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First pic of Saturn with new mount

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#1 DismalScientist

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:03 PM

I recently got a CG-5 mount for my old Celestron C8. After some collimating, I ended up being blown away by Saturn. I took this pic using SharpCap, a Microsoft LifeCam HD5001, and a 2x barlow. I stacked with AS!2 and processed that image in Registax6.

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#2 Madratter

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:33 PM

Very nice. I took the liberty of color balancing it a bit. I'll pull it down if you want me to.

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#3 DismalScientist

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:36 PM

No, leave it up! It looks good. Can you tell me what you did? I'm still learning the whole process.

#4 DaemonGPF

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:40 PM

Nice work!

#5 Madratter

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:49 PM

Can you tell me what you did? I'm still learning the whole process.


Unfortunately, I don't have a cook book answer here. I just noticed a color cast that didn't look quite right to me. I pulled up Photoshop and using the color balance tool, moved it towards cyan instead of red, and yellow instead of blue.

I did not care for what auto-color did in Photoshop. That left it way too green for my taste.

#6 MaestroMyth

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:50 PM

Looks like you have a great C8! Beautiful shot, congrats.

#7 DismalScientist

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:53 PM

Thanks!

#8 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 08:14 AM

I thought I would take a stab at it. I got rid of the excessive red and it turns out there is not much color left. Did you use a red filter?

I also sharpened it a little. Everything I did was in RegiStax.

This is a really good picture for a C8.

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#9 DismalScientist

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:53 PM

Hey WWG, no I didn't use a filter. I don't have any of those yet. What filter would you recommend for Saturn/Jupiter/Mars? Also, I took another stab at the color. What do you guys think?

Also, I was quite surprised at how well my picture came out. It is an older 1980s version SPC8. I recently collimated it, and that seemed to make a good improvement over previous results.

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#10 DismalScientist

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:13 AM

I should add that I restacked the avi and tried again.

#11 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:47 AM

I've heard you can use different color filters to bring out different features on the different planets but I think that would be for a monochrome image. I wouldn't use any color filter for making a color image. I've also heard that you might want an IR cutoff filter but that is probably already installed.

I have a LifeCam Cinema webcam and I checked the software that comes with it and there is no way to adjust the red, green, and blue intensities individually so maybe you have the same problem. Your Saturn is a little pink.

I use the NexImage 5 and it makes everything look green. The software that comes with it allows me to adjust the red, green, and blue separately. I'm learning how much to turn down the green and turn up the blue to get something that looks more natural.

You can adjust the color afterwards but the pictures are only 8 bit so you lose intensity resolution. I think it is better to get it right, or close to right, when recording.

I notice that some people get really good images for their "first" astrophoto. Here is my first Saturn using a C8 back in July 2011. Actually I lied. My first Saturn was a blob with a line through it. The point is that you should be happy with your first Saturn. Or maybe I should just feel bad about my early stuff. :tonofbricks:

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#12 DismalScientist

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:51 AM

Haha... I should clarify. This is my first Saturn with a mount that can track. Previously, I was just aiming the telescope and trying to hold the planet in view as best as I could. Here is my "first" Saturn that I even had someone else stack for me :)

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#13 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:57 AM

Here is my first Saturn using the Meade DSI-II color camera. I might have actually taken a picture using film a couple decades earlier.

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#14 DismalScientist

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:07 AM

Hey, I see rings! :)

#15 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:25 AM

I found my very first Saturn. I used a C8, a Nikon F2, and black-and-white film. This would be around 1989.

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#16 DismalScientist

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:45 AM

Wow, it is really remarkable how far technology has come. It is probably easy to take for granted the fact that we can just throw a cheap webcam into the eyepiece and get a decent picture. I have to admit - after my recent Saturn pics came out I felt like I was cheating somehow.

#17 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:53 AM

I know. I had to take my film to the drug store and wait a week or so to get the results. I had to know what exposure to use or waste a few bucks and a week or so. Now we get 10 (or more) frames per second and we just turn the brightness knob until it looks about right.

I remember in college in 1980 they showed us some pictures of Jupiter taken by Voyager. I had never seen Jupiter anywhere near that clear. Now we can take similar pictures from our driveway as a hobby.

#18 REC

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:33 AM

Nice pic and I have a quick question for you. Was the barlow used with the scope at prime focus? So instead od a f/2000mm lens it was f/4000 then and that would equal 80x. That would still be a small image, did you crop and enlarge this pic?

Thanks,

Bob

#19 DismalScientist

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:27 AM

Hey Bob,

I dropped the 2x barlow into my star diagonal and then put the webcam into the barlow. I thought this was F/20, but maybe I'm wrong (please let me know if I am). I wanted to skip the diagonal and put the webcam into the OTA directly, but I had trouble finding Saturn. I will try that again later.

I used SharpCap to record the video in 1280x720. At first it was recording in 640x480. When I changed it to 1280x720, the image appeared much larger on my screen. I have attached a picture of what it looked like on my screen. I never had to enlarge it for the "final product". I actually shrunk it down in some pics to make it a sharper image. The only cropping occurred when I used PIPP or AS!2, which chops out the background for faster stacking.

I hope this helps. I'm still learning so it is possible I didn't answer your question precisely.

Brian

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#20 DismalScientist

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:30 AM

Here is one of the videos that I captured: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=wKwNoY7j3dI

#21 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 11:39 AM

I took your YouTube video and ran it through RegiStax. The final image was almost pure monochrome (no color at all). I then ran it through PhotoShop and increased the saturation a lot. You said you used a diagonal so I flipped the image. I then rotated it so that North would be up.

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#22 DismalScientist

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 04:00 PM

That looks good. I had trouble getting the rings that sharp. I'll keep practicing.

#23 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 04:10 PM

I did what is in this video except I used 100% of the images and didn't add any denoise clicks. You might want to add another click of sharpening. Also, the "auto balance" feature of "RGB Balance" gave too much green so I reduced the green a click after using the auto balance.

#24 Tyranthrax

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:22 PM

warm, this might sound like a stupid question here, but I too use a diagonal, or else the camera would hit and balance would be all off and what not, but to flip it you flip how? I am never really sure the right direction for mine when I take photos.

#25 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 06:09 PM

I flipped and rotated in PhotoShop. MS Paint also has flip and rotate. Flipping reverses things like a mirror does. Rotating just rotates the image like you had a picture in your hand and you rotated it.

My personal preference is to have North up and not be a mirror image. If I had a series of pictures of Jupiter with the red spot moving across then the red spot would be in the southern hemisphere and it would be moving left to right. Also the moons and their shadows would be moving left to right when they are going in front of the planet. I want my planets to have their spin axis up (see the right hand rule).

Other people want South to be up because that is how they see it in their telescope. My telescope (an SCT) reverses things left to right causing a mirror image, when I am using a diagonal. I don't like this but it is way better than removing the diagonal and getting down on my knees to look into the eyepiece.

For imaging most people want no mirror image. If you have an image of a crater on the Moon and you're trying to find it on a map of the Moon then it will be way easier if you don't have a mirror image.

You can test your setup by taking a picture of a license plate far away. This will let you know if you need to flip it in software.

I don't use a diagonal mainly because it reduces the amount of light, it is another optical component that can distort the image, and I collimate without a diagonal and a diagonal can be a bit wobbly, screwing up collimation.

If it is not possible, or just really inconvenient, to remove the diagonal then of course you should use it. You can easily flip the resulting image in your final processing.






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