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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
AP Images Taken with Original NexStar
      #4812554 - 09/17/11 11:15 AM

This thread is for the sake of people thinking if NexStar can take Astro Photo images, kind of additional equipment needed, methods, and advice. Hopefully, this thread will be able to answer their direct questions on NexStar for AP.

Here is the list of previous threads on this topic:
1. First massive NexStar AP thread, mostly DSLR
2. Second Massive NexStar AP thread, mix of DSLR and WebCams
3. Third Massive NexStar AP WebCam Thread

A separate Companion NexStar graduates thread discusses AP aspects one way or another related to NexStar, be that equipment, methods, or community formed around it. I will be mostly posting in that thread since I consider myself a "NexStar Graduate".

Edited by Alex Post (09/17/11 12:32 PM)


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812588 - 09/17/11 11:31 AM

I think it would be most appropriate to start this new thread with one of the last images from the previous massive thread, made by Eric (BLINEAU) with his NexStar 6SE from France:



A very clean Jupiter image immediately shows this very small platform capability.


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812601 - 09/17/11 11:38 AM

Eric is definitely emerging as a leading NexStar expert on planetary with his recent images of the Moon:



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Naturlich
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Reged: 10/30/09

Loc: Dukinfield, Cheshire, UK
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812606 - 09/17/11 11:41 AM

This is an amazing image of Jupiter and I only wish I knew why I never get images like that with my 10"!!! Given my equipment it can only be down to the one thing I can't change easily... my location/local conditions

Thanks for posting that Alex

Nat


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4812635 - 09/17/11 11:53 AM

Nat, that was my thought exactly. I can't fathom how Eric is doing image after image at that quality. He used Televue Barlow x3 and i-Nova PLA-Mx camera with his 6SE to make these images. I have TV Barlow x5 but yet to make a good use of it. I am not sure if Eric is using any "tricks" for his processing that make them consistently sharp. I believe it's a combination of good seeing conditions and fine tuned optical path in addition to his processing routine.

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Naturlich
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Reged: 10/30/09

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812704 - 09/17/11 12:42 PM

I agree Alex, thats why I think this thread is so important actually, when people can see what it being produced with equipment thats virtually identical to their own, it show's what they can aim for, of course as we have both found, equipment is only part of the equation, but direct comparison is a big help in the learning curve!

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svtdoug
sage


Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4813079 - 09/17/11 04:43 PM

Hi guys!

I've been following the imaging thread the last few days with all the interesting discussions!

I would just like to restate what others have so accurately stated, how helpful the original imaging thread has been to me and others as we have gone through evaluation and acquisition of our scopes, the setup and use, and the follow-on addition of imaging equipment. I have to tell you that this forum and the imaging thread was a major factor, no it WAS the factor, in my decision to purchase the 8SE.

I now see that we have two imaging threads, this one for original Nextstar scopes, and the "graduate" imaging threads. This will hopefully do two things - 1) encourage graduates, (and others that have never had a NexStar) to keep posting! It is so valuable to people like me to see what others are doing as they progress to other mounts, other OTA's, and other imaging systems! And, 2) encourage pure NexStar users to post their images - as crude as they may be.

My only reservation with splitting the images into two threads is that the "graduates" might tend to ignore the pure NexStar thread. This would be a real loss to the beginners, as they would miss valuable feedback and encouragement.

So it is with that thought that I challenge you graduates to keep involved in this pure NexStar thread.

Thanks for listening!

Doug


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Naturlich
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Reged: 10/30/09

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4813151 - 09/17/11 05:27 PM

Hi Guys!

This is an image I took last year when I first started imaging. This is taken with my 130SLT and a modified Logitech Fusion webcam at prime focus. I had to do the image in quarter moons and stitch them together in Photoshop.


Nat


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4813157 - 09/17/11 05:32 PM

Alright, here is deal with Ryan 211's Jupiter image from the last massive thread. Tel challenged me once again (the way he does that is so subtle, no?) to process the data. The data was collected with NexStar 8SE. Medium to better seeing conditions.

Here is my observations based on examining the original data:

1. Bands are clearly separated with some hint of more details on the edges.
2. Details inside of the lighter regions are not resolved, not even a hint.
3. Edge has a ghost image from the processing.

Based on this observations, I chose this strategy in potential improving the image:

1. Separate the bands even further with some contrast enhancement of the edges.
2. Do not bother with the internal regions of the bands, meaning do not apply much sharpening techniques such as wavelet parameter available in Registax at high frequency levels (Level 1 and 2).
3. Carefully watch for the edge and limit edge enhancing techniques to not cause severe degradation of the edge.

The steps I thought would be appropriate for strategy #1:
First, I loaded the original image without resizing in Registax and played with the wavelet sliders to extract a bit more definition of the edges, while keeping an eye on strategies 2 and 3.



After some moderate detail retrieval I saved the image as TIFF and opened it in Photoshop. Main goal in Photoshop was to increase color/intensity contrast to further emphasize separation of the bands. I used good old Curves to slightly modify the color curve:



After the slight curves, I applied some De-noise and Gaussian filters.

Finally, I loaded the output from Photoshop into a freeware tool that I am beginning to like more and more, RawTherapee. The RT has an interesting (and growing) capability to apply Deconvolution algorithms to further clean up the edges and carefully control amount of frequency noise in both color and intensity domains:



The ghost image of the edge was still bothering me. I returned to Photoshop, selected the black space around Rayn's Jupiter (it's not black) and applied a bit of the "Feather" to the selection. I then expanded the selection by a few pixels inside the image. Next, replaced the selection with the background color. Effectively, it meant shrinking the border of Jupiter inwards, removing the hard edge present in the ghost circle.

Finally, I resized the image in Preview on my Mac to get it fit into this forum requirements:



Can the resulting image match the clarity of Eric's 6SE images? No. Is it an improvement on the original? According to my set objectives, yes. The bands are more prominent, contrast is better. The edge ghost is not pronounced.

The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Is my processing "better" than Ryan's or Tel's? I am not the one to judge. I extracted features that I saw promising in his original image. My strategy and methods are for everyone to see. It took me about 3 hours to play with different settings and go back and forth on the tools. Was it worth it? Hell yes, it was fun.

Thank you for reading and watching.


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Skip
Starlifter Driver
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4813196 - 09/17/11 05:55 PM

Excellent, Alex!! You are so correct in your statement that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But regardless of our individual tastes, your work process is what is really excellent about your post. We can each play with the parameters to get whatever satisfies our particular tastes. Thanks so much!

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Smittty692k4
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Reged: 07/05/11

Loc: East Bernard, TX
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4813200 - 09/17/11 06:00 PM

I always thought that beauty was in the eye of the beerholder...? In which case it still might be Alex.

I cant wait til I get to try my hand and eyes in processing. Looks challenging and fun.


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4813202 - 09/17/11 06:01 PM

I would LOVE to play with Eric' data This is my thing, play with data. Preferably with raw imagery/video.

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Skip
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Reged: 01/23/08

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4813214 - 09/17/11 06:10 PM

Matt,

There is an excellent Yahoo Group that will let you practice processing and let you compare your results against the "experts". It also gives a recommended work process to use for processing images.

It is the dslr_astro_image_processing group. Go and join it. I'm finding it great fun and really valuable experience in the processing realm.

Oh, to do the processing according to the work flow, you have to have Photoshop, Carboni's Astro actions, and another great little program - Gradient Xterminator. Some of the folks on the group use other programs, like Gimp, for processing, rather than PS.

I have PS and I find the group a great help for learning the ins and outs of PS (complex program).


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svtdoug
sage


Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4813402 - 09/17/11 07:51 PM Attachment (200 downloads)

Skip,

Thanks for the info about the Yahoo processing group. That is just what I need.

Ok, here is an image that I am not proud of - but I have been working on this for some time and its the best I can get via processing. So feedback welcome and any recommendations for processing. The Fireworks Galaxy. Uggbits did a great job of capturing it and I was trying to get close. This one is a tough one!

Details: Taken over two nights - 1hr 30 min total exposure - 262 - 20 sec subs. XSi at ISO 1600. Stacked with DSS, levels and curves with GIMP.

I am puzzled by the red color of the galaxy that came out - quite different than Uggbits rather pale purple coloring. I am also not happy with all the noise in the image. This first image is pretty much over processed.

NGC 6946 - The Fireworks Galaxy

Comments?

Edited by svtdoug (09/17/11 07:58 PM)


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svtdoug
sage


Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4813406 - 09/17/11 07:53 PM Attachment (206 downloads)

Here is another image with a bit less processing, but still noisy. This is one tough galaxy!

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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4813437 - 09/17/11 08:16 PM

Doug, not sure what to say about the red color. Was it normal Canons XSi at prime focus with 8SE, no filter?

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Uggbits
sage


Reged: 04/28/10

Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4813462 - 09/17/11 08:29 PM

That is a rather odd colouring Doug. I don't really play around with the colours in my images much - I'm not very good at it, so I just go by Nasa images for reference, and if it looks close I don't touch it. I'm saying this so you don't think I've been pulling processing shenanigans on you!

First off, I can't remember how much integration time I had on that galaxy, but I do recall that A - it wasn't enough, and B - processing it was a nightmare.

You have the main galaxy image, including the dust lanes visible, so you are getting into the meat of what the galaxy has to offer, but your results are skewed to the red. I would suggest both more total exposure (sorry, I know this is easier said than done) and if you could a list of your DSS settings on the processing side, because we may be able to help you out there. As I said, this was one tough puppy.

Off the top of my head I would say that you should try RGB background calibration on maximum to get the data mountains lined up, and let us know how that small step goes.

If I can find it I'll figure out how to make my data available to you, and you can play with it. I feel like I did 45 second subs (Astronomics says you can go "up to" five minutes in alt/az - hah!) without too much rotation. Might have been one minute subs come to think of it. Total integration was 2h 15m (looked it up).

As I was re-reading this I downloaded your pic and looked into the data on it. There is quite a bit of red signal compared to the other two. If I boost the red curve, more of the galaxy shows, but if I boost the other two it just changes the colour. I think this is just because I'm working with a JPEG, but I'm not positive. Try restacking and give it anouther go. Good luck!


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svtdoug
sage


Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4813597 - 09/17/11 09:36 PM

Hi Alex,

Yes, normal, un-modded XSi at prime focus, no filters.

Uggbits,

Yes, it looks like the red was intensified, but I did not touch any color balance in processing. Funny, when I look at the image after stacking in DSS, then play with the levels and curves in DSS, there is no color at all.

In the images above, I did no processing in DSS, I went directly into GIMP and used levels and curves only. I am wondering if GIMP is the problem - maybe holding me back, as it is limited to 8 bit processing?

I assume you are using PS. What version? I may have to make an investment in software...

Thanks for your comments and suggestions!

Doug


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svtdoug
sage


Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4813607 - 09/17/11 09:45 PM Attachment (169 downloads)

Uggbits,

Attached is my fileList from DSS. I think it will show all the settings I used. I'll try stacking again with the RGB background calibration on max.

Thanks!


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Smittty692k4
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Reged: 07/05/11

Loc: East Bernard, TX
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4813827 - 09/17/11 11:54 PM

Thanks for that Skip. I eill join tomorrow, hopefully get some time to tinker around. Its bed time for me. Work sucked today, but at least we FINALLY got some rain!!

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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4813925 - 09/18/11 01:09 AM

Doug, if you could export a TIFF from DSS, then resize/save as JPG without any manipulations in GIMP, we could have a look. Of course it would be better to look at the TIFF, if you have a place where you can store it.

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svtdoug
sage


Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814039 - 09/18/11 04:26 AM

Alex,

You can download the TIFF from DSS here - Download I am anxious to see what you can do with the image. It is the original stacked image from DSS with no tweaking in DSS.

I've been running a re-stack all evening...(its a long one) but its still running.

Thanks Alex!

Doug


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BLINEAU
super member


Reged: 05/23/11

Loc: Paris, France
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4814090 - 09/18/11 05:57 AM

Hi guys !

I understand this is the place I post now. My last animation (09/16/11) :



Regards
Eric


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Alex Post
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4814186 - 09/18/11 08:23 AM

Eric, outstanding image and animation. In several frames the details in the bands are clearly visible. Also, the structure around the GRS in the middle of animation shows some details in the wall, so it's not just a spot. There are details both in north and south regions. How many raw frames did you use per animation frame? Thanks.

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BLINEAU
super member


Reged: 05/23/11

Loc: Paris, France
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814257 - 09/18/11 09:34 AM

Thanks Alex,

20 videos in SER format, 5 minutes spaced. In each video, 1200 frames @ 30-35 fps, 800 stacked for each image. I had a registration's problem with Registax6 for the 7th frame of the animation, so 300 frames stacked only for it (unfortunately, the defect is clearly visible in this 7th animation's picture).

Eric


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4814430 - 09/18/11 11:47 AM

Quote:

Alex,

You can download the TIFF from DSS here - Download I am anxious to see what you can do with the image. It is the original stacked image from DSS with no tweaking in DSS.

I've been running a re-stack all evening...(its a long one) but its still running.

Thanks Alex!

Doug




Doug, I am looking at the FireworksA.tiff from your Google docs site. It appear the image is not oriented the same as the one posted above. When I went to compare my versions and what you posted they looked like images from different stacking. Is that correct?


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Alex Post
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814471 - 09/18/11 12:22 PM Attachment (105 downloads)

This is quite a tough target indeed. I tried to control star bloating while trying to squeeze the data from very very dark portion of the image. There is more signal there, no doubt, but getting that signal leads to some non-pleasant looking fireworks. One thing for sure, I did not find a problem with the color balance. The image did not look red. The histogram in Photshop after loading and stretching looked very even. I did only minor color corrections to get the core of the galaxy to neutral grey because it was lacking some blue. The rest of the dark was pretty close to neutral gray already. Thanks for sharing.

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Skip
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4814523 - 09/18/11 12:56 PM

Hi Doug,

I dl'd it and worked on it for about an hour in PS. I got the colors aligned pretty well but I couldn't get the detail in the galaxy that you had in the second attempt, without stretching so much that it looked a mess. I tried some noise reduction and that seemed to help a bit but not enough. I used the Despeckle command in PS to do it. I still haven't got Carboni's Actions (PS plug-ins) yet. Some of his stuff is downright magical and may help. I'm going to let it sit for a spell and try again later. But I'm a PS neophyte, so no promises.


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Skip
Starlifter Driver
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814547 - 09/18/11 01:04 PM

Alex,

I agree that the colors were pretty well balanced after my intial stretch. But the red histogram was quite a bit broader that the other two. I managed to get them all about the same width. That's what I meant about getting the colors aligned. My end result wasn't too far from yours, except that all my despeckling to get rid of the noise made it a bit fuzzier. Just didn't like it enough to post it. So I deleted it so I could start over. Actually I like your attempt. Might be about all we can do with it.


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Alex Post
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4814600 - 09/18/11 01:34 PM

Skip, I can definitely echo your comments. Getting this image to the state that I posted is quite doable in the first 20-30 minutes. Getting it improved takes hours and result looks only barely better if at all. Since I started processing low signal to noise ratio images like those coming from DSO NexStar, it tells me that we are hitting the limit of what can be achieved given data we have.

