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M57 with ASI120MC - Again

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#1 aacc66

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:44 PM

This is my latest attempt at M57 with my ASI120MC.  While I save $$$ for my DSO camera, this is probably the best I can get. 

I do hope that I can learn a trick or two that can improve on this camera

 

Attached File  M57 7_26_2014 1_34_34 _stack54_Eccen0.6_BetterBackground1.jpg   209.38KB   31 downloads

 

Alvaro



#2 Jeff2011

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 02:57 AM

That is one of the better DSO images I have seen with a Planetary/Guide camera.  There are plenty of other bright plantetary nebulas you can capture.



#3 Madratter

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:42 AM

Hi Alvaro. That is pretty decent given the equipment. How did you go about taking it? Puck Ja who posts here did a lot of work with cameras like this and he was able to get surprisingly good results.

#4 terry59

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:26 AM

That is quite nice, I like the colors a lot



#5 aacc66

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:29 PM

That is one of the better DSO images I have seen with a Planetary/Guide camera.  There are plenty of other bright plantetary nebulas you can capture.

Thanks.  I had been trying some of the planetary nebulae with some limited results: Ghost of Jupiter and Saturn Nebula --> both look too dim, andwith  the Saturn Nebula I am having trouble capturing some of the details that make it famous.  There are a couple that will work fine, but there is a tree in the way. ;)

 

And the DumbBell nebula barely fits my field of view.

 

Right now I am waiting for good weather.

 

Alvaro



#6 aacc66

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:39 PM

Hi Alvaro. That is pretty decent given the equipment. How did you go about taking it? Puck Ja who posts here did a lot of work with cameras like this and he was able to get surprisingly good results.

I am using an Edge 9.25

CGEM

Powermate X2.5

Use Sharpcam for capture:

[ZWO ASI120MC]
Output Format=AVI files (*.avi)
Binning=1
Capture Area=1280x960
ColourSpace=RGB24
Sensor Temp=29
Turbo USB=80
White Bal (B)=95
White Bal ®=52
Brightness=0
Gain=50
Gamma=50
Pan=0
Tilt=0
Flip Image=None
Exposure (ms)=15.018868
Number of Exposures= 100

Number of Exposured for Darks= 20

 

I use matlab code I created to stack the files.  It is not perfect, but it does the job, DeepSkyStaker cannot do the staking on these files.

Finaly for this set I tried a bit of Astra Image 4.0 to see if could get some of the texture out.  A previous versions of M57 did look a bit too smooth.

 

Please let me know if I miss something

 

Alvaro



#7 aacc66

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:42 PM

That is quite nice, I like the colors a lot

Terry, I do like the color too, but I am bit worry that I had seen several versions where the blue looks really aquamarine, and I cannot get it with this camera.  Maybe you have a suggestion for this.

BTW, I did tried a bit with GIMP, but with little success.

 

Alvaro



#8 Jeff2011

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:43 PM

Alvaro,

 

How are you taking your images?  You do not want to use video.  You should take longer exposures within the limitations of your mount and then stack them.  I actually did some of this with my QHY5L-II mono with a color filter wheel, but since I did not have guiding I had to limit my exposures to 30 seconds or so if I remember correctly. 



#9 jhayes_tucson

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:46 PM

Alvaro,

This data looks like it has a lot of promise.  The two observations that I can offer are:

1)  It looks like you might have a bit of guiding error.  Be sure to go through each of the subs and toss out anything that isn't perfect (in terms of star roundness.)

2)  It's always hard to tell over the internet, but on my screen, it looks like you could more aggressively stretch this data.  If you are using 16 bit data, the black areas should read between maybe 15 and 25 for each of the channels.  There appears to be a lot of data in there that you aren't pulling out.

 

Keep it up.  I think that this could really work pretty well.

John



#10 aacc66

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:47 PM

Alvaro,

 

How are you taking your images?  You do not want to use video.  You should take longer exposures within the limitations of your mount and then stack them.  I actually did some of this with my QHY5L-II mono with a color filter wheel, but since I did not have guiding I had to limit my exposures to 30 seconds or so if I remember correctly. 

15 seconds exposures (no guiding of course), then I stacked them with my own matlab code.  That was not pretty, but it was better than fighting with DeepSkyStaker which refused to stack.



#11 aacc66

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:55 PM

Alvaro,

This data looks like it has a lot of promise.  The two observations that I can offer are:

1)  It looks like you might have a bit of guiding error.  Be sure to go through each of the subs and toss out anything that isn't perfect (in terms of star roundness.)

