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M33 Mosaic - 42 Hours with the ED127CF

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#1 Mike Wiles

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:56 PM

Hello all,

I'd like to unveil finally the latest image that I've been working on over the last couple of months. It's a mosaic of M33 that I collected over the course of 8 nights from 3 different locations with my regular imaging rig. It seemed like every time that I setup to collect broadband data, I was greeted with pretty poor seeing. Some of the frames that ended up in the reject bin had a FWHM > 7".

This was the first image I've worked that I treated like an actual project. I had occasion to see M33 visually on a couple of different occasions over the last year with really large aperture under really dark, steady skies the Arizona desert. It was thinking about those observations later that I realized I'd not seen many photographs that rendered M33 in the same way that I was seeing it visually. So I set out to collect data for an image that would capture what I was seeing in the eyepiece - very well defined spiral arms and an overwhelming abundance of HII regions. The result of those efforts is shown below.

In addition to capturing a huge amount of H-Alpha data, I shot the image as a 2 frame mosaic to create some context with the surrounding sky. There aren't as many faint fuzzies littering the background around M33 as you see in other galaxy shots - perhaps obscuring dust from its relative proximity to the Milky Way? Finally, I took liberal processing tips from an old PixInsight tutorial that breaks the luminance into separate large & small scale images to be processed separately. This image, like my last few was processed entirely from initial calibration to the final jpeg conversion in PixInsight. I think I've weaned myself permanently from Photoshop.

Comments and criticisms are welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking.

Date: September 4th, 6th, 13th & 14th, 2012 and October 4th, 2012
Location: Goodyear, Arizona, Portal, Arizona & Western Arizona desert
Telescope: Explore Scientific ED127CF Refractor - 127mm f/7.5 Carbon Fiber Triplet
Mount: Astro-Physics AP900GTO CP3
Camera: SBIG ST-8300m and SBIG FW8-8300 filter wheel
Guiding: SBIG ST-i Mono and SBIG OAG-8300 off-axis guider
Exposure: 42 hours - Ha - 44x1800s 1x1, Luminance - 60x600s 1x1, RGB - 20x600s 1x1
Capture: CCD AutoPilot v5, Maxim DL 5.18
Calibration & Processing: PixInsight 1.7

Posted Image

Here is a link to a full screen version of the image which shows the detail much better.

Finally, a link to the full size (4176 x 3186) image.



#2 zerro1


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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:29 PM

Nice Work Mike!! Wow 42 hours(couple hours of overtime :grin:) That's some full time imaging! :bow:

#3 vpcirc



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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:33 PM

I love the HA detail!

#4 yock1960



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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:58 PM

That gal(axy) is on fire!

And no, I would never had heard of Alicia Keys if not for the credit card commercial.

Nice image!


#5 mcarroll



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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:49 PM

Really nice Mike! I like the Ha details.

#6 Mark72


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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:22 AM

Nice Ha details Mike,

This tutorial is really hard job to follow but it does deliver great results.


#7 rigel123


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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:36 AM

Boy, the full resolution is amazing! Nice job, I know how much work a mosaic is!!

#8 terry59


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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:54 PM

That's very deep. You are producing some very nice images Mike

#9 Mike Wiles

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:54 PM

That's very deep. You are producing some very nice images Mike

Thanks Terry (and everyone else)! I continue to be impressed by the images produced by that little refractor. I wish this had come out a bit sharper, but I can't control the seeing. It's amazing how many HII regions there are in this galaxy. A mono image of just the 22 hours of H-Alpha data is a really interesting view all by itself.


#10 kfir Simon

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:33 AM

What a great image!
I envy your patience...


#11 broca


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:54 AM

Beautiful image and look at all of hose HII regions. Your efforts greatly paid off in this image

#12 JWalk



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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:47 AM

Great image. I admire your patience.

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