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Alex Post
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814695 - 09/18/11 02:30 PM

I apologize for not responding sooner to a couple of PMs related to how I connect my DSLR to the NexStar. I thought a few other people may benefit from this picture:



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Uggbits
sage


Reged: 04/28/10

Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814753 - 09/18/11 03:07 PM Attachment (80 downloads)

I gave a run at the data side of it seeing that the two of you had looked at colour. I think the biggest problem here is there isn't enough integration time, and the calibration didn't control noise properly.

Half of my battle with trying to find signal in this image was dispensing of the noise around it - no easy feat.

Doug, try to grab lots of darks to improve the calibration next time, and supplement that with bias, and (if you know how to do them) flats. This will clean your image so you aren't fighting these other aberrations as you are hunting down the signal. Also, this is an image where 5-8 hours of data is needed to really get into the meat of it. I did 2 hours on it and I was pushing it on processing even then: the noise starts to creep up on you.


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4814769 - 09/18/11 03:15 PM

As Uggbits illustrates very well here, pushing this data just by a few ticks leads to a definite additional signal, but at the expense of any semblance of beauty.

As far grabbing lots of additional darks, the AP gods (Jerry Lodriguss and Samir Kharusi) recommend around 50.

Jerry Lodriguss site
Samir Kharusi Site

Both Jerry and Samir post on CN. Look them up! I read each one of their posts, their results are amazing.

Jerry published a couple of books, but he is always ready to share his knowledge with anyone asking for his advice. He published many chapters from his books online. I butted heads with him a couple of times but eventually had to admit I was wrong on all accounts.

Samir does not have a book (yet), but his observations and comments are always edgy and to the point. No *BLEEP* footing, just raw data, results, and their blunt assessment.

Between Jerry and Samir, the DSLR/CCD forum is a tough crowd to impress. But if you are not into what I describe my kids' American school system "good-try-Johny", then the tough crowd gets everyone's level higher rather than keeping it at a mediocre level. Do not be mistaken, this group on CN is best to none, so that bar is high. There is a group in Italy making some amazing work, but we are yet to make a connection with them.

We have seen some amazing results from the NexStar crowd in the last few weeks, keep them coming guys.


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Alex Post
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814831 - 09/18/11 03:42 PM

Don't be shy guys. I am getting PMs on filters and other questions related to imaging with NexStar. Post your questions here without any hesitation, I am begging you.

Specific questions we need to answer is applicability of Ha-filter with NexStar. I will buy one eventually and will try it, but my CFO would murder me if I did it right now. If anyone (hint, hint haytor ) has an access to one, can you post what 30 second samples look like through the C8 OTA? Thanks.


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svtdoug
sage


Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814850 - 09/18/11 03:51 PM

Alex, Uggbits and Skip,

Thanks guys for all your help and effort to try to get something out of the data. I re-stacked everything last evening with RGB background calibration - but it really didn't help. The galaxy was still red after levels and curves in Gimp and the background was messed up - outer areas turned purple.

I then choose a different reference frame (never have chosen a reference frame before in DSS! Probably should.) and re-stacted overnight. Then in Gimp the Galaxy appeared greenish. Based on that result, AND that both Alex and Uggbits processed and saw no reddish hue, and when I do the processing in DSS I get no reddish color, I can conclude that GIMP is causing the problems with the color.

I appreciate that there just is not enough data there for better results. I will try to capture more if we get some clear skies in the next week or so.

About Dark frames - I used 20 darks. When I stack, I am using the combined dark frame rather than re-stacking the 20 seperate darks. I assume this gives me the same results. Maybe I should try restacking the 20 to see if that give better results??

What version of PS are you all using? Is PS Elements a viable solution, or do you really need the big $ version?

Many thanks for all your help. This imaging stuff is an interesting road, sometimes with major potholes! Currently searching for the expressway!

Cheers,
Doug


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svtdoug
sage


Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814862 - 09/18/11 03:55 PM

Alex,
Thanks for posting that photo of your filter/T-adapter. I assume the T-adapter slips into the SCT to 2" female adapter. I have the screw in SCT/T-Adapter. When I went to try my new 2" filter it would not thread into the T-adapter. Now I know why. I figured the SCT/T-adapter was the way to go, but now I see the advantage of your setup. Meanwhile I returned the 2" filter to be exchanged for the SCT screw-in type filter. That will work but won't on another future scope like a refractor. The filter is a Astronomik CLS filter - probably should get the type that fits right into the camera. Disadvantage then is I won't be able to use it visually. Maybe call them tomorrow and see if I can change that order.

Thanks!
Doug


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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4814867 - 09/18/11 04:00 PM

Thanks for posting that pic Alex. Looks so simple now.

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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4814902 - 09/18/11 04:20 PM Attachment (71 downloads)

Doug, I have both Photoshop CS3 Full version and the PS Elements. I was able to get the CS3 while still affiliated with academia at a deep deep discount. There is no way I would be able to buy it now. That is why I bought PS Elements earlier this year.

The real reason I keep using CS3 is ability to adjust Curves. PS Elements does not allow random point on the curve selection. In CS3 I can Ctrl-Click anywhere on image and it places a control point on the curve. If you look on page 14 and 15 in this guide to imaging with NexStar it shows how easy it is to extract minor feature details. Elements is still useful with ability to work with curves, but nowhere close to full version PS.


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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814941 - 09/18/11 04:35 PM

Thanks Alex,

A quick check on ebay and you can pick up CS3 pretty cheap - around $20. Don't know if there is a down side to that?? I also see CS3 Extended, not sure if that would be useful. So much to learn...

I have used your guide a lot for getting started, but have not read the PS part carefully because I don't have the software. I'll dig into it more now - as that is likely the route I will take.

Many thanks.
Doug


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4814954 - 09/18/11 04:40 PM

Quote:

Thanks for posting that pic Alex. Looks so simple now.


Haha, believe it or not but that was an accidental discovery when I was trying to connect the parts I had. I spent many hours dwelling on how I could do filters with my setup.

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Ryan 211
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814961 - 09/18/11 04:45 PM

Sorry for the late response Alex - but thanks for taking that image through its paces. Being the extreme novice I am, I appreciate you taking the time to add additional processing.

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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Ryan 211]
      #4814972 - 09/18/11 04:52 PM

Ryan, novice or not, your use of the tools on hand and working with the data you were able to collect, was balanced and resulted in above average for NexStar results. Eric set a new bar for the NexStar and I am sure you are scratching your head as I am.

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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814993 - 09/18/11 05:08 PM

Correction - Photoshop CS3 is going for around $150 on ebay, about the same for CS4 and a bit more for CS5. So what version should I aim for? And is the Extended version of any help with AP? Conventional wisdom says go for the latest, but sometimes that is not true - sometimes newer being more clunky and complicated.

Thanks guys!


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4815037 - 09/18/11 07:48 PM

I picked up T-thread to 2" adapter here: http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=7745



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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4815060 - 09/18/11 07:59 PM

Quote:

Correction - Photoshop CS3 is going for around $150 on ebay, about the same for CS4 and a bit more for CS5. So what version should I aim for? And is the Extended version of any help with AP? Conventional wisdom says go for the latest, but sometimes that is not true - sometimes newer being more clunky and complicated.

Thanks guys!



I do not think there were any changes worthy AP enthusiasts attention since CS2. Carboni's tools work identical in all versions. Carboni's tool is cheap add on with great value. I am still using a few functions. However, as I learned a bit Carboni's has its limitations and sometimes nothing can replace Curves tweaking. I am referring to the all time favorite Local Contrast Enhancement (LCE).


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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4815123 - 09/18/11 08:24 PM



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Ryan 211
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4815169 - 09/18/11 08:44 PM

So Alex, I must ask - why the full 2" light path? Isn't the camera you're using a crop sensor? So there shouldn't be any vingetting (sp?), I think. Just personal preference and use of filters?

Just curious as I'm using 1.25" and didn't know what the advantages would be for imaging with 2".


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Ryan 211]
      #4815216 - 09/18/11 09:10 PM

Ryan, I can't give you a justified answer other than I thought 2" would be "better" It worked very well for me since most of the accessories I have are 2".

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Ryan 211
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4815257 - 09/18/11 09:34 PM

Sounds good - I can understand the "better" justification.

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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Ryan 211]
      #4815805 - 09/19/11 07:42 AM Attachment (98 downloads)

Since Alex restarted this thread, I will add the moon.

Taken with...

Nexstar 8SE
Baader Zoom @ 24MM 1.25"
iPhone
No Processing


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4816302 - 09/19/11 01:53 PM

Hi Doug,

Alex gave a good answer on which one to buy and the difference between one of the CS versions and Elements. I would definitely go with one of the CS versions (CS4 if I could afford it) becasuse of the more versatile curves function. You will probably use curves at least as often than levels and most likely a lot more often. One of the things Neal Heacock emphasizes is those multiple anchor or mode points to help in getting a smooth and versatile curve.

Matt: I think you had a question about Noel Carboni's Astro Actions. Having those actions which were recorded by Noel Carboni(they are really like mini-applications that you record in PS to automate a series of things you frequently do) is like having a Photoshop guru in your pocket and will probably be the best $22 you ever spent. Many of the actions have hundreds of steps and not only are the results very good, they save you tons of time. They come as a downloadable plug-in and you can purchase them from ProDigital Software on the web at http://www.prodigitalsoftware.com/Astronomy_Tools_For_Full_Version.html. I would say - VERY worthwhile!

BTW, you can record your own actions in PS too. But to try to replicate Noel's actions would take you probably years of experience in PS and lots of practice. Your time is worth something, isn't it?

Alex: Why CS4 instead of CS2 or 3? OCD is the only explanation I can come up with. My wife got CS4 for me while she had a student discount and I'm too cheap to spring for CS5, which would add almost nothing to my use of PS.


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4816311 - 09/19/11 01:57 PM

Hmmm... Seems I have a broken link. Try this one: Link

Beats the stuffin' out of me why the other didn't work Same url. Oh well, the mysteries of cyberspace!


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Ryan 211
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4816862 - 09/19/11 07:06 PM

Matt - not bad at all for the iPhone. I remember using a point and shoot help up the the eyepiece before I got a DSLR - yours turned out better than any luck I had with that method.

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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Ryan 211]
      #4817194 - 09/19/11 10:25 PM

Skip, I got CS3 and would not argue for anything better than CS2, from AP perspective.

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4817205 - 09/19/11 10:35 PM

Matt, very nice image with iPhone. The problem that I can see is that from middle and lower there is a bit of brownish color as compared to mostly grey image. In general, I am VERY interested what can be done with mass market devices like the iPone. Thanks for posting.

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Ryan 211
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4817207 - 09/19/11 10:36 PM

Alex, since this thread seems to be open to questions regarding AP with the standard NexStar mount, I hope you don't mind fielding another question.

In some of your earlier imaging of the Plato crater, I believe you are using EP-projection. How exactly do you get a setup like that? I know that the Hyperion EPs have threads, and some chain of adapters could link it all together. But when it comes to function-wise, I'm not sure I can make sense of it in my head. Wouldn't you have to focus between the scope and EP, as well as somehow between the EP and DSLR? Or am I overthinking it and focusing the scope will go "through" the EP somehow and come into focus with the DSLR? Not sure if I'm making sense - but hopefully I am enough for you to understand my question.


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Ryan 211]
      #4817232 - 09/19/11 10:51 PM

Ryan, smart people at Baader and elsewhere figured it out for us. I would not even pretend to understand how optics work. I know that when I insert the Hyperions into the 1.25" or 2" holders as if for normal viewing, only instead of my eye there is a camera attached. The attachment between the Hyperion EP and the camera is super easy: all Hyperions have a thread hiding under the rubber cap. You remove the rubber cap, thread in adapter for t-thread and attach a camera. I will post a picture of the setup shortly.

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Ryan 211
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4817249 - 09/19/11 10:56 PM

Hey Alex - thanks for the link to the adapter. Think I see a purchase in my future...

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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Ryan 211]
      #4817782 - 09/20/11 10:11 AM

Alex, I found the T-ring for my wife's Canon DSLR, and the 2" T-Thread adapter, but could not find the 2" SCT female adapter. Could you post a link? Thank you!!

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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4818343 - 09/20/11 02:38 PM

I called OPT to find that 2" SCT female adapter, the fellow could not find it at the time, waiting for a call back.

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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4818364 - 09/20/11 02:45 PM

Matt,

Did you see all your responses (including mine) to your post on the Yahoo DSLR Astro Image Processing Group?

Skip,

Great recommendation on the imaging group. I went through one of Niel's video tutorials (M-31) and found it very, very helpful, even as he is using PS and I am using GIMP - much of it applies. So for anyone who has not discovered that group and who would like to learn more about processing astro images, a hearty recommendation. Yahoo DSLR AP Processing Group


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4819253 - 09/20/11 11:24 PM

Doug,

I've been through all of his video walkthroughs and I learn more each time I see one. I've seen a couple of them twice, in that I use the video and run PS at the same time. When he says to do X step, I pause the video and go to PS to do the step. Then back to the video for the next step, etc. What a concept - learn by doing!


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TmaninTn
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4825411 - 09/24/11 03:00 PM Attachment (80 downloads)

Last night I played around some more with Jupiter but the Red Spot was hiding...

Astrocap settings: f/10, shutter 1/25, about 400 frames. 3X barlow and Neximage, Processed in Reg 6 and Gimp...

Edited by TmaninTn (09/24/11 03:44 PM)


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4835363 - 09/30/11 03:26 AM

Hi !

Near Paris (France), an animation of Jupiter, Io and the GRS, 09/28/2011 between 01:44TU and 3:28TU. 52 frames.



NexStar 6SE, Televue Barlow x3, PLA-Mx, IR-cut filter.

Regards
Eric


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Peter9
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4835402 - 09/30/11 05:18 AM

Thats a great video Eric.

I watched that happen visually last night.

Thanks for posting.

Regards... Peter.


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Naturlich
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4835832 - 09/30/11 11:33 AM

It's official, I hate eric!



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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4835856 - 09/30/11 11:46 AM

Thanks !

@ Naturlich : I'll take that as a compliment

Eric


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Arthur Dent
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4835858 - 09/30/11 11:48 AM

It was - you've just got to appreciate Nat's sense of humour!

Another great video Eric.



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Naturlich
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4835919 - 09/30/11 12:24 PM



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TmaninTn
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4836015 - 09/30/11 01:21 PM

I'm glad Eric is here to set the bar for images of Jupiter with a 6SE. It gives me a goal to shoot for.

Awesome stuff Eric! Keep it up!


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4836163 - 09/30/11 02:45 PM

Wonderful imaging/video-ing, Eric ! Many congratulations "

Any chance of putting some sort of a tutorial together for all, I'm sure, interested parties, on the method(s) you're using here to achieve such excellent planetary detail ?

Best regards,
Tel


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4836224 - 09/30/11 03:22 PM

Thank you Tim and Tel.