2)  It's always hard to tell over the internet, but on my screen, it looks like you could more aggressively stretch this data.  If you are using 16 bit data, the black areas should read between maybe 15 and 25 for each of the channels.  There appears to be a lot of data in there that you aren't pulling out.

 

Keep it up.  I think that this could really work pretty well.

John

Thanks for the kudos and Yes, I do have guiding errors

I need to work on this one, however the camera I am using is a planetary camera/guiding camera, and right now that is the only camera I have. Saving $$ for that DSO camera.

I do toy with the idea of getting another ASI120 and use as a guider camera for the other ASI120, but that is crazy. :lol:

 

Now, the bad news is that these cameras are only 8 bits deep.  But, I may try and see if I can pull more from the data.

 

Thanks again.

 

Alvaro



#12 Jeff2011

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 12:13 AM

My QHY5L-II can operate in 12 bit depth.  Are you sure there is not a similar setting on the ASI?

 

DSS should stack.  I was able to stack images taken with my QHY5L-II.  Did you adjust the "Star Detection Threshold" under the Star Register settings?

 

I would recommend to try to get at least 30 second exposures.  You can do the following to help that:

1. Do a star drift to try to get the most accurate polar alignment you can get.

2. Record PEC and apply to mount.  Then run with PEC turned on when you are taking unguided images.

 

 

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#13 Jeff2011

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 12:18 AM

I do toy with the idea of getting another ASI120 and use as a guider camera for the other ASI120, but that is crazy. :lol:

 

 

If I remember correctly, you can't connect two of the same cameras at once to the same laptop.  I don't think the drivers allow for this.  You would need to get a different brand like the Orion SSAG or the QHY5L-II if you wanted to guide while imaging through your ASI.



#14 jhayes_tucson

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 07:55 PM

 

Alvaro,

This data looks like it has a lot of promise.  The two observations that I can offer are:

1)  It looks like you might have a bit of guiding error.  Be sure to go through each of the subs and toss out anything that isn't perfect (in terms of star roundness.)

2)  It's always hard to tell over the internet, but on my screen, it looks like you could more aggressively stretch this data.  If you are using 16 bit data, the black areas should read between maybe 15 and 25 for each of the channels.  There appears to be a lot of data in there that you aren't pulling out.

 

Keep it up.  I think that this could really work pretty well.

John

Thanks for the kudos and Yes, I do have guiding errors

I need to work on this one, however the camera I am using is a planetary camera/guiding camera, and right now that is the only camera I have. Saving $$ for that DSO camera.

I do toy with the idea of getting another ASI120 and use as a guider camera for the other ASI120, but that is crazy. :lol:

 

Now, the bad news is that these cameras are only 8 bits deep.  But, I may try and see if I can pull more from the data.

 

Thanks again.

 

Alvaro

 

 

 

Alvaro

When you stack noisy images using averaging, you increase the bit depth of the result.  Think of it this way:  Say you have a 3-bit camera that can record only 8 levels.  When you average two frames, a particular pixel may have an intensity value of 5 in one sub and an intensity of 6 in the other (due to noise fluctuation.)  Averaging those two values gives a level of 5.5.  That is why you want to accumulate the result in a floating point array.  Obviously, if the bit depth is sufficiently shallow and the noise is less than a single ADC value, this won't happen and that's where dithering can help.  Even with a little dithering, averaging 100 frames as you have done should provide tremendous bit depth.  The other thing that may help is to use higher sensor temperatures.  That may sound crazy, but it will increase the noise, which will help with the averaging process.  When you average a quantized signal, having statistically random noise can actually help improve the result.  Of course, you have to take enough data to average the noise to a sufficiently low level.  With 100 frames, your rms S/N level should be 10x better than what you see in a single frame.

John



#15 aacc66

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 08:50 PM

My QHY5L-II can operate in 12 bit depth.  Are you sure there is not a similar setting on the ASI?

 

DSS should stack.  I was able to stack images taken with my QHY5L-II.  Did you adjust the "Star Detection Threshold" under the Star Register settings?

 

I would recommend to try to get at least 30 second exposures.  You can do the following to help that:

1. Do a star drift to try to get the most accurate polar alignment you can get.

2. Record PEC and apply to mount.  Then run with PEC turned on when you are taking unguided images.

Jeff,

 

I follow you.  I had not done a good PEC recording and playing, maybe once.  If the weather improves this weekend (We are in monsoon season right now), I 'll give it a try.

