before), rather than combining as a straight forward LRGB image which I did previously using Maxim DL he suggested blending 66-100% Ha with the Red channel and 15-20% Ha with the Blue channel and then processing the resulting channels along with the Green channel as a normal RGB image. I chose 100% Ha with the Red channel and 20% Ha with the Blue channel using lighten as the blending mode for the Red channel and normal as the blending mode for the Blue channel. I am much happier with the end result as the red jets associated with this subject are more evident. Just as a reminder of the details

    20x5 minutes for Ha

    20x2 minutes each for RGB

    All unguided with the Takahashi BRC-250 on a Paramount ME with Starlight Xpress H9 and Astronomik filters

    Simple auto dark subtraction inMaxim DL, no flats or bias frames used. The original image, tweaked image and this reprocessed image can be seen together for comparison on my website http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk

    Thanks for looking yet again

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    M82HaRGB.jpg


  16. Thanks Brett, Trevor and Gordon. Thank you Gordon too for your excellent reply to Trevor. You answered it much better than I would have been able to.

    This is a prime example of you should never throw away old data. I was happy with the original version of this image but I think this one is much better. You never stop learning in this game.

    Cheers

    Steve

    Hi Steve

    You are right with the last comment, you never stop learning in this game, no matter how good you are there will always be room for improvement.

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    :smile:


  17. Steve this Hubble pallet stuff looks impressive I assume it only works for combined LRGB files from CCD cameras

    Cheers

    Hi Steve

    Excellent image as usual, I have the same problem as Ray with my jaw dropping and hitting the keys but my jaw isn't dyslexic!!!

    In response to Trevor the HST palette and other narrow band palettes can only be done with monochrome cameras and narrow band filters ie Ha, OIII and SII by taking individual exposures through each filter and then colour combining in the same way as you combine the RGB filtered expsoures for RGB imaging. Some one shot colour cameras such as the Starlight Xpress M25C have good Ha sensitivity and can take Ha images but the other channels are really out of the question as there are too many issues with Bayer Matrix array affecting the image. This is one of the advantages of monochrome cameras ie they are more flexible, the downside is that they require 3-4 times the amount of overall exposure time as you have to do seperate exposures for each filter and because you are then combining several images to create colour it takes longer to process

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    :smile:


  18. Hi

    When I had a look at this image on a different computer and monitor there was a gradient that was evident that I couldn't see on mine so I have tweaked the image a bit to remove most of the gradient and also done some mild sharpening and small adjustments of the curves to extract a little more detail. Thanks for looking again.

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    M82repro.jpg


  19. Hi all

    I have finally managed to get out and do some imaging for the first time since mid February. It was also a chance to try out the H9 camera and 7 position FLI filter wheel which I got over a month ago. The image is of M82 using HaRGB with 20x5 minutes for Ha and 20x2 minutes each for RGB all unguided. Although the sky was clear I had to contend with a half moon all night as well as my neighbours bedroom light and the seeing conditions were fairly bad. Anyway, enough of the excuses, I am just glad to be able to do some imaging again. Thanks for looking, further details on equipment used is on my site http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    M82.jpg


  20. Hi All

    More cloud tonight so I thought I would have a reprocess at the Owl nebula image as the original was a tad noisy, I have posted it below and there is also the full resolution image on my other site http://www.pbase.com/imaging_the_heavens just click on the thumbnail and it is the last picture in the gallery, I think it looks a bit smoother but I would be interested to see what people think

    Thanks for looking

    Best wishes

    Gordon

    owlrepro.jpg

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