You know Tel, my english isn't good enough for making a tutorial. Sorry.

For the imaging part, here is the PLX file (except the time, the same for each film) :

FileFormat=SER
Camera=i-Nova PLA-Mx
BeginRec=2011-09-28T03:44:00.828
EndRec=2011-09-28T03:44:38.062
ExpTime=25ms
ImageDimensions={Width=640, Height=480}
Resolution=FULL
SavedFrames=1200
ReadoutMode=8,FAST
Gain=595
BlackLevel=0
Origin=PlxCapture

For the processing part : Registax 6 in batch for the 52 films, multi-point alignment, 800 frames stacked, linked wavelets.

Because of field rotation due to my altaz mount, I had to make the equatorials horizontality with WinJUPOS. It was a long and difficult part !!!

For the animation part, simply made with GIMP.

Eric


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4836232 - 09/30/11 03:25 PM

Outstanding images/video, Eric. You are setting a gold standard for us.

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Arthur Dent
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4836236 - 09/30/11 03:27 PM

Eric, you are too modest. Your English is near perfect.

Eric, vous êtes trop modeste. Votre anglais est presque parfait.

J'espère que OK traduits.

Sincèrement

Art


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4836368 - 09/30/11 04:36 PM

Oui Art, c'est très bonne traduction !

Yes Art, very good translation ! ... Google Translate is my friend too !!!

Thanks a lot Skip, I am not worthy for a such honor !

Regards
Eric


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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4836482 - 09/30/11 05:59 PM Attachment (94 downloads)

Ok Ok... Enough of the GOOD pic and vids. Be prepared to be blown away with the iPhone again.

Ok, not really blown away, but I am really wanting to know the limits of the iPhone and processing.

Stacking isnt an issue, but I dont think theres enough resolution within the iPhone to take in detail.. Theres alot of light, but no detail in it (none that I have found)

REGARDLESS, this is Jupiter + moons with an iPhone..
Stacked and attempted photoshop.

About the only thing I could get away with in PS was to select the planet and moon, inverse, and black out the background, leaving all 5 spherical shapes.

Anywho, enjoy and critique. (Is critique french? HAHA)


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Arthur Dent
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4836491 - 09/30/11 06:10 PM

So that's an afocal image taken with an iPhone

Gallileo would be green with envy!


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4838792 - 10/02/11 08:10 AM

Hi guys !

Yes, sorry, me again !

Last night (02/10/2011) was a nice night in Paris. Since a week, the temperature is high the journey (30°C) and also at night 20°C min.



Setup : NexStar 6SE, Televue Barlow x3, SPC900, IR-Block filter.

Eric


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4839359 - 10/02/11 01:43 PM

Eric, another very fine image of Jupiter, this time in color too. You inspire me to do more work on Jupiter with the NexStar.

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4839495 - 10/02/11 02:48 PM

I admit, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but trying to setup Batch/Macro mode in Registax is making me want to go kill myself. They state that it's easier to do it in version 6 than ever before. Eric, what do you use for your batch file processing for the animations?

I am processing them frames now by hand. I am on frame 3 out of 72.


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4839685 - 10/02/11 04:16 PM

This post could go in either NexStar or the Graduates thread, but I decided to place it here for one reason. The reason being simplicity of the AP method for planetary imaging, which in my mind would help NexStar AP enthusiast the most.

Here is the scoop: prime focus imaging with a barlow. I am sure this method has been used in the past by NexStarians, but I "discovered" it for myself just very recently:



The idea is that you use the prime focus imaging setup, which requires as most of you know absolutely nothing other than a scope and a camera. I was doing most of my planetary imaging using Hyperion EPs. One idea was on my mind for a long time: what if I insert a barlow between the scope and the camera without an EP? Would it work at all? Again, I will claim complete ignorance how optics work.

I looked around and found a place that sells adapters to connect camera T-rings with standard 1.25" holders: Adapaters I did not know if this contraption is going to come into focus and bought the #TAPP, which is a combination of the #TADP and an extension tube. Long story short, the #TADP piece is all that is needed to connect the barlow and the camera.



Since I have the TV 5x barlow, it was a nice and astonishingly simple method of doing planetary imaging at just about the sweet spot for the Alt-Az mount with an F10 scope. What I mean by that is that since Alt-Az tends to drift every which way once you start magnifying, it's a balance between magnification and the speed of the image drifting outside of the frame. Here is a full frame image of the Jupiter with this method:



My technique is not up to Eric's new standard just yet, obviously, but I hope this simple method of prime imaging with barlow is known to a wide audience.


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flboy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4839957 - 10/02/11 06:22 PM

Wow Alex! Very nice indeed!!

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JB@DISL
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: flboy]
      #4840277 - 10/02/11 09:34 PM

Ok, so here goes nothin!

For my first post here at CN I'd thought I'd entertain yall with an example of my first steps into AP. It's also my first attempt using DSS, M31:

3x 30 second images. Nexstar 8se, f6.3 FLR, Canon Rebel XT.
It might not look like much, but I'm pretty psyched about some of the dark bands I can see (on my good monitor at least). It's also my first attempt at a galaxy. I chose the 3 best of about 10 images total. I get a lot of scope shake due to the constant wind on the Island where I live. That's my biggest challenge at the moment. A few lessons learned, and many, many more to come.

And the token moon shot:


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4840687 - 10/03/11 03:50 AM

Quote:

I admit, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but trying to setup Batch/Macro mode in Registax is making me want to go kill myself. They state that it's easier to do it in version 6 than ever before. Eric, what do you use for your batch file processing for the animations?

I am processing them frames now by hand. I am on frame 3 out of 72.




Yes Alex, I use the Macro/Batch mode in Registax 6. Very easy in R6. I suppose you have seen this tuto : http://www.astronomie.be/registax/previewbatch.html

Eric


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4840697 - 10/03/11 04:11 AM

Hi Alex,

Nice imaging from a nicely devised set-up ! Congratulations !

Your notes regarding magnification and image drift are, I believe, also particularly relevant to Kim's latest thread and support that which I replied in answer to his question on this particular phenomenon associated with Nexstar mounts.

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4840700 - 10/03/11 04:22 AM Attachment (67 downloads)

Hi Jake,

A very warm welcome to CN and to this particular forum.

Many congratulations too on your first image post. I saw what you meant about the dust lanes you'd also captured within M31 so made an attempt to bring them to the fore a little more. I hope you don't mind.

This small amount of processing also seems to have brought its satellite galaxy M32 to some prominence.

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4840765 - 10/03/11 06:43 AM

Hi Jake,

Welcome to the Forum



Those are two nice images and Tel's reprocessing has brought out those dust lanes.

Kudos to both of you


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4840790 - 10/03/11 07:12 AM

Hi Jake & Welcome to our little corner of Cloudy Nights!

Nice job on M33 and the Moon! As you can see from Tel's reprocessing, you took a better image than you thought! Processing is half the battle with astrophotography and there's a ton to learn on that end of it! But it looks like you're enjoying getting started!

-Dan


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4841369 - 10/03/11 01:11 PM

Beautiful Jupiter, Alex!!

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JB@DISL
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4842136 - 10/03/11 07:31 PM

Hey guys, thanks for all the warm welcomes!
Quote:

I saw what you meant about the dust lanes you'd also captured within M31 so made an attempt to bring them to the fore a little more. I hope you don't mind.



I don't mind at all, Tel. That's much more like what I was looking for. If you don't mind me asking, what did you do to get that effect?

I've gone through a few tutorials on some processing techniques, but not nearly enough. Also, I shot all my images for this in JPEG instead of RAW, so I didn't have as much data to work with to in the first place.


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: JB@DISL]
      #4842314 - 10/03/11 09:11 PM Attachment (46 downloads)

Thats all I could get out of it. At the end of processing, you either can sacrafice dust lanes and dark for brightness and discoloration. But Still a nice challange!!

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4842702 - 10/04/11 01:17 AM

Pretty amazing how much data is in 3x 30sec shots. Matt's processing is quite remarkable.

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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4842745 - 10/04/11 02:13 AM

Hi guys !

Turbulence was fair in Paris last night :


FileFormat=SER
Camera=i-Nova PLA-Mx
BeginRec=2011-10-04T03:51:30.515
EndRec=2011-10-04T03:51:54.218
ExpTime=25ms
ImageDimensions={Width=320, Height=240}
Resolution=BIN
SavedFrames=1200 (buffered)
ReadoutMode=8,FAST
Gain=259
BlackLevel=0
FilterWheel=
Filter= (slot 0)
Origin=PlxCapture




FileFormat=SER
Camera=i-Nova PLA-Mx
BeginRec=2011-10-04T04:12:14.828
EndRec=2011-10-04T04:12:38.734
ExpTime=25ms
ImageDimensions={Width=320, Height=240}
Resolution=BIN
SavedFrames=1200 (buffered)
ReadoutMode=8,FAST
Gain=219
BlackLevel=0
FilterWheel=
Filter= (slot 0)
Origin=PlxCapture




FileFormat=SER
Camera=i-Nova PLA-Mx
BeginRec=2011-10-04T04:27:28.812
EndRec=2011-10-04T04:27:53.718
ExpTime=25ms
ImageDimensions={Width=640, Height=480}
Resolution=FULL
SavedFrames=1200 (buffered)
ReadoutMode=8,FAST
Gain=379
BlackLevel=0
FilterWheel=
Filter= (slot 0)
Origin=PlxCapture


Have a good day

Eric


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: JB@DISL]
      #4842800 - 10/04/11 04:39 AM

Quote:

Hey guys, thanks for all the warm welcomes!
Quote:

I saw what you meant about the dust lanes you'd also captured within M31 so made an attempt to bring them to the fore a little more. I hope you don't mind.



I don't mind at all, Tel. That's much more like what I was looking for. If you don't mind me asking, what did you do to get that effect?

I've gone through a few tutorials on some processing techniques, but not nearly enough. Also, I shot all my images for this in JPEG instead of RAW, so I didn't have as much data to work with to in the first place.




Hi Jake,

Thank you for not minding my playing with your original image.

What did I do? Not much really.

I use an old but serviceable CS2 version of Photoshop and in this case, merely applied Levels and Curves to bring out the detail in your image a little more plus the use of the Photo Filter (blue) application to give it, in my view, a more appealing overall colour. That was it !

As to its capture in Jpeg, well, you obviously appreciate that Raw would have been better.

Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Best regards,
Tel


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4843360 - 10/04/11 11:43 AM

Tel and Matt,

Good work! Probably are not going to get anymore out of that jpeg file. Since saving in a jpeg compresses the image by getting rid of some of the data, there probably isn't much left there. I've stopped even trying to get anything out of jpeg files. Your results are MUCH better than mine would be!


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4843542 - 10/04/11 01:27 PM

I owe my data processing to you Skip. All I did was follow Neil's steps the best I could. I made a flow chart like his to use.
The saturation killed it. Thats only 1 itteration. Anymore and the light pixels in the galaxy became RGB'd in color


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Geo.
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4845034 - 10/05/11 11:32 AM Attachment (64 downloads)

This will give you an idea of the limitations of the 1.25" rear port of the smaller Celestron SCTs. Only the very high line DSLRs and astro cams use the 35mm film format. APS-H is limited to a Canon midline model. All other Canons use the APS-C sensor. The new 4/3rds cameras are interesting, but still very expensive. The KAF1603 is used in the SBIG ST-8 and the 0402 in the ST-7.

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4846668 - 10/06/11 08:38 AM

Quote:


Yes Alex, I use the Macro/Batch mode in Registax 6. Very easy in R6. I suppose you have seen this tuto : http://www.astronomie.be/registax/previewbatch.html

Eric



Thanks Eric, finally figured it out. Processing in progress, a few more hours to go.

How do you align images into animation? Photoshop?


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4846815 - 10/06/11 10:17 AM

Quote:

Quote:


Yes Alex, I use the Macro/Batch mode in Registax 6. Very easy in R6. I suppose you have seen this tuto : http://www.astronomie.be/registax/previewbatch.html

Eric



Thanks Eric, finally figured it out. Processing in progress, a few more hours to go.

How do you align images into animation? Photoshop?




Hi Alex!

For the animation below, I aligned with GIMP 2.6.


For this, the technique is different (WinJUPOS):


I'm still learning the technique, it's the first time I use WinJUPOS for an animation. 11 images (not all the 53 frames used for the first animation), Jupiter is not a perfect circle, satellites and the shadow disappears ... Much work to be done to achieve what I want to do!

Eric


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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4846845 - 10/06/11 10:26 AM

If there was such a thing as perfect animation, the second one is as close as Ive seen. Way to wow us again Eric!!

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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4846860 - 10/06/11 10:34 AM

Thanks Matt ! I'm a perfectionist guy ... quality or default, I don't know ...

Eric


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4846878 - 10/06/11 10:42 AM

Eric:

Just amazing! Look on the web for Anthony Wesley's photos of Jupiter - the one's that show the impacts in recent years. He's using a 14.5" reflector for those images and this pretty darned close in terms of resolution and clarity!

Have you posted these in the Beginning and Intermediate Imaging forum? If not, you should. Those guys could learn something from you!

-Dan


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4846904 - 10/06/11 10:52 AM

Hello Dan !

I know him and his beautiful photos. But I'm at 1000 light years away from them. But thank you for the compliment!

Eric


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4846945 - 10/06/11 11:08 AM

Quote:

But I'm at 1000 light years away from them.




Sorry to take issue with you, Eric, but no you are NOT! Your images of Jupiter are right up there with the best of them, including lots of professional images! You do amazing work. So I agree with Dan, go over and post in the imaging forums. You will very likely get similar comments there. But PLEASE keep posting here too!!


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4846965 - 10/06/11 11:18 AM

OK guys, I'll do that ... and I promise here too !

Eric


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4848052 - 10/06/11 10:19 PM

Remarkable. I want to learn your techniques.

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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4848401 - 10/07/11 05:35 AM

Thx Alex ! I tried to follow the instructions of this site (with a Google translation of course !) : http://objectstyle.org/astronominsk/Other/Articles/Mars_globe/Mars_globe.htm

I've posted the same animation on two french forums but the answers are not positives, because it's not 'natural'

Eric


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4848489 - 10/07/11 07:13 AM

Quote:

I've posted the same animation on two french forums but the answers are not positives, because it's not 'natural'




Not natural? What the heck does that mean? Do they mean it's not natural because it is many images stacked together and processed? That is the *normal* way that astro images are created. I can't imagine what their objection is to these images and videos. Are theose French forums astronomy forums or general photography forums?

-Dan


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4848524 - 10/07/11 08:09 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I've posted the same animation on two french forums but the answers are not positives, because it's not 'natural'




Not natural? What the heck does that mean? Do they mean it's not natural because it is many images stacked together and processed? That is the *normal* way that astro images are created. I can't imagine what their objection is to these images and videos. Are theose French forums astronomy forums or general photography forums?

-Dan




Yes, french astronomy forums (astrosurf.fr and webastro.net). The critic is, for example, that the differential rotation of small spots above the GRS disappears ... so this kind of animation don't presents reality. It's not false !