 

Alvaro



#16 aacc66

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 08:53 PM

 

I do toy with the idea of getting another ASI120 and use as a guider camera for the other ASI120, but that is crazy. :lol:

 

 

If I remember correctly, you can't connect two of the same cameras at once to the same laptop.  I don't think the drivers allow for this.  You would need to get a different brand like the Orion SSAG or the QHY5L-II if you wanted to guide while imaging through your ASI.

 

Good point, I assume the driver will not know which camera to talk, or will just choose one.  Anyway, it just crossed my mind and considered a crazy idea.  Now, I know how to quash it when it crosses my mind again.

 

Alvaro



#17 aacc66

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:37 PM

 

 

Alvaro,

This data looks like it has a lot of promise.  The two observations that I can offer are:

1)  It looks like you might have a bit of guiding error.  Be sure to go through each of the subs and toss out anything that isn't perfect (in terms of star roundness.)

2)  It's always hard to tell over the internet, but on my screen, it looks like you could more aggressively stretch this data.  If you are using 16 bit data, the black areas should read between maybe 15 and 25 for each of the channels.  There appears to be a lot of data in there that you aren't pulling out.

 

Keep it up.  I think that this could really work pretty well.

John

Thanks for the kudos and Yes, I do have guiding errors

I need to work on this one, however the camera I am using is a planetary camera/guiding camera, and right now that is the only camera I have. Saving $$ for that DSO camera.

I do toy with the idea of getting another ASI120 and use as a guider camera for the other ASI120, but that is crazy. :lol:

 

Now, the bad news is that these cameras are only 8 bits deep.  But, I may try and see if I can pull more from the data.

 

Thanks again.

 

Alvaro

 

 

 

Alvaro

When you stack noisy images using averaging, you increase the bit depth of the result.  Think of it this way:  Say you have a 3-bit camera that can record only 8 levels.  When you average two frames, a particular pixel may have an intensity value of 5 in one sub and an intensity of 6 in the other (due to noise fluctuation.)  Averaging those two values gives a level of 5.5.  That is why you want to accumulate the result in a floating point array.  Obviously, if the bit depth is sufficiently shallow and the noise is less than a single ADC value, this won't happen and that's where dithering can help.  Even with a little dithering, averaging 100 frames as you have done should provide tremendous bit depth.  The other thing that may help is to use higher sensor temperatures.  That may sound crazy, but it will increase the noise, which will help with the averaging process.  When you average a quantized signal, having statistically random noise can actually help improve the result.  Of course, you have to take enough data to average the noise to a sufficiently low level.  With 100 frames, your rms S/N level should be 10x better than what you see in a single frame.

John

 

John,

 

That sounds correct, I was wondering about it.  When looking at my histograms, they look weird, the histogram looks like a fishbone, and it only goes to 256 (a tell tale of an 8 bit calculation).  Which makes me think that GIMP is hurting me (It cannot do 16 bits, even less 32 bit).  I know, I am cheap, but I am trying to save money for a DSO camera (maybe a DSLR).  But, for an astronomer in a budegt like me, I know that GIMP is coming with a version that does 32 bits. I think it is 2.9 (right now I have 2.8). The good news is that I still have the original data so when the new GIMP arrives or I have the money for better software, then I should try the software.  BTW, one of the planetary nebulas that intrigue me, because I cannot see the most obvious details is the Saturn Nebula.  I wonder what you think of this one.

 

Attached File  NGC7009_Capture 5_10_2014 4_17_48 _stack189_Eccen0.4.jpg   27.98KB   5 downloads

Attached File  NGC7009_Capture 6_7_2014 3_34_36 _stack54_Eccen0.6.jpg   28.88KB   4 downloads

 

One taken with a 2.5 powermate.  You can see that there are no wings on the Nebula.

 

Alvaro



#18 aacc66

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 01:46 AM

 

 

Alvaro,

This data looks like it has a lot of promise.  The two observations that I can offer are:

1)  It looks like you might have a bit of guiding error.  Be sure to go through each of the subs and toss out anything that isn't perfect (in terms of star roundness.)

2)  It's always hard to tell over the internet, but on my screen, it looks like you could more aggressively stretch this data.  If you are using 16 bit data, the black areas should read between maybe 15 and 25 for each of the channels.  There appears to be a lot of data in there that you aren't pulling out.