Eric


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4848528 - 10/07/11 08:14 AM

Hi Eric,

Your animation video is awesome!!

And please continue posting these wonderful images!!!


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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: flboy]
      #4848745 - 10/07/11 11:01 AM

Im not an expert, but I am pretty sure if you were to sit at the scope for 8+ hours and watch Jupiter the ENTIRE night, then the animation you posted and what you would see would be extemely close. Dont pay attention to the negativity, is more than likely jealousy.

I mean, dont get me wrong, Im jealous that you can do that, and I look forward to trying, but there is no negativity comming at you from this forum.

2 THUMBS UP FOR ERIC!!


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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4848750 - 10/07/11 11:02 AM

If you go back to the 5th page, you will see the extent of my Jupiter imaging. So just think of that when you compare your images with others.

That should inspire confidence.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4849178 - 10/07/11 03:42 PM

What you see with your scope and camera "is" reality. If a feature is missing temporarily, you can blame it on the atmosphere or the planet. In other words, it's not your fault.

That's what my wife said and I would have to agree.


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Arthur Dent
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arctic_Eddie]
      #4849431 - 10/07/11 06:50 PM

There is an idea that nothing is "real" until it is observed - but that's getting into the bowels of Quantum Theory!

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4849962 - 10/08/11 05:50 AM

Quote:

There is an idea that nothing is "real" until it is observed - but that's getting into the bowels of Quantum Theory!





Which "Stinks" if you ask me.


Regards. Peter.


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Arthur Dent
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4849970 - 10/08/11 05:57 AM



(see Peter, it's still there)

--------------------
Regards,

Art

PS Anyone able to make a bumper-sticker? I want a couple that say "Quantum Theory REALLY messes with your head!"


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4852730 - 10/09/11 08:11 PM

Eyepiece projection vs barlow.

I got a chance to get out a couple of days ago and take some photos with the Nexstar. Didn't have time to setup the iEQ45 so I made do. Plus the moon was out so there was not a lot to photograph except the moon and Jupiter.

When I bought the Baader Hyperions, one of the reasons was because they had the built-in threads around the eyecup which made eyepiece projection (EPP) an easy option. So I tried several of my eyepieces as well as a 2x barlow and did a comparison. Not surprisingly, the barlow did a much better job. The eyepieces are designed to provide a wide field, long eye relief, sharp image - to the eye. To the camera, it left a little to be desired.

Here's the images of the Copernicus crater area. EPP with 13mm Baader Hyperion:


Prime focus plus 2" GSO ED 2x barlow:


Note that in the EPP image, the right side is smeared while the barlow is sharp. I found this to be an issue with all the eyepieces, but it was worse as you went to lower magnifications. The edges seemed smeared, and in the worst cases, there was actually chromatic aberration showing up. Using the higher power EPs worked better.

Here's a sample of the 5mm Baader Hyperion:

A wee bit heavy handed with the processing, but not too bad. Main point - it is sharp across the field, unlike the lower mag EPP images.

Apparently, a barlow is a simpler device with fewer elements, and can do a better job for imaging. I need to look into higher power barlows for higher magnification images.

-Dan


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4852749 - 10/09/11 08:24 PM

Here's Jupiter from the same night. Not up to the standards of some of the recent posts, but I'm happy with it considering conditions. The seeing was a bit better than average (Pickering 5 or 6) when the night started, but deteriorated to less than average by the time I got around to imaging (Pickering 3). Jupiter was also at around 25° altitude which is why you can see the blue tinge on the bottom and the red at the top - atmospheric refraction:



-Dan


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Smittty692k4
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4852848 - 10/09/11 09:16 PM

Looks pretty amazing to me Dan.

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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4853225 - 10/10/11 02:34 AM

Hi Dan,

Great Jupiter. I think you should make a "RGB Align" in Registax6. Here is the result :



Regards
Eric


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4853326 - 10/10/11 05:34 AM

Wonderful images Dan. Thanks for the comparisons, as I hope, some day, to do the same with the Hyperion zoom.

Thanks for posting.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4853351 - 10/10/11 06:19 AM Attachment (55 downloads)

Congratulations on some very nice imaging, Dan ! Those step ridges on the wall of Copernicus are excellently displayed.

Noting that Eric made a further RGB align on your Jupiter image to reduce that slight bluing at the right hand edge, I thought it also might lend itself to a little more sharpening in Registax 6. What do you think ? (Had to convert Png file to Jpeg to post).

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4853352 - 10/10/11 06:21 AM Attachment (45 downloads)

And for comparison, Eric's rework of the original.

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MHensen
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4853527 - 10/10/11 09:27 AM

I find it interesting how the brain can compensate so well for images seen live that we don't notice errors in our lenses until we shoot through them, cameras are definitely not as forgiving.
Btw great shots of the moon and Jupiter Dan, ...someday


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: MHensen]
      #4853550 - 10/10/11 09:48 AM

Eric & Tel:

Thanks for the reprocessing! The tip on the RGB align is great - I will definitely use that in the future. Since the color fringing is clearly due to the atmosphere splitting the spectrum and moving red to one side and blue to the other, realigning the color channels makes a BIG improvement.

The sharpening adds a bit of noise to the image. Now there is definitely an effect in the mind interpreting an image, where a small amount of noise can improve the perceived sharpness and the ability to detect details. It's a fine line as to when the image becomes too noisy though. As I look at the two, I'm not sure which I like better. The slightly noisy one does appear sharper, but the other one seems a little more real and less processed.

-Dan


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4853620 - 10/10/11 10:39 AM

By the way, just wanted to mention how I'm imaging Jupiter.

I'm using a Canon 1000D (Rebel XS) which has live view, but it does not record movies. I'm connecting my computer to the camera via USB, and using eosmovrec.exe which is a free download (for Mac or Windows) to record the image that the live view screen sees.

Since the screen on the rear of the camera is lower resolution than the image sensor, the movie is not the full resolution that the camera is capable of. Instead, it is a 768 x 512 movie. However, the camera (or eosmovrec software) has a 5x button that allows you to get a closeup for focusing. This 5x mode just uses a smaller part of the imager to grab it's 768 x 512 movie from, so you're still getting full resolution from the sensor, and not enlarging pixels. And you can record the movie in this 5x mode - which is what I did.

For Jupiter, I used a 2" GSO ED 2x Barlow and the 5x mode recording to get the large image scale above.

One problem with the 5x mode is that it is difficult to find and center Jupiter at such an extreme magnification. But the nice thing about this feature is you can switch to the 1x mode which gives you a much wider field for easy centering, and then switch to the 5x mode for recording.

-Dan


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4853897 - 10/10/11 12:55 PM

Hi Dan,

Those are some sweet pics via the EPP!!


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Kim2010
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: flboy]
      #4854227 - 10/10/11 04:02 PM

Dan, I didn't know the afocal method can produce such wonderful images.

Eric and Tel's reworks of Jupiter have that natural, yet detailed, look to them. Great images!


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Kim2010
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Kim2010]
      #4854240 - 10/10/11 04:10 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

Dan and Tel,

Hope you don't mind. I took the liberty of doing a bit of PS touchup (sharpening, denoise and some color changes) to Tel's rework of Dan's Jupiter. Just for fun


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Kim2010]
      #4854448 - 10/10/11 06:18 PM

Quote:

Dan, I didn't know the afocal method can produce such wonderful images.




Actually, it's not afocal. Afocal is when you use both an eyepiece AND the camera's lens. That usually has results of less quality because all those optical elements were not designed to work with each other.

Eyepiece projection (EPP) is where you use an eyepiece and the camera body, but no camera lens. The eyepiece projects the image directly onto the camera's sensor. The Baader Hyperions are made with eyepiece projection in mind. If you remove the rubber eyecup, it exposes a set of threads around the eye lens. Baader also sells an adapter to go from that thread to a T-thread. Once you have a T-thread, you can attach a camera using a T-ring like you would with prime focus.

In EPP, the eyepiece functions a bit like a barlow. You can use higher powered eyepieces to get more magnification. However, as is apparent in the moon photos above, a barlow does a better job - probably because of the simpler lens system. An eyepiece has other design constraints, like trying to achieve a wide field of view, long eye relief etc. And it uses many more optical elements to do the job. So it doesn't seem to provide as flat a field or one that's as free of aberrations near the edge when used for imaging.

-Dan


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4854510 - 10/10/11 06:57 PM

Just for added info, here's my EPP setup:

EPP parts:


EPP Assembled:


-Dan


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Kim2010
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4854792 - 10/10/11 09:32 PM

That's something new for me Still good images nevertheless!

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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Kim2010]
      #4862510 - 10/15/11 01:36 PM Attachment (43 downloads)

Hi everyone,

This is my first post. I have a NexStar 8SE and a C5 Spotter Scope for travel use. I’ve used the 8SE to do a little AP with the Neximage webcam, but I’ve not been satisfied with the image quality that I’ve been able to achieve so far. Jerry Lodriguss’ recent EdgeHD 11 images of the Moon and Jupiter using a Canon EOS T2i in movie Crop 640x480 mode on his www.astropix.com site encouraged me to try my hand at using a DSLR in movie mode in place of the Neximage. I recently purchased a T2i and just started experimenting with it.

I used my C5 Spotter Scope mounted on the 8SE mount to capture several Moon video clips. I used a Hyperion Mark III 8-24mm Zoom with T2i attached to it with the Baader eyepiece-to-T-ring adapter for easy eyepiece projection imaging. I did this to gain some basic experience using the T2i with an SCT and a zoom eyepiece before moving up to the 8SE. I found the setup quite easy to use and the fact that a laptop was not necessary during imaging provided an extra degree of psychological freedom beyond that of my Neximage experience. I have a JMI MotoFocuser on the 8” OTA, but not on the C5, so focusing was a bit frustrating for my preliminary tests.

The T2i was set Auto movie mode so that ISO and shutter speed where selected by the camera. I varied the zoom over the 24 mm to 8 mm range to get a feel for the overall behavior of the scope-eyepiece-camera combination. The setup was mechanically smooth to work with. I put a Baader 2” SCT Click-Lock on C5 to provide secure attachment of the diagonal-eyepiece-camera train. I used my WO 2” Dielectric Diagonal to provide a comfortable view of the T2i Live View Screen without having to perform contortions to see the camera LCD screen. The SE tripod was in its shortest configuration allowing me to sit comfortably in my observer’s chair while performing the captures. The Moon was used as the alignment target under the SE Solar and Planetary alignment option on the SE mount HC unit. The setup was fast and easy to use.

The T2i’s MOV video clips were easily transformed into AVI format by the freeware program SUPER. Registax 5 was to align, optimize, stack, apply wavelets, and adjust the gamma (curves) to produce the final images.

I concentrated on two Lunar Craters, Plato and Copernicus to perform my preliminary experiments with the equipment. If my memory is correct, these are at a nominal f/20 zoom setting. I’ve included Flickr links to the final images here in case my attempts to attach them in two posts to that will follow fails due to my inexperience with posting here.

Plato image link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/quadstar/6246539192/in/photostream/

Copernicus image link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/quadstar/6245402112/in/photostream/

The preliminary results of using the T2i with the SE setup are encouraging. The Plato image shows at least three of the nominal 2 mile diameter cratelets on the floor of the crater. Perhaps a better Sun angle would make them stand out better? This image was taken 2 days after the First Quarter. I was surprised to be even see them in the image of the Plato since the seeing was just average and C5 is a rather small scope. The Plato video clip was about 75 seconds long at 60 fps.

The Copernicus image was about 40 seconds long at 60 fps. The SE HC was used to keep the crater from drifting too far during the making of the video clips.

The results of this experiment are encouraging. The video clips from the T2i produce more robust stacked images than the Neximage webcam and the logistics of image capturing are significantly less complicated than the working with the webcam and laptop. The weather is now clearing up and I will be able to start using the 8SE with this imaging setup.

Carl


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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4862512 - 10/15/11 01:37 PM Attachment (49 downloads)

Here is the image of Copernicus.

Carl


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4862698 - 10/15/11 03:32 PM

Nice images, Carl! Lot's of detail in those craters. This was done with a C5?

-Dan

Edited by Midnight Dan (10/15/11 03:32 PM)


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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4862732 - 10/15/11 03:48 PM

Hi Dan,

Yes, both images were captured with the C5. I can't wait to start using the same setup replaced with the 8SE.

Carl


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Alex Post
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4863248 - 10/15/11 10:25 PM

Carl, congratulations on capturing the craterlets in Plato.

I see that you found the best thread for your images, since you are capturing with the original alt-az mount of NexStar, this is it :P


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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4863267 - 10/15/11 10:41 PM

Hi Alex,

I really didn't expect to see the craterlets in the final image since a large visual sampling of the ~4500 individual frames showed no signs of the craterlets. Using a C5 seemed like the craterlets would be beyond detection with the shimmering image of Plato on the Live View screen. Starting to capture with the 8SE tonight.

Carl


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4863888 - 10/16/11 10:07 AM

Hi guys !

A "little" lunar mosaic : 17 images taken with my NexStar 6SE and the PLA-Mx camera with a green filter. It's very hard to do because of the field's rotation, each picture of the mosaic must be de-rotated ! At the end, the angle's difference between the first and the last picture was more than 12° !

Mosaic @ 50 percent : http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/8941/mosaiquefinale50pc.png

The full resolution : http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/5792/mosaiquefinale.png

Mosaic made with iMerge.

Regards
Eric


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: BLINEAU]
      #4863900 - 10/16/11 10:21 AM

Hi Eric:

Nice job on that mosaic! The alignment and matching between images is perfect and there's lots of detail to get lost in! Now you just have to do one for the ENTIRE moon!

-Dan


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BLINEAU
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4863969 - 10/16/11 11:25 AM

Absolutely, you're right Dan! But I haven't time enough and also the patience to do that ! However, I appreciate your comment!

Eric


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4864375 - 10/16/11 03:29 PM

Quote:

The T2i’s MOV video clips were easily transformed into AVI format by the freeware program SUPER. Registax 5 was to align, optimize, stack, apply wavelets, and adjust the gamma (curves) to produce the final images.




Hi Carl,

Thanks for the tip about SUPER. I dl'd it. What I got was the FoxTab Video Converter. But when I convert one of my mov clips to avi and try to load it in RegiStax6, I get an "Out of Memory" error and it won't load. My camera is a little point and shoot Nikon CoolPix 5200 that outputs mov files for video. I wanted to take it out tonight and get some moon/Jupiter shots, but when I test it on a 20 second clip taken inside and then convert it, I get the error on loading RegiStax. Any ideas?


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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4864520 - 10/16/11 04:57 PM

Hi Skip,

I am not familiar with the FoxTab Video Converter. I downloaded SUPER from the site: http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html
I watched several YouTube videos about SUPER before I downloaded it. Here is the one that sticks out in my memory:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-yPJ-Ixunk
I believe that this one steps you through the download process:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEqWt-Jbswg&feature=related
I don't have much experience with video. I just got my Canon T2i and have been using a Canon XSi for wide angle AP imaging on an AstroTrac system.
I learned about the existence of SUPER from other forums. The people there were just starting to use the T2i for AP and I followed their lead by watching the YouTube video clips. The T2i produces MOV files. I selected parameters for the MOV to AVI conversions using common sense and educated guess. To my suprise, the conversion ran the first time I tried using it after watching the first YouTube video above. The resulting AVI file was accepted by Registax 5 & 6 on the first try. Given my limited knowledge on the MOV to AVI conversion process, I would suggest taking a look at the above YouTube clips to orient yourself with the download process and an overview of using SUPER.
I hope this helps with your problem.

Carl


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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4866158 - 10/17/11 02:52 PM Attachment (60 downloads)

Hi everyone,

I just completed processing an image of the lunar craters Longomontanus and Wilhelm taken on the same evening that I took the two previously posted images of Copernicus and Plato. Longomontanus is the large crater on the left and Wilhelm is on the right. The image is posted below. The surface of the Moon covered by this image is about 260 miles in width and 200 miles in height using the 88 mile diameter of Longomontanus as a measurement guide. No cropping was applied the Registax output to produce this final image

Like the previous two images I posted on Saturday, this image was taken with my C5 Spotter Scope OTA attached to my 8SE mount, and a Hyperion 8-24 mm Mark III Zoom with Canon T2i body attached to the eyepiece. The T2i was set to Auto video mode with a Crop 640x480 frame setting. The cropping factor for the frame provides a 7X telephoto effect according to the T2i user manual. Eyepiece projection provided a nominal f/20 optical system value for the image scale on the sensor. I assume that the 7X telephoto effect in the camera multiplies the image formed on the cropped area of the camera’s sensor just like the 1.6X crop factor on the Canon Rebels magnifies the optically produced image when it is enlarged to the standard 35mm image size. The 640x480 pixel area of the sensor that captures the video is quite small considering that the T2i pixels are 4.3 microns in size. This is smaller than the Neximage Webcam sensor since the pixel size there is 5.6 microns.

I took these posted lunar images in a rural region of Pennsylvania in early October while visiting a relative. Saturday evening I repeated the experiment at my home in the outer-suburbs of Washington, DC using my 8SE OTA in place of the C5 OTA. The stability of the image with the C5 in rural PA far exceeded the image quality of the 8SE images at my home based on reviews of the video clips from both imaging sites based on side-by-side comparisons of the raw MOV video clips.

Needless to say, the 8SE OTA images taken from suburban home are disappointing in comparison to the C5 results. Registax cannot perform miracles with inferior data. I’m beginning to wonder how much lunar and planetary imaging I’ll be able to do from the suburbs of DC if Saturday night’s turbulence is standard for my location. Living in a heat radiating concrete jungle can put a damper on lunar and planetary imaging compared to the rural counterpart.

I don’t know how to judge the jet stream and lower atmosphere’s stability impact on seeing from different types of meteorological reports as described in Martin Mobberly’s book “Lunar and Planetary Webcam User’s Guide”. Knowing that would give me some general insight into the effects of my local man-made heat sink limitations of suburbia on seeing and imaging. I hope that my experience with atmospheric instability was caused mainly by the transient effects of weather rather than a local, permanent concrete heat radiating constraint. Otherwise, I’ll be forced to do most of my lunar and planetary imaging in rural PA like I’ve started to do with my wide area AP using camera lenses and short focal length refractors.

Carl


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4868038 - 10/18/11 03:53 PM

Hi Carl,

Great image! Longomontanus is one of my favorite craters because of the central peaks and the nice contrast you get at low sun angles. Wilhelm, on the other hand, is just a mess. It looks like it has been through some radical violence - at least five or six major impacts over the millenia.



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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4869501 - 10/19/11 02:08 PM

Hi Skip,

Thanks for the compliment on the image. I'm really pleased with the combined performance of the C5 OTA on the 8SE mount with the Canon T2i in movie mode. I never expected anything like it from such a small scope. With the 6SE, you should be able to get somewhat better results with your Nikon in movie mode under the Texas night sky when the atmoshphere is reasonably stable. Did you solve your problem with the MOV to AVI conversion yet?

I compared the raw movie frames from the images posted to the one's taken with my 8SE OTA. The C5 OTA frames taken in rural PA are extremely steady compared to the 8SE frames taken in the suburbs. That is why the C5 OTA out-performed the 8SE OTA in imaging the Moon. The degree of image wobbling goes up dramatically in the suburbs and the quality of the processed image drops off significantly. Registax can't provide the same image quality from the "dancing" suburban movie frames as it achieved with the rural raw data.

I'm starting to get some practical "eyeball" experience with determining video imaging quality based on atmospheric stability by studying the raw movie clips made from several locations. Moving the imaging setup from the front, to the side, and to the back of the house produced quite different results since I look out over slightly different combinations of landscapes, streets, buildings, and houses. It appears that I will be confined to the side of the house for future suburban planetary imaging. Nothing available to me now beats the open farmland and forested countryside of my alternate PA location.

Carl


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4870856 - 10/20/11 11:50 AM

Quote:

Did you solve your problem with the MOV to AVI conversion yet?




Hi Carl,
I thought I had. I dl'd Super from the site you gave me and followed the instructions on the You Tube video. I took a "test" video with my camera, pulled it into Super and converted it. I then ran it through Registax6 and it all worked. But the next day, I tried the process again using the mov file I used the day before. It converted but when I tried to load it into R6 I got an error that said the file could not be loaded. So I converted the mov file again and got the same result. I don't know why it wouldn't work after the first time. Maybe I screwed up the settings, but I don't think so. Maybe I somehow corrupted the mov file. When I get some time, I'll start all over again with a new mov file and see if I can make it work.

There is a program called AVS Video Converter that you have to pay for ($40 or $50). If I can't get Super doing the job for me, I may go with that. But before I spend the bucks, I want to be sure it will produce an avi file that R6 can load. You can dl it for free, but it puts a watermark on the resulting output file until you spend the money to register it.

I have had problems with other video converters getting them to load into RegiStax. When I queried the RegiStax folks they told me that I might not be using the correct codec. Well *BLEEP*, I don't know anything about video codecs - all I want is something that works and is foolproof! I'd like to think there is something out there in that category - hopefully Super is it.


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Naturlich
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4870966 - 10/20/11 12:42 PM

try running it through AviStack2. Registax6 wont work with Avi's created by my DMK, but AviStack2 is perfectly fine with them.

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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4872704 - 10/21/11 01:07 PM

Skip,

The codec setting that I am using in SUPER is "Raw Uncompressed" selection under the "#2 Select the Output Video Codec" pull down menu. I also selected MEncoder radio button in the box underneath. That has worked without a problem for my Canon T2i MOV file conversions to AVI and imports to both Registax 5 and 6. It might be worth a try if you already haven't experimented with it for your Nikon MOV files. I used the MOV specifications in the camera's user manual for the other settings. Bit rate is set at 29040 by default. I don't know why but it works. Audio is diabled of course.

Carl


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ftrobbie
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4875446 - 10/23/11 08:09 AM Attachment (56 downloads)

Here is a view of good old lunar from 10 April 2011

10 images stacked and processed
ISO100
1/10 sec
8' tube on Nexstar mount


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ftrobbie
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4875451 - 10/23/11 08:14 AM Attachment (44 downloads)

And a shot taken with a Celestron 102 wideview on a phototripod with Canon 400d

Single shot focussed via camera view finder so it's soft
ISO 400 1/2500 day shot.


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flboy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4875584 - 10/23/11 10:03 AM

Hi Rob,

I really like the 1st image. It just pops with the black background.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: flboy]
      #4875595 - 10/23/11 10:11 AM

Hi Rob:

Nice images! I too like the first one best. That's just gorgeous!

-Dan


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4875864 - 10/23/11 01:11 PM

+1 on the great images, Rob!!

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ftrobbie
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4875889 - 10/23/11 01:25 PM

Thanks guys

John, the blackness was just resetting the black point. Although the individual raw images were short, when stacked the sky glow I get here even on short images started to show. I just reset the black point. I don't use filters, perhaps I should, so tend to process out the skyglow.

I also prefer the first to the second but just seeing the moon during the day, just begged to be shot. I wish I could have done her more justice.


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flboy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4876148 - 10/23/11 04:09 PM

Rob, I too like the daytime image, but the detail in the 1st is excellent!!

Congrats!!


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: flboy]
      #4882807 - 10/27/11 06:44 AM Attachment (49 downloads)

I've been having trouble with webcam images producing "Onion Ringing" in the final image when processed with Registax (6) so, last week, (19th) I thought I'd give "Craterlet" from Stark Labs a try; replacing all earlier imaging where I employed either Amcap and Sharpcap.

OK, so it's a one off at the moment as the weather hasn't given me any further break, but I was rather pleased with this "Craterlet" (less Onion Rings) result !

(It's taken until now though to get the best I can from it) !

Best regards,
Tel


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Peter9
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4883054 - 10/27/11 10:04 AM

That's a great image Tel.

The amount of detail you've manage to capture is outstanding.

Looks like a another large "Barge" is about to emerge to join the one already on show.

Many thanks for posting.

Regards. Peter.


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4884064 - 10/27/11 07:01 PM

Many thanks Peter, Your comments are much appreciated

But I've just realised, I posted on the wrong thread !

It should have been, "Nexstar AP Graduates-- Images and Discussions" !

Sorry, Alex ! In mitigation, the OTA used WAS indeed a Nexstar 8i coupled to a X2 "Barlowed" Phillips SPC900NC webcam with the AVI processed in Registax 6 and CS2 P/shop.

OK, admittedly, the mount was an HEQ5 Pro, but I'm sure I can plead that with such brief exposure times ..................

Best regards,
Tel


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kc5vkg
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4884387 - 10/27/11 10:24 PM

Hey Rob,

Nice photo. Especially like the first image. And if you look closely, looks like you caught the elusive "Lunar X". Nice catch!!


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ftrobbie
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kc5vkg]
      #4884690 - 10/28/11 05:00 AM

Doug

Thanks, I'd like to say it was all planned, I had not noticed it. But now having you point it out to me, it was a lucky shot . According to Wiki, Lunar X is only visible for 4.5 hours per lunar cycle. Yikes.

Thanks again for pointing it out.

Rob


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TmaninTn
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4887990 - 10/30/11 01:35 AM Attachment (87 downloads)

It's not Eric quality, but I just liked the way Europa and Io were caught together in this one.

2X Barlow, Neximage cam 500 frames at 1/25 5FPS in wxAstrocapture.


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ftrobbie
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4888109 - 10/30/11 05:39 AM

Tim

Don't be hard on yourself. I really like it, natural, a mild yellow tinge to it. Compare that to the image you posted on 24 Sep, it looks sharper. Plus I never managed to get the moons in the same image as Jupiter without compositing the image. Keep up the good work

Good capture.


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4888127 - 10/30/11 06:05 AM

Excellent Tim ! A very fine, natural looking image !

I don't know if you're already aware, (I'm sure you are), but there appears to be a second Galilean satellite in view, (further out towards the top left hand corner) ?

Incidentally, what do you think of wxAstrocapture ? I've never tried it. Would you know for instance, how it might compare with Amcap, Sharpcap or Craterlet software capture programs ?

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4888705 - 10/30/11 02:40 PM

That is a lot better than my attempts so far. I am having trouble with over exposing and washing out details on Jupiter, I've only made a few attempts so far using ToUcam 840k and 2x barlow on my 5i,but nothing that good.
Be Well
Grey


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TmaninTn
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Greyhaven]
      #4888970 - 10/30/11 05:09 PM

Thanks guys, appreciate the compliments.


ftrobbie- Jupiter was showing about a thousand moons last night. I thought about taking one with the focal reducer because I probably could have had six moons in one shot if the image train was right, and since I haven't been getting the detail from the surface of Jupiter that I want, I decided to try and get some of moons with it.


Tel-I think wxAstrocapture has been the one Neximage cam capture software that gets to the nuts and bolts of what the webcam is trying to do. It's really easy to switch between the exposure and FPS settings in order to dial the best image. I haven't been able to get the other capture software to work as smoothly as wxAC, and the histogram function helps to smooth out the colors well. I haven't tried the craterlet one though, do you have a link?

Greyhaven- I cannot highly recommend Kim's help in this thread for getting the right settings dialed in. If you follow his settings you'll be pleased with the results-

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/4756502/page/7/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1


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flboy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4889845 - 10/31/11 07:20 AM

Hi Tim,

Enjoy the GLP and I look forward to seeing more of your images!!


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4889854 - 10/31/11 07:39 AM

Quote:

Tel-I think wxAstrocapture has been the one Neximage cam capture software that gets to the nuts and bolts of what the webcam is trying to do. It's really easy to switch between the exposure and FPS settings in order to dial the best image. I haven't been able to get the other capture software to work as smoothly as wxAC, and the histogram function helps to smooth out the colors well. I haven't tried the craterlet one though, do you have a link?





Hi Tim,

Sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks also for the information on wxAstrocapture. I will indeed try to make a comparison between it and Craterlet, which in return and in line with your request, can be accessed from the following link.

http://www.stark-labs.com/craterlet.html

Many thanks and regards,
Tel


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4889871 - 10/31/11 08:02 AM

Great image Tim.

Capturing Io and Europa together like that is one of those magical moments. Well done.

I watch Europa appear from behind Jupiter on the 28th. That too, was magic.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4900693 - 11/06/11 01:03 PM Attachment (73 downloads)

Hi All,

It has been awhile but finally had the opportunity to get outside with the crisp and clear fall sky. Since I have only had the 8SE since the summer, every season brings a new treat for me. This weekend it was M1 and M42. I was really blown away by M42. I decided to capture some images and here is the output from Friday evening.

I took 100, 15 sec subs with the stock 8SE ISO 1600 using a Canon T3i. Stacked in DSS and processed with Carboni's tools in PS CS5.

I have seen many versions of M42 but this is the way it appeared to me through the eyepiece so I didn't change colors in my processing. I was so pleased I thought I would share.

Best,

George


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ghataa]
      #4901011 - 11/06/11 03:41 PM

Thats a good image of M42 George. Thanks for posting.

I wish M42 appeared like that through my eyepiece(s). On the odd night of excellent seeing conditions, I can only see various shades of grey with, on the rarest of occasions, a hint of colour.
Not that I'm envious you understand.

Regards Peter.


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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4901051 - 11/06/11 04:02 PM Attachment (55 downloads)

Hi,

Below is an image of the lunar crater Clavius. It was taken with a C5 OTA on my 8SE mount (equivalent of a heavy duty 5SE. Eyepiece projection using a Hyperion 8-24 Mark III Zoom with a Canon EOS T2i attached directly the eyepiece to provide f/17. The camera was used in Movie Mode with in Auto setting (camera choses ISO and shutter speed). About 4000 frames were taken at 60 fps. The output MOV file was converted to AVI using super. Registax was used to do the final processing.