 

Keep it up.  I think that this could really work pretty well.

John

Thanks for the kudos and Yes, I do have guiding errors

I need to work on this one, however the camera I am using is a planetary camera/guiding camera, and right now that is the only camera I have. Saving $$ for that DSO camera.

I do toy with the idea of getting another ASI120 and use as a guider camera for the other ASI120, but that is crazy. :lol:

 

Now, the bad news is that these cameras are only 8 bits deep.  But, I may try and see if I can pull more from the data.

 

Thanks again.

 

Alvaro

 

 

 

Alvaro

When you stack noisy images using averaging, you increase the bit depth of the result.  Think of it this way:  Say you have a 3-bit camera that can record only 8 levels.  When you average two frames, a particular pixel may have an intensity value of 5 in one sub and an intensity of 6 in the other (due to noise fluctuation.)  Averaging those two values gives a level of 5.5.  That is why you want to accumulate the result in a floating point array.  Obviously, if the bit depth is sufficiently shallow and the noise is less than a single ADC value, this won't happen and that's where dithering can help.  Even with a little dithering, averaging 100 frames as you have done should provide tremendous bit depth.  The other thing that may help is to use higher sensor temperatures.  That may sound crazy, but it will increase the noise, which will help with the averaging process.  When you average a quantized signal, having statistically random noise can actually help improve the result.  Of course, you have to take enough data to average the noise to a sufficiently low level.  With 100 frames, your rms S/N level should be 10x better than what you see in a single frame.

John

 

Ok, i found the beta version of GIMP 2.9, and tried somethings with M57.  Fomr my side it looks brighter (I am not an expert in image processing).  Should the blue in M57 look more aquamarine?

 

Attached File  M57 7_26_2014 1_34_34 _stack54_Eccen0.6_BetterBackground_32.jpg   171.74KB   0 downloads

 

Alvaro



#19 jhayes_tucson

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:01 PM

Alvaro,

Yeah, the blue should probably be more aquamarine and the red should be less purple.  All of that can be corrected with a bit of processing.  I am particularly fascinated by your image because you have picked up significant detail that's normally pretty hard to get with longer exposures.  In my area, seeing always screws up my ability to get good detail on this object.  You are crossing up the lines between DSO and planetary imaging and it's pretty cool.  I'm not an expert at processing but send me your raw stacked data and let me take a whack at seeing what I can pull out.  You can pm me and I'll give you my email address or you can put it up on dropbox. Just tell me where it is.

John



#20 aacc66

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 10:35 PM

Alvaro,

Yeah, the blue should probably be more aquamarine and the red should be less purple.  All of that can be corrected with a bit of processing.  I am particularly fascinated by your image because you have picked up significant detail that's normally pretty hard to get with longer exposures.  In my area, seeing always screws up my ability to get good detail on this object.  You are crossing up the lines between DSO and planetary imaging and it's pretty cool.  I'm not an expert at processing but send me your raw stacked data and let me take a whack at seeing what I can pull out.  You can pm me and I'll give you my email address or you can put it up on dropbox. Just tell me where it is.

John

John,

 

Thanks for the comments, that is always encouraging.  BTW: I just sent you my email address.  I hope you don't get too dissapointed with the original TIFF that I generate from the stacking.

 

Alvaro



#21 BKBrown

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 10:48 PM

Very cool work Alvaro. You mentioned earlier that M27 barely fit into your field of view, so here is a thought: the pixels on your sensor are very small and with a 2.5x Powermate or Barlow you are oversampling pretty hard. Something in the 1.75x to 1.85x range would be more in line with both your C925 and that camera. You will get more of a FOV and a brighter image to work with. Just a thought, keep up the good work :waytogo:

 

 

Clear Skies,

Brian


Edited by BKBrown, 07 August 2014 - 10:50 PM.


#22 aacc66

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 11:13 PM

Very cool work Alvaro. You mentioned earlier that M27 barely fit into your field of view, so here is a thought: the pixels on your sensor are very small and with a 2.5x Powermate or Barlow you are oversampling pretty hard. Something in the 1.75x to 1.85x range would be more in line with both your C925 and that camera. You will get more of a FOV and a brighter image to work with. Just a thought, keep up the good work :waytogo:

 

 

Clear Skies,

Brian

Brian,

 

On M27 I did not use a Barlow.. I think I need a reducer, like the Optec Lepus.  That will give me a x0.63 mag.  Need to save money... Yikes.