It appears that the smallest craterlets just visible are in the 7 to 8 o'clock position on the floor of Clavius not too far from the foot of the crater wall. Since I have been able to capture the 2 mile diameter craterlets on the floor of Plato at f/17 with the same set up, I am estimating that these Clavius cratelets are about 2 miles in diameter also.

The seeing was good to fair when this image was taken last evening in the outer suburbs of Washington, DC.

Carl


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Peter9
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4901092 - 11/06/11 04:26 PM

Thats a great shot Carl. The clarity at such high magnitude is outstanding.

Thanks for posting.

Regards. Peter.


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4901314 - 11/06/11 06:19 PM

Another great moon shot that makes you feel like you are coming in for a landing!

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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4901440 - 11/06/11 07:21 PM

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the compliment on the image. I am still amazed at what the C5 OTA is capable of for lunar imaging. When I purchased it for a travel scope to avoid transporting the 8SE OTA, my gut feeling was that the C5 would not perform like it is for imaging. It is becoming one of my regularly used scopes.

Carl


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kwad
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4901454 - 11/06/11 07:26 PM

Hi Skip,

Thanks for the compliment on the Clavius image. The final image certainly beat my expectations when I reviewed the movie clip prior to processing the 4000 frames. It is always a nice suprise to see something with detail emerge out of the Registax processing.

Carl


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THEPLOUGH
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: kwad]
      #4901474 - 11/06/11 07:38 PM

Great shots guys...

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oldstargazer
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: THEPLOUGH]
      #4905512 - 11/08/11 11:50 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

Got a wider view of that crater in my shot the other night. That sure is a closeup you got there.

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TmaninTn
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: oldstargazer]
      #4905667 - 11/09/11 01:49 AM

Awesome shots George, Karl and OSG!

Nebulae craterlets and impacts oh my!


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ghataa]
      #4939851 - 11/28/11 08:54 PM

This image just sold me on this scope...I can't wait to get mine.

regards,
Andy


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Frogfoot
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4956280 - 12/08/11 06:52 AM Attachment (76 downloads)

Having only owned my scope for a couple of weeks, and with the weather in the UK being so temperamental I haven't had many nights to play. However last night I had a window of a couple of hours and took the following shot. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out as the seeing was OK at best, with patchy cloud.

Hope you like it,
Tom

Nexstar 6SE, DFK 21AU618.AS Colour


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Frogfoot
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Frogfoot]
      #4956287 - 12/08/11 07:04 AM Attachment (61 downloads)

Here's another, this time a mosaic stitched in Photoshop, the original is 2500x1500 pixel so too large to post, but the detail is quite good.


Nexstar 6SE, DFK 21AU618.AS Colour


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Frogfoot]
      #4956305 - 12/08/11 07:29 AM

Very nice images Frogfoot. Thanks for posting.

It was fairly clear here in West Yorkshire last night, but the wind was far too strong for observing.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4956310 - 12/08/11 07:33 AM

Excellent images, Frogfoot! I love the way the Jupiter's moon and its shadow straddle the GRS. And the moon mosaic is beautifully sharp and detailed. Nice job!

-Dan


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THEPLOUGH
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4956604 - 12/08/11 11:06 AM

What part of the UK are you in, I may have to consider a move...


Great shots by the way...


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Arthur Dent
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: THEPLOUGH]
      #4956718 - 12/08/11 12:22 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights and the Nexstar forum Tom.





Really great images, you should be well-pleased with them.


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Doug Michel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Frogfoot]
      #4956721 - 12/08/11 12:24 PM

Are those videos stacked together or time lapse photos or just a bunch of individual snapshots stacked?

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TmaninTn
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Doug Michel]
      #4956727 - 12/08/11 12:29 PM

Great shots Frogfoot!! I see you have the DFK camera and I've been pondering a purchase. Judging from your pictures I see it works as advertised. How smooth is the process from scope to screen? Was there any heavy lifting involved in getting everything to function?

I'm also curious if there is a way to tinker with these cams in order to get some DSO imaging out of them.

Great pics and welcome aboard!


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Frogfoot]
      #4956828 - 12/08/11 01:44 PM

Great images, Tom. I would also be interested in your process from camera to finish.

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Frogfoot
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4957178 - 12/08/11 05:55 PM

Thanks for all the kind words, this was actually my first outing with the DFK camera. and only my fifth with a telescope. I used Firecapture rather than the supplied software as it seems a little bit more flexible.

I used the camera attached to a 2x barlow (focal length f3000) and captured 1500 frames of jupiter and each frame of the moon mosaic at 30 fps (50 secs) with edge detection real time de-bayering selected. (This was a mistake as I soon ran out of disk space, I had hoped to capture the whole moon but had to stop early). I have since found out that the raw files are much smaller and also allow a capture rate of 60 fps so I could have captured twice as much in the same time.
The Jupiter Image was processed in Registax 6, 80% best quality frames used, This was a but tricky as I had only used solar system align due to the clouds, and the tracking wasn't great so I had to experiment with choosing different reference frames for the alignment until I was happy with the result. Then I sharpened the resulting stacked image using linked wavelets, auto RGB align, auto RGB balance and then a little final tweaking in photoshop. (Io was selected, the selection feathered by 1 px and levels adjusted very slightly as it was a little dim for my taste.)
The first moon image was stacked and processed in much the same way (with out any colour adjustments this time), when I was happy with the settings I used the batch processing function to process all the other frames using the same settings while I had a beer.
I then manually stitched the images in photoshop by adding each one as a new layer, temporarily setting the blend mode to difference and manually aligning each frame.

With regard to DSO's the camera will do long exposures up to 1 hour but it is un-cooled so it gets very noisy very quickly. Each frame is only 640x480 wide so there are much better, albeit more expensive options out there for DSO's

Thanks again for the kind comments. Hopefully we will get better seeing conditions soon and I can really see what can be achieved with this setup.

Cheers
Tom

Edited by Frogfoot (12/08/11 05:58 PM)


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Frogfoot
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Frogfoot]
      #4970033 - 12/16/11 05:56 PM Attachment (57 downloads)

Well, tonight I had an hour or so of clearish sky so I attempted another go at Jupiter, this time pushing up the magnification a bit by using an old 2x barlow minus the lens to give me aprox 3x. Once again Nexstar 6se and DFK21AU616.
Seeing wasn't bad, but not good either.
Hope you like it.
Tom


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Frogfoot]
      #4970036 - 12/16/11 05:57 PM

Like it, Tom, like it!!

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THEPLOUGH
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4970292 - 12/16/11 09:02 PM Attachment (25 downloads)

Quote:

Like it, Tom, like it!!






Plus one...


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: THEPLOUGH]
      #4970768 - 12/17/11 10:22 AM

Beautiful!

-Dan


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Frogfoot
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4971332 - 12/17/11 04:11 PM Attachment (52 downloads)

One more from tonight, slightly better seeing, but still lots of room for improvement. 3466 frames of 3600 stacked in Registax 6 (96% Quality)
Nexstar 6SE, DFK 21AU618AS
Tom

Edited by Frogfoot (12/17/11 04:13 PM)


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Peter9
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Frogfoot]
      #4971378 - 12/17/11 05:01 PM

Great image Frogfoot. Thanks for posting.

I've just come in from observing jupiter,(amoungst over things),and I saw the GRS with ease.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4971904 - 12/18/11 12:41 AM

Hi Tom,

Fantastic image of Jupiter! Two barges and that large spot. Great work - and with a 6SE! Congratulation!

Doug


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4972285 - 12/18/11 10:32 AM

Here are some from last night. Be gentle, this is my first time imaging dso's. Nexstar 8se stock configuration. Mallincam Hyper Color (non plus) and celestron skyglow filter. Video grabs were converted to avi and processed in registax and are just aligned/stacked composites of 2 14 sec integrations (orion was 3). Very, very new at this, so here goes...

NGC 891


m1 crab nebula



M31 (with soft focus, bummer, but I can still make out dark band/lane)



m42



As you can see, I am bumbling about, but these images had me more excited than a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert. My wife got sick of being dragged outside to look at the computer, lol..

thanks
Andy

Edited by ourobouros2k2 (12/18/11 10:38 AM)


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4972300 - 12/18/11 10:45 AM

Nice! I especially like the detail in the crab nebula.

M31 is a bit large for the 8SE's field of view. Did you use a focal reducer? That would allow you to get more of it in the frame.

-Dan


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4972305 - 12/18/11 10:51 AM

almost forgot, the least spectacular of the night...

NGC 7662 blue snowball neb.



thanks
Andy


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4972312 - 12/18/11 10:55 AM

Dan, I don't have a focal reducer, however, it is next on the list. Orion and andromeda made that perfectly clear, lol. I am guessing the stock celestron 6.3 would be sufficient for this application?

thanks
Andy


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4972318 - 12/18/11 10:58 AM

There were many things I didn't like, such as soft focus issues, etc.. I was just amazed that a complete newbie like me could even do this much. I plan on picking up a celestron 6.3 FR as my next purchase.

thanks
Andy


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4972335 - 12/18/11 11:07 AM

Andy:

Yep, 6.3 is the one to get.
-Dan


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jerryyyyy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4972416 - 12/18/11 11:51 AM Attachment (37 downloads)

Can you explain the purpose of the focal reducer for me. Is this just for SLR Cameras? Or does it clean up the image in general? I am afraid to add this to the back of my 8se without Ron's Rail.

Below is a single image of the Dumb-bell from last night. I see it has color, but when I stack images in Deep Sky Stacker, I lose the color. Seems to only work in Grey Scale.


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4972532 - 12/18/11 12:58 PM

Hi Jerry,

Any focal reducer serves to reduce the focal length of any telescope by a nominal amount which in turn, leads to a reduction in magnification for any given eyepiece and consequently, an increase in its angular field of view.

In practical terms therefore, your 8SE has a focal length of 2000mm. However, add the Celestron f/6.3 focal reducer and the focal length is reduced to 1260mm or 63% of the original 2000mm value.

Now consider the effect on magnification.

Say, for example, you place the standard supplied 25mm eyepice in your 'scope without any focal reducer, then the magnification obtained from it will result from the focal length of your 8SE, (2000mm), divided by that of the eyepiece, (25mm), to therefore produce a magnification of 2000/25 = X80.

Now if you were to use the Celestron focal reducer which will reduce the focal length of your 8SE to 1260mm, then using the same 25mm eyepiece, the magnification produced this time, would be 1260/25 = X50.4.

With the lowering of the magnification comes a proportional increase in the field of view: i.e. that what you can see through the eyepiece expands as magnification diminishes, (within other constrains imposed by the optics and mechanics of the 'scope design itself).

Finally you'll probably note that some reducers like the Celestron f/6.3 is also claimed to be a "Field Flattener". This means that it has the additional ability to lessen the optical distortion of stars at the outer edge of the field of view; an unwanted but inherent phenomenon associated with Schmidt-Cassegrain 'scopes.

I have related these examples purely to visual use and thus eyepieces but the same is true for any camera you attach to your 'scope be it a DSLR, CCD or webcam.

Should you require a more in depth explanation of field of view calculation, I'm happy to provide.

Hoping this may explain a little,

Best regards,
Tel


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4972546 - 12/18/11 01:10 PM

Hi Jerry:

Tel gave a great explanation of the function. Just want to point out that there can be some confusion on the part of a newbie regarding the terminology.

Some people call it a 6.3 focal reducer. That's because it makes an f/10 scope into a scope which is effectively f/6.3. Others call it a 0.63 or 0.63x focal reducer. That's because it changes your magnification by 0.63x. It's the opposite of a barlow which increases your magnification by 2x, or 3x, or whatever the rating is. Reducing your magnification will increase your field of view - how much of the sky you can see - so you can see larger objects.

Aside from the number, some call it a focal reducer, some call it a field flattener, and some use abbreviations like fr, ff, fr/ff. It's all the same thing. When you're talking about a standard 6.3 focal reducer designed for an f/10 SCT, it is both a focal reducer and field flattener. There are some other styles made for other types of scopes, which are sometimes just one or the other.

-Dan


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4972548 - 12/18/11 01:12 PM

Hi Jerry,

To help you further and particularly with your imaging, take a look perhaps at Rod Wodaski's "New Astronomy Press CCD Calculator".

http://www.newastro.com/book_new/camera_app.php

This free downloadable calculator is not, as the title suggests, specific to CCD cameras: it's also applicable to DSLRs and should provide you with a good insight into the effects of focal length variations, the addition of focal reducers, types of camera and resulting fields of view.

I hope this helps a little more.

Best regards,
Tel


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jerryyyyy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4972608 - 12/18/11 01:47 PM

Hey Guys, you all are great to give out this information. I'll keep working on this.

I think I have to list my priorities, and I think it is going to start with the equatorial mount first. This reducer is more of a stocking stuffer, but I need to get the mount...

Pretty clear from my time out at the dark sky site here last night that this is all pretty feasible. I actually can get to many of the objects in my light polluted backyard.

One other question, do you understand why Deep Sky Stacker forces me into grey scale? Their documentation is pretty limited.


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4972683 - 12/18/11 02:35 PM

What format are you using to capture, Jerry ?

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4972715 - 12/18/11 02:53 PM

Way to go, Andy.

I assume the files you posted were jpg. Do you have Photoshop? Or PS elements? If so, you can save the images out of Registax as TIFF (16 bit RGB), bring them into PS. By making adjustments in levels and curves you can probably improve your images, especially where there is data hiding (M31) or where the core of M42 is blown out. Then when you are satisfied, save them as jpg for posting here and elsewhere.

BTW, that M1 is excellent!


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Frogfoot]
      #4972719 - 12/18/11 02:55 PM

Hi Tom,

ANOTHER great Jupiter image! The GRS literally jumps out at you! Very nice!


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4972875 - 12/18/11 04:44 PM

Thanks Skip, this is all pretty new to me, will try that.

Regarding the discussion about focal reducers, when it comes to using them on our f/10 SCT's, is their primary function to make a wider field or do they truly make the scope perform like an f6.3 instrument? I ask because if it was operating at 6.3, obviously faster than f/10, would it not cut down on exposure times? For instance, would it shorten frame integration times on the mallincam, or would it still be slower since it isn't converted until it almost hits the "eyepiece". Would it be correct to say that the addition of an FR would give the widefield performance of an f/6.3 instrument, but it would still be hindered on speed of exposure by it's native f/10 config?

Sorry for the questions, still new to me.

Andy


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4973122 - 12/18/11 07:52 PM

Hi Andy:

The f ratio is a factor that can cause a lot of confusion when applied to telescopes. You'll hear things like "an f/4 scope requires shorter exposures than an f/10 scope". While that CAN be true under certain circumstances, it may not be in others.

The problem is that f ratio is commonly used by photographers when comparing lenses. However, they are ALWAYS comparing lenses of the same focal length. So, a 200mm telephoto that is f/4 will be "faster" and require shorter exposures than a 200mm f/8 telephoto. However, a photographer would never compare the f ratio of a 28mm wide angle lens to a 200mm telephoto. It just doesn't make any sense.

An f ratio is indeed a ratio. It is the ratio of focal length to aperture diameter. So you can change the f ratio by changing either one. The ONLY one that will affect the length of the exposure FOR THE SAME SIZE IMAGE (<- important!) is the aperture. A larger aperture lets in more light and will allow shorter exposures.

Let's compare two scopes:

Focal length 800mm, aperture 100mm, focal ratio = f/8
Focal length 400mm, aperture 100mm, focal ratio = f/4

Note that, if you take a photo with each of these with the SAME image scale, they will both require the SAME exposure because they have the same aperture. The 400mm scope will have half the magnification of the 800mm, so it will require a 2x barlow to get the same image scale. This, of course, reduces the brightness so you're back to the same exact light level as the 800mm. In fact, the 2x barlow makes the 400mm scope effectively an 800mm scope, and makes it's f/4 focal ratio effectively f/8. Now your two scopes are identical in performance and exposure length. Bottom line - these have the same aperture, so if you're taking the same photo at the same size, there will be no difference in exposure.

Let's compare two other scopes:

Focal length 800mm, aperture 100mm, focal ratio = f/8
Focal length 800mm, aperture 200mm, focal ratio = f/4

With these two scopes the image scale is the same without the need for a barlow or focal reducer. But, one has twice the aperture as the other, so it will indeed allow you to take the same image, at the same image scale, using a shorter exposure.

Sooooooo ... after all that, to your question!

When you apply a focal reducer to your f/10 scope, you are indeed making it behave like an f/6.3 scope in every way. BUT ... you did not change the aperture! So it is like comparing the first two scopes above. You are changing the magnification, so you are NOT taking an image of the same thing at the same size any more. You could try to gain that magnification back again by using a barlow, but that effectively increases the f/ratio back to where it was - so you don't gain anything. Again, exposure length - at a given image scale - is ONLY affected by the aperture of the scope. In the case of the SCT with a focal reducer, you have not changed the aperture.

-Dan


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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4973188 - 12/18/11 08:36 PM

Hi Dan,

Great explanation! It cleared up some confusion I had, so much appreciated.

Doug


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jerryyyyy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4973213 - 12/18/11 08:54 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Quote:

What format are you using to capture, Jerry ?

Best regards,
Tel




Canon RAW. Based on some of my readings, I converted a number of RAWs into TIFFs and I get color. This is of course a pain to do.


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4973582 - 12/19/11 04:36 AM

Hi Jerry,

No doubt someone will explain the technicalities of Deep Sky Stacker because I've never used it, but my understanding is that DSLR RAW frames are always in Gray Scale. It's the software which makes the conversion to colour.

Personally I use (Craig) Stark's (Stark Labs.), "Nebulosity" software which I find excellently compatible with my Canon 350D DSLR. It captures, stacks and to some extent, processes images created from my RAW frames to be saved in any one of a number of formats: i.e. Tiff, BMP, Jpeg etc.

The latest package, "Nebulosity Version 2.5.0" costs $60. In my view worth every penny although I'm still using the earlier version (1.8.0) which is perfectly adequate at $45 !

You can in fact take both versions on trial to see if they fit your requirements. However, in trial form, you will not be able to save the finished image as it will be degraded (stripes placed across it), until a full licence has been obtained from Stark Labs. for the $45 or $60 outlay.

Here's the link if you think it might be useful to you. One caveat though: I'm not sure whether version 2.5.0 supports exposure times longer than 30 seconds. My version does not and requires an an extra piece of kit to enable this.

http://www.stark-labs.com/nebulosity.html

Hoping this helps,
Best regards,
Tel


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Arctic_Eddie
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4973686 - 12/19/11 07:51 AM

+1 for Nebulosity. I have, based on Tel's recommendation, version 2.50a. This is a special build from Craig that extended the ability to convert Panasonic RAW to the FIT format into the Batch processing list. The program does about everything that I need. There are two tutorials that are necessary. One is from Craig Stark and the other from a forum. Tel has a link to this document.

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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arctic_Eddie]
      #4973760 - 12/19/11 08:53 AM

Thank you Dan for the explanation. It is clear to me now that I am not factoring in the aperture. Those meager images have me sooo excited, just trying to soak up as much info as I can. My wife is already ticked when I start talking about 599 Hyperstar lenses and such. I have to say the mallincam lit the fires, I am starting to look at samsung options as well. Might do one for a finder setup and one dedicated to capture. The possibilities!

thanks again all for bearing with my questions.

best regards,
Andy


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jerryyyyy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4978016 - 12/21/11 03:27 PM

Guys, thanks for all the help. I was out last night and hooked up my Canon to the 8se and did my 2-star alignment and nailed the focus right from the start off Vega. Did not look through the eyepiece after that... added attraction was that I could do all this from inside as I could remote login to the laptop.

Anyway, images are better but have not had time to fully process them. I worked on M27 and M57, which are easy shots from my backyard. M31 is too high (no Rod's Rail) and M81 too low (city lights) and M42 blocked early in the evening. Any other easy picking targets?

BTW, seems the Precise GoTo Stars are too dull to be seen in the live view of the Canon... I did get the targets alright, but had to verify in the images as they came in.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4978401 - 12/21/11 07:25 PM

Quote:

BTW, seems the Precise GoTo Stars are too dull to be seen in the live view of the Canon... I did get the targets alright, but had to verify in the images as they came in.




Yep. Live view can be very handy, but it is only sensitive enough to see the moon, bright planets, and a few of the brightest stars. It really helps with focusing though.

-Dan


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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4978738 - 12/21/11 11:32 PM

Hi jerry,

Were you using Backyard EOS? If thought you mentioned that you were going to get it. If you are using BYE - it has a great feature for using live view. When you are in Frame & Focus mode, click on the HD button to the right of the image. This will expose the Bightness, Contrast, and Gamma controls - and some preset settings to the right that you can pull down. One is the Star HD #1 - this will pull out weak stars that you would not normally see in Live View. Pretty slick! Play around with the other controls and you will find something the works. Try the Stack setting - up it to 3 or 4 and see how much brighter the stars appear in live view.

Hope that helps.
Doug


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4978761 - 12/21/11 11:51 PM

Getting spoiled with the 8se and the mallincam. Eyepieces are in danger of collecting dust, lol.. here is a composite of 2 14 second frames of m27, stock 8se



regards
Andy


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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4978853 - 12/22/11 01:06 AM

Andy,

You got the bug! Nice work!

Try stacking more if you can, to see what you can do with more photons - M27 is very doable with the 8SE in alt/az and a bunch of 20 sec exposures. Have fun - I know you are...

Doug


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4978871 - 12/22/11 01:24 AM

Since the mallincam is essentially a video camera, I am using a frame grabber to make an mpeg then converting to AVI for stacking. Is there a free program that will just create the avi straight from the capture device? I saw amcap, but it looks like it's 29 dollars. I might get a copy after payday. Are there any other programs that will capture and save frames as something DSS likes, fit, bmp, etc..

thanks
Andy


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4979234 - 12/22/11 09:28 AM

Some more from last night. I know they are far from perfect, just wanting to share my luck using stock 8SE...

M57


m2



m15



regards
Andy


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ourobouros2k2
sage


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4979239 - 12/22/11 09:32 AM

final images from last night.

Flame nebula (sorry for lightwash on bottom half, streetlight interference)



Horsehead nebula (nothing spectacular, just proof-of-concept in my eyes. same streetlight light wash on bottom of frame)




best regards,
Andy


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jerryyyyy
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Reged: 10/06/11

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4979899 - 12/22/11 03:41 PM

Quote:

Hi jerry,

Were you using Backyard EOS? If thought you mentioned that you were going to get it. If you are using BYE - it has a great feature for using live view. When you are in Frame & Focus mode, click on the HD button to the right of the image. This will expose the Bightness, Contrast, and Gamma controls - and some preset settings to the right that you can pull down. One is the Star HD #1 - this will pull out weak stars that you would not normally see in Live View. Pretty slick! Play around with the other controls and you will find something the works. Try the Stack setting - up it to 3 or 4 and see how much brighter the stars appear in live view.

Hope that helps.
Doug




Thanks. I did purchase it and tried it out last night. Have been very busy. Worked fine with the alignment stars, but will try these tricks to see others, especially Precision GoTo.

Once I go past M27 and M57, I tried NGC 253 and NGC55 yesterday and did not see them in live view, so I tried the Precision GoTo but could not see the alignment stars. This seems crucial to be convinced that the sky you are imaging (that looks black) actually has the DSO in question.

Thanks again for all the help...


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jerryyyyy
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Reged: 10/06/11

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4980489 - 12/22/11 10:53 PM

PS Am having software problems with Backyard... never comes out of the active programs tray at bottom of the screen - never maximizes. Cannot do a clean uninstalled either.

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Arctic_Eddie
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4980812 - 12/23/11 07:17 AM

Try Revo Uninstaller Free for complete removal. It runs the normal app uninstaller then finds all registry and file leftovers. It may work even if the app uninstaller doesn't run correctly. First, try reinstalling the app with administrator privileges.

http://www.revouninstaller.com/index.html


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jerryyyyy
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Reged: 10/06/11

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Arctic_Eddie]
      #4980994 - 12/23/11 10:09 AM

For the record, I emailed the developer last night at 830 and he was up. He gave me the solution: Delete this file:

C:\Users\<<<user name>>>\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\BackyardEOS\BackyardEOS.exe.user.config

Worked fine.

Edited by jerryyyyy (12/23/11 10:51 AM)


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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4981560 - 12/23/11 03:22 PM

That's good support! Glad you got BYE working.

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jerryyyyy
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Reged: 10/06/11

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4983039 - 12/24/11 01:55 PM

Thanks, I worked on it last night for 5h. I am making progress but the biggest problem I have is making sure the dull DSOs are centered.

Because of various terrain blockages I had to wait until later in the evening and was able to image M42 and M31 alright (pretty bright and hard to miss). I tried to get NGC253 and am still processing images, but they look blank (went up to 3200 ISO). My GoTos did not show a star even with the various manipulations on BYE. BYE did show GoTo stars for M33 (still not processed).

Anyway, I am getting there and had to recharge the battery on the camera at 11pm last night....


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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4983840 - 12/25/11 12:49 AM

Jerry,

What I do if I can't see the DSO in the Frame & Focus mode, is take a 20, 30sec or even 1 min exposure (yeah, the stars will be oblong - but that's ok - these aren't keepers), then open the resulting RAW image in PS - Camera RAW program - and do a quick stretch of the image to see what is there. Then the tricky part is to slew the scope to center the object, and retake the image and judge. With practice is gets easier.

You can also look for star patterns around the DSO - and use them to center the object.

Hope that helps.


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jerryyyyy
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Reged: 10/06/11

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4983871 - 12/25/11 02:05 AM Attachment (28 downloads)

Quote:

Jerry,

What I do if I can't see the DSO in the Frame & Focus mode, is take a 20, 30sec or even 1 min exposure (yeah, the stars will be oblong - but that's ok - these aren't keepers), then open the resulting RAW image in PS - Camera RAW program - and do a quick stretch of the image to see what is there. Then the tricky part is to slew the scope to center the object, and retake the image and judge. With practice is gets easier.

You can also look for star patterns around the DSO - and use them to center the object.

Hope that helps.




Eventually I got it, but it is dull... I changed the stars for my original alignment to include one closeby, then did a precise GoTo and could see the star in the computer. I also printed out the star chart and verified a couple close in stars. In any case, I could image it, but only with 30sec 3200 ISO images. Gotta get that equatorial mount.

Edited by jerryyyyy (12/25/11 07:53 PM)


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MrWarmaker
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Reged: 12/02/11

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4984842 - 12/25/11 10:06 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

Newbie here but I've been lurking for a bit now. Figured it was time to come out of the woods and introduce myself. I haven't been at this but for a few months and I got bit by the astro photography bug. Ton to learn yet but I might as well post something. This is a single shot of M42 with my Canon 300D, ISO 800 for 90 seconds using prime focus. I haven't figured out Registax yet to stack up multiple shots correctly. It was taken through my stock 6SE on the stock GOTO mount. Still learning on that also. Anyways, don't tear it up to bad but I'll take advice. I did take it through PS for levels and curves.

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ac1
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: MrWarmaker]
      #4984883 - 12/25/11 10:59 PM

Tear it up? That's a pretty nice image for a first try with a single exposure. Good colors, nice gas pattern....when you get good at it, you'll be able to reduce the washout from the individual stars.

Andy, how easy do you find the Mallincam to use? I was ready to order the Xtreme last summer, then had to move and decided to save 1700 bucks instead. Now, I'm getting that itch again.


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ac1]
      #4985033 - 12/26/11 02:49 AM

My mallincam is a slightly older version and is really easy to use. Mine is the Color Hyper (non plus) which goes up to 128x sens-up and up to 14 seconds total exposure. I am really getting a kick out of using it, very intuitive and easy to use. I assume the Color Hyper Plus is similarly easy to use. The extreme, however seems to have a bit of a learning curve.

With my setup I use the standard 2 second integration (128x) to locate DSO's and then crank up the 7 or 14 second exposure modes. Sometimes such exposures are not necessary, as m42 over saturates with any integration longer than 2 seconds. I really like the Mallincam and I will continue to "drink the MC kool-aid" for years to come. I would, however, stick with the easier models that do not require a computer to operate. I imagine that the samsung cameras would perform similarly with a little more noise.

I get carried away, but the quick answer is that my model is very easy to use since it doesn't require computer connectivity. Just play with the exposure options until the image is how you like it. Super simple..

best regards,
Andy


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jerryyyyy
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Reged: 10/06/11

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4985554 - 12/26/11 01:39 PM

Hi guys. I have the same shot from last night and will post it if I can every figure out how to properly open it up on Photoshop with the FITS Liberator plugin. I have it stacked.

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svtdoug
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Reged: 02/07/11

Loc: Gig Harbor, WA, USA
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4985695 - 12/26/11 03:15 PM

Hi Warmaker,

Welcome to the Nexstar forum - and nice first image! You will find that this forum is very welcoming and will help you get the most out of your Nexstar and your imaging adventures.

A couple of questions to see how you are shooting - are you using Canon's EOS Utility software to control and download multiple images? If not, you should give that software a try - it should have been included on DVD or CD included with your camera. Once you master that software, I would recommend Backyard EOS - as it has many additional features that will make imaging much more efficient.

My experience with RegisTax is that its used to stack AVI (video) files only - could be wrong on that. For Canon DSLR RAW images, I would recommend giving Deep Sky Stacker a try. Its a free download, it's fairly easy to use and very powerful. It will automatically stack your RAW images and allow you to save the resulting image in TIF format - which you can open in PS for further processing.

Hope that helps. Don't hesitate to ask questions and do post your results.

Welcome to this insane hobby!

Doug


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MrWarmaker
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4985853 - 12/26/11 05:49 PM

Thanks for the advice Doug but I've tried to use the EOS Utility software. Unfortunately I am running Windows 7 and Canon chose not to support the Digital Rebel for Windows 7 and does not have a driver. My camera did not come with EOS Utility but I did find a copy to try. It came with a program called Remote Capture but it doesn't work either in Windows 7. I'll give Backyard EOS a spin and see if it will work with my camera and Windows 7. The Digital Rebel does not have live view on it so I doubt it will work. Guess I'm off to eBay to find a different camera, one that Canon is supporting in Windows 7.