 

Alvaro



#23 jhayes_tucson

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:54 PM

Alvaro,

Here's a quick run at your data using PS.  Here are my observations:

 

1)  You have a fairly large amount of thermal noise that darks might help eliminate.  I've smoothed it and darkened the background a bit lower than where I'd normal set it just to hide the noise.  Dithering might help this a bit too.

2)  You still have a fair amount of noise in the image so you really need more data.  Adding another 5-10x subs would really help.  (I know that might be a lot of time so you be the judge.)

3)  The color needs a lot of work but as you can see that's manageable.

4)  The bit depth of this stacked data doesn't appear to be very deep.  That causes the histograms to break up with only a little bit of stretch.  Be sure to accumulate the averaged data into a 32 bit floating array.

5)  You are picking up quite a bit of detail.  If you can get the s/n up another notch, you might be able to get a pretty detailed image.

 

This is a really good start and with a little bit more work, I think that you might be able to get some even better images out of this camera.  Way to go!

 

John

 

Attached Files



#24 aacc66

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 10:30 PM

Alvaro,

Here's a quick run at your data using PS.  Here are my observations:

 

1)  You have a fairly large amount of thermal noise that darks might help eliminate.  I've smoothed it and darkened the background a bit lower than where I'd normal set it just to hide the noise.  Dithering might help this a bit too.

2)  You still have a fair amount of noise in the image so you really need more data.  Adding another 5-10x subs would really help.  (I know that might be a lot of time so you be the judge.)

3)  The color needs a lot of work but as you can see that's manageable.

4)  The bit depth of this stacked data doesn't appear to be very deep.  That causes the histograms to break up with only a little bit of stretch.  Be sure to accumulate the averaged data into a 32 bit floating array.

5)  You are picking up quite a bit of detail.  If you can get the s/n up another notch, you might be able to get a pretty detailed image.

 

This is a really good start and with a little bit more work, I think that you might be able to get some even better images out of this camera.  Way to go!

 

John

John,

 

The pictures I took last night look bad. It was a rough nigh, but I feel more confortable using NexRemote, I suppose that is a plus.

 

To the observations you made on the data

1) I need to read around on how to do Dithering, never done it before.

2) I think I can do that 5X to 10X.  That would mean 5000 to 1000 seconds (that is about 1.5 to 3 hours)  I would said try the 500 frames first and see where it takes me...But probably will have to wait until next week, tonight looks iffy in the visibility and the clouds are hanging around

3) What operation did you use in that one? Maybe I can replicate it with GIMP 2.9

4) I need to check my matlab code to make sure is doing the right thing when it converts to TIFF.  Matlab uses doubles as default so it most be in the conversion to TIFFs.

5) I just hope this was not a one lucky shot, however, I was able to get some interesting (not pretty, but intering) of M51, so there is hope here.

 

If you wonder, I took this one during this spring.

 

Attached File  M51_Capture 4_25_2014 2_33_00 _stack44_Eccen0.6_CropGimp_UCorr.jpg   123.73KB   4 downloads

 

It looks blurry, but I can see more details, than what I would see with my own eyes.  I suppose there is some use for these cameras beyond planetary work

 

Thanks for looking at the data.

 

Alvaro



#25 aacc66

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 01:02 AM

Alvaro,

Here's a quick run at your data using PS.  Here are my observations:

 

1)  You have a fairly large amount of thermal noise that darks might help eliminate.  I've smoothed it and darkened the background a bit lower than where I'd normal set it just to hide the noise.  Dithering might help this a bit too.

2)  You still have a fair amount of noise in the image so you really need more data.  Adding another 5-10x subs would really help.  (I know that might be a lot of time so you be the judge.)

3)  The color needs a lot of work but as you can see that's manageable.

4)  The bit depth of this stacked data doesn't appear to be very deep.  That causes the histograms to break up with only a little bit of stretch.  Be sure to accumulate the averaged data into a 32 bit floating array.

5)  You are picking up quite a bit of detail.  If you can get the s/n up another notch, you might be able to get a pretty detailed image.

 

This is a really good start and with a little bit more work, I think that you might be able to get some even better images out of this camera.  Way to go!

 

John

John,

 

Ok, I manage to get matlab to write TIFFs with 16bits per Color, also managed to work with the colors,  Hope it looks better.

 

Attached File  M57 7_26_2014 1_34_34 _stack51_Eccen0.6_GIMP_Registax3_3.jpg   498.4KB   3 downloads

 

Alvaro







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