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jerryyyyy
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Reged: 10/06/11

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4985980 - 12/26/11 07:22 PM Attachment (53 downloads)

Well, this is pretty much the image without tweaking or cropping after going through the RGB channels. I had to use the earlier version of Liberating FITS (2.3) to get the right Plug-in. In any case, thanks for the help getting me started.

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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4986086 - 12/26/11 08:30 PM Attachment (43 downloads)

Hi Jerry,

A very nice basis but perhaps you're not "pulling" as much detail from your image as there is within it. (?)

I made a minimum pass through P/Shop with the above and produced this. I hope you don't mind but I thought it might help you see what concealed data is actually available.

Best regards,
Tel


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ourobouros2k2
sage


Reged: 11/10/11

Loc: okc area, oklahoma
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4986127 - 12/26/11 08:59 PM

I have *GOT* to get photoshop, heheh

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jerryyyyy
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Reged: 10/06/11

Loc: Stanford, California
Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4986177 - 12/26/11 09:49 PM Attachment (25 downloads)

Well guys I have CS5 "for work" and am of course just practicing on these images. It was pretty challenging to get the image in as I had never merged tif layers like that before. I'll read, but I assume you worked on the levels, which is where I usually start (I usually go down the list of adjustments).

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haytor
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Reged: 11/29/07

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4986622 - 12/27/11 09:14 AM

Hi Jerryyyyy,

while i fully admit i`m rubbish at processing colour images, i did however have a play just to see what i could bring out in this image of yours, result below!!

BTW, hope you dont mind my playing, weathers been awful here so i needed something to do



regards,

Tom.


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haytor
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Reged: 11/29/07

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: haytor]
      #4986655 - 12/27/11 09:40 AM

One more try Jerryyyyy,



The first image i only adjusted levels and played with the colour scaling, plus tightened up the stars a tad, all done in my Nebulosity software, this image has been further colour adjusted with Photoshop. you may or may not like either though, LOL.

Regards,

Tom.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4986680 - 12/27/11 09:54 AM

Quote:

Hi Jerry,

A very nice basis but perhaps you're not "pulling" as much detail from your image as there is within it. (?)

I made a minimum pass through P/Shop with the above and produced this. I hope you don't mind but I thought it might help you see what concealed data is actually available.

Best regards,
Tel




Your Photoshop skills have grown immensely, Tel! Amazing what you pulled out of that image!

-Dan


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jerryyyyy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4986693 - 12/27/11 10:05 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Hi Jerry,

A very nice basis but perhaps you're not "pulling" as much detail from your image as there is within it. (?)

I made a minimum pass through P/Shop with the above and produced this. I hope you don't mind but I thought it might help you see what concealed data is actually available.

Best regards,
Tel




Your Photoshop skills have grown immensely, Tel! Amazing what you pulled out of that image!

-Dan




Yes, great job tweaking. But, of course, he can only pull out what was captured in the first place .

Was cloudy last night but I am looking forward to some new sequences for capture. Those shots were 30s x about 40. I wonder if this is really the equivalent of 15 x about 80 captures. I am using ISO 3200 but I think that the dark and flat fields seem to take out most of the noise.

My two planned targets for this are NGC253 and M81. I noticed that when I used this on M31 I truly got a picture of the size of M31 (which looked like the headlight of a train coming through the fog and filled the entire field...).


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4986977 - 12/27/11 01:31 PM

My abject apologies, Jerry.

I was completely unaware that so much lay dormant in your above published example of M 42 merely awaiting to burst forth !

Forgive me therefore for having tampered with such, unfortunately unbeknown to me, obvious latent potential.


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Peter9
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4987083 - 12/27/11 02:46 PM

Quote:



I was completely unaware that so much lay dormant in your above published example of M 42 merely awaiting to burst forth !





We live and learn Tel......We live and learn!!!

Regards. Peter.


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4988008 - 12/28/11 06:48 AM

Quote:

I have *GOT* to get photoshop, heheh




Hi Andrew,

Photoshop can be somewhat expensive as I'm sure you know ! Have you tried free download "GIMP" (current version 2.6.11) ? I believe it only works at 8 bit per channel but I still think the image processing it offers has great value.

I certainly keep it in reserve alongside my edition of P/Shop !

Here's the link if required.

http://gimp.en.softonic.com/

Best regards,
Tel


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4988010 - 12/28/11 06:51 AM

Quote:

Quote:



I was completely unaware that so much lay dormant in your above published example of M 42 merely awaiting to burst forth !





We live and learn Tel......We live and learn!!!

Regards. Peter.




Or perhaps just sometimes we don't, Peter ?

Best regards,
Tel

Edited by Tel (12/28/11 06:53 AM)


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4988314 - 12/28/11 11:33 AM

Quote:

I believe it only works at 8 bit per channel but I still think the image processing it offers has great value.




Just my 2 cents, but I think 8-bit processing is a deal-killer for astro image processing. With the amount of stretching that has to be done in these images, 8-bit images end up with too little data resolution and the resulting banding.

-Dan


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4988372 - 12/28/11 12:08 PM

So, just got PS and have been playing around with it. Downloaded the gradient Xterminator plug in and it is really handy with dealing with amp noise/glow from my video setup. I have fiddled with curves/levels, etc. but really have no idea what I am doing. Could one of you fine gents point me to a tutorial for a processing run such as the M42 examples above? I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and could use pointed in the right direction.

much thanks,
Andy


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4988470 - 12/28/11 12:53 PM

Hi Andy,

There are quite a few of them out there. One of my favorites are several done by Anna Morris, an American living in the UK. She has video tutorials running from beginner to advanced. Linky-dink

Another one by Louie Atalasidis.

Yet another by Salvatore Grasso.

Also, I recommend you go join this Yahoo! Group: Link
Neil Heacock posts unprocessed 16 bit images there as "challenges". He also has some good tutorials under "Links" on the group home page.

I learned a ton from these tutorials. Each imager has a slightly different approach to doing things like levels and curves. You can pick and choose which approaches you prefer.

Cheers,


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4988540 - 12/28/11 01:39 PM

Skip I really appreciate it. Since wind will prohibit observing/imaging tonight, I shall attempt to absorb as much of the data as I can from your links

thanks again,
Andy


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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: MrWarmaker]
      #4989199 - 12/28/11 10:02 PM

Quote:

Thanks for the advice Doug but I've tried to use the EOS Utility software. Unfortunately I am running Windows 7 and Canon chose not to support the Digital Rebel for Windows 7 and does not have a driver...




Hi,

I did some looking, and I believe you are correct. The latest EOS utility for Win7 does not support the Canon 300D. You seem to have a really current OS and a fairly old DSLR. There is EOS utility for Windows XP, version 2.4, that will support the 300D, so if you have another older computer around running XP, that might be an option. Otherwise, you might try to snag a newer Canon body on ebay that is supported and has Live View. I got my XSi body on ebay and paid about $350...no problems, just be careful and avoid sellers with little or no positive feedback.

Backyard EOS may require the same EOS utility driver, so that may not work either, but its worth a try.

Good luck!
Doug


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Tel
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4989255 - 12/28/11 10:42 PM

Quote:

Skip I really appreciate it. Since wind will prohibit observing/imaging tonight, I shall attempt to absorb as much of the data as I can from your links

thanks again,
Andy





Not wanting to overburden you, Andy, but here's three more vids relating to Levels and Curves, LRGB and High Pass applications in P/shop if you're interested ?

http://www.waid-observatory.com/article-curves.html

http://www.waid-observatory.com/article-LRGB.html

&

http://www.waid-observatory.com/article-hipass.html

I certainly think you'll find the first of these very useful.

Best regards,
Tel


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ourobouros2k2
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4989305 - 12/28/11 11:29 PM

Certainly am interested, thanks for posting Tel. I love this forum, you guys are always patient with my enormous learning curve, heheh.

thanks
Andy


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #4989560 - 12/29/11 05:53 AM Attachment (32 downloads)

Glad to help, Andy. I'm sure we all learn from each other !

I made my first attempt at the Rosette Nebula, (NGC 2237), last night just to see how my Xmas acquired Ha filter fared. Perhaps I was being optimistic, knowing that it was unlikely to work with a DSLR, (CMOS chipped), camera and I was proved right ! It didn't !

However, I changed to a Lumicon UHC filter and obtained the result below. I'm not at all sure that the colours are correct but I put that down to the filter.

So this, my first image of the "Rosette" is derived from:

102mm Phenix Achromat guided by my 200mm Nexstar 8i OTA on a Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro GEM.

Cameras: Capture - Canon DSLR 350D: Guiding - Meade DSI.
10 X 10minute Subs. 5 X 10 minute Darks: 5 X 2 minute Flats:

Captured in Stark Labs. "Nebulosity" software. Processed in P/Shop CS2.

Thank you for looking.

Best regards,
Tel


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Peter9
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4989587 - 12/29/11 06:29 AM

That's a great image Tel.

The amount of structure and faint filaments you've managed to capture in the nebula takes the eye in all directions. Really looks like its names sake too.

Thanks for posting.

Regards. Peter.


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haytor
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Peter9]
      #4989632 - 12/29/11 07:42 AM

I second Peter`s comments, very nice Tel,very well done mate, lots of nice detail in this one,Guiding at 10 minute subs looks good too, nice round stars!!

regards,

Tom.


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jerryyyyy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: haytor]
      #4989858 - 12/29/11 10:42 AM

Hello,

Have been out of commission for the past two days due to a hard disk crash and a few other calamities... thank god for my backups.

My original Red Dot Finder has died and I have a Telrad on order... try finding NCG253 without a finder some night if you want to waste a few hours. I duct taped my of Meade finder to the OTA...

Aside from that, if you are interested in CS5 and the various ways to waste large amounts of time with it, may I suggest the >100 episode called simple Photoshop CS5 in the iTunes store under iTunes U. This has a very nice discussion of color and bit depth. The author makes a good point that he generally edits in 32-bit which allows much finer gradations of coloring that 8 or 16-bit, and you can always return to 8-bit as needed.

One question: I am using BackYardEOS rather than the Canon utilities. I have a paid license. Is Nebulosity worth acquiring a license for?

Two question: I am planning to get the Sky Atlas 2000 to go with the Telrad finder, but there are several editions. Does anyone know which edition has the overlays for the finder?

Cheers


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Midnight Dan
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4989957 - 12/29/11 11:42 AM

Nice job on the Rosette, Tel! As you say, the colors are off, but that's probably due to the filter and the fact that much of the energy from this nebula is off in the near infrared where an un-modded DSLR has trouble picking it up.

-Dan


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Skip
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Tel]
      #4989984 - 12/29/11 11:55 AM

+1 on the Rosette, Tel. By the way, thanks for jumping in with the links for Andy. I had forgotten all about the Waid Observatory tutorials. I even have the links on my desktop! Crapola - hitting 72 does wondrous things to the mind!

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akawaka
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: Skip]
      #4990121 - 12/29/11 01:02 PM Attachment (36 downloads)

Picked up a focal reducer and focusing mask yesterday with some christmas giftcards so decided to give M31 a shot, its been a while since I took the camera out with me, but I was impressed with the brightness increase the FLR gained me, made focusing with the camera a lot easier. Obviously the bahtinov mask made focusing a lot-lot easier! I also switch from using nebulosity to using BackyardEOS in parallels on my MacBook, saving all the images to my network storage and then stacking on my much beefer PC downstairs with DSS.

Used 180 lights @ 10sec each 1600ISO, first time I've tried that I used to limit myself to 5sec 800ISO. 40 darks.


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akawaka
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: akawaka]
      #4990137 - 12/29/11 01:11 PM

Full 32-bit compress TIFF is here if anyone wants to experiment, I've only done some simple processing in DSS so far:

http://ds.akawaka.net/~akawaka/astro/m31-full.tif


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jerryyyyy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: akawaka]
      #4990683 - 12/29/11 05:47 PM

Very nice Akawaka. I am also a newbie and M31 reminds me of the headlights of a locomotive up there....

Looks like will be cloudy tonight in California... I have been trying to image NGC253, which is just visible in the southern sky by US. I have too much light north of me by M81.


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akawaka
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4990974 - 12/29/11 08:34 PM

Thanks jerry, I'm a disappointed with the contrast and the vignetting, I'll have to start taking some flats for sure.

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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: akawaka]
      #4992478 - 12/30/11 04:38 PM

Hi Martin!

Very nice image of M31 for a first try! Nice detail in the dust lanes.

Questions - what camera did you use, and is it attached directly to the focal reducer with a T-mount (Prime focus) or did you take it through an EP (A-focal)? My guess is that it was taken through an EP because of the vignetting. If you are taking the images prime focus, then I would suggest you take flats, along with the lights and darks. Flats can be taken of the sky before dusk, or via a light box, or of a white laptop screen. I use a white poster board illuminated by a very bright halogen work light. Seems to work for me.

I also found that I could get away with 15 to 20 second exposures, however at 20 seconds, I am loosing about 30% due to oblong stars.

Great start, keep it up, have fun, and please continue to share your images here!

Doug


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jerryyyyy
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4992806 - 12/30/11 07:58 PM

One other question, how did you attach the filter to the Canon? Is it just an add on?

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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4993368 - 12/31/11 03:51 AM

Sorry Jerry, it wasn't clear, were you asking me, or Martin?

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akawaka
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4994136 - 12/31/11 01:41 PM

Doug, I'm using an unmodded Rebel XSi. My light path is: FLR -> 1.25" visual back -> 1.25" T-adaptor -> T-ring

I'm guessing the reduction to 1.25" could be causing the severe vignetting?


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svtdoug
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: akawaka]
      #4994397 - 12/31/11 03:43 PM

Hi Martin,

You likely are correct on the cause of the vignetting. I use the Celestron SCT T-adapter (link), which has a ID of 1.5", while the 1.25" visual back has an ID of, well, 1.25" - and smaller than that with the 1.25" T-adapter insert. I do get some vignetting, but not that bad, nor as centered as yours.

I just ordered another SCT to T-adapter setup from OPT, that will also accommodate 2" filters. This adapter presumably has an ID of around 1 7/8". This might be something to check out. Both parts are $20 ea., so pretty affordable as adapters go. They are here and here. The reason I ordered these was to accommodate 2" filter into my imaging train. The larger inside diameter may also be a plus.

Again, great results for just getting started!

Doug


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akawaka
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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4998370 - 01/02/12 10:09 PM

Thanks Doug, ordered those OPT parts. While I wait for the moon to wane and the clouds to part I'm gonna work on a solution for taking flats.

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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4999006 - 01/03/12 10:36 AM

Quote:

Sorry Jerry, it wasn't clear, were you asking me, or Martin?




Was just asking anyone some basic questions about the light polution filers. I assume they go into the T-mount somehow? I am used to Canon filers, but not clear how these work.


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Re: AP Images Taken with Original NexStar new [Re: