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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

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NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions
      #4812566 - 09/17/11 11:20 AM

This thread is a companion to the AP Images with Original NexStar thread.

For one reason or another NexStar AP community is growing by leaps and bounds. As it grows, it spills into other (non-original NexStar) equipment and more sophisticated techniques. We also make (or continue talking to) friends that we met on this journey.

I believe existence of this tread is a testament of the simplicity and versatility of the original NexStar platform that welcomes new users and provides a natural path for growth in both Visual and AP.


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Smittty692k4
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812611 - 09/17/11 11:43 AM

Well, IMO Alex, the Nexstar community ITSELF (AP or non) is growing by leaps and bounds because of People such as yourself, Tel, Peter, Dan, Skip (among many many others) who share their experiece with the scope, what it can do, what you can do to it to make it do what you want (sorry if that was confusing), and just being all together intuitive to explain to people and let them make a decision about a scope based on their needs.

In all honesty, If it werent for you guys and this forum, I would have either bought a different scope and been upset, or still be scopeless.

Im sorry if I am ranting, but leaps and bounds is in many ways, because of all of y'alls friendly advice to newcommers, or to people looking to expand their scope collection.
In the near future, I look to move in to AP with the Nexstar as well, so I will be combing all these AP related threads in the meantime.


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Naturlich
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Reged: 10/30/09

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812639 - 09/17/11 11:54 AM

So, I hope it's ok to post a couple in here (if not I will remove the post no questions asked! Let me know)

The following are taken with my recently purchased Celestron f5 102mm (4") WV mounted piggyback on my LX200:

The moon on the 15th September 2011


M31 Andromeda 10th September 2011
Canon 400D Prime Focus
Very few exposures here, cloud cover was rolling in


And finally Pegasus Dbl Cluster 13th September 2011
Canon 400D Prime Focus
again, bad cloud cover, just managed to grab 5x30 second exposures in a gap through the clouds:


The 102mm is another little learning curve as the light pollution I suffer here which is bad through the 10" is only amplified by the f5 4" Celestron! I have a little chromatic abberation that I hope to control better in the future, but the f5 is an excellent addition to the rather narrow FOV of an f10 scope.

Nat

PS the image of the moon is showing to be as 992x968 even though I've changed it to 800 pixels, so I hope it's only a chache problem and it's not actually oversized for you.


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4812663 - 09/17/11 12:08 PM

Nat, I think this is exactly the right thread

If I understand correctly, the M31 image is done at prime focus with 4"? If so, the field of view is dramatically wider than on 6SE and 8SE in prime AP configuration. For some reason I thought 4SE was much closer to the bigger scopes from FOV stand point.

Can you post a picture of your setup? That is 4SE OTA mounted on the LX200? I have a friend of mine with an LX200 and I wanted to show him what a "hybrid" can do. He is too afraid to do any kind of AP with his scope, thinking it's "too difficult". Thanks.


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Skip
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Reged: 01/23/08

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4812669 - 09/17/11 12:12 PM

Hi Nat,

Good pics! Couple of comments:

Moon: Very sharp image, but a bit either overexposed or over-processed for my taste. Some surface features are blown out. Did you take subs and stack in Registax, then use wavelets on it? Maybe too much on the wavelets? As I said - only for MY taste.

M31: Very interesting shot! I imagine the dark smudges on either side of the core are either clouds or moisture on the scope lens? Also some small haloes around the stars might be from high thin clouds. But what caught my eye was the amount of detail (!) in the spiral arms that one can see if one studies the image a bit. Probably lots more data in there that could be brought out by some careful stretching in Photoshop. Nice picture, especially given the conditions.

Dbl Cluster: Once again, maybe a bit over-exposed (for my taste). Haloes around the stars may be either thin clouds or maybe over-processing? But, all in all, a nice image of a beautiful sight!

Keep 'em coming Nat!


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Naturlich
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Reged: 10/30/09

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4812684 - 09/17/11 12:32 PM

Alex,

Thanks, the scope is Celestron 4" refractor, not the SE, it's similar to (but not identical to) the Nexstar 102 SLT, thats why I mentioned that I'd remove if you wanted since it's not a true Nexstar, only very similar, but I have been meaning to load everything onto my mount and take a shot so I'll do that. I've greatly modified the LX200 though so it will carry extra weight with ease and tracking is greatly improved (I keep 100% of my 30 second exposures in alt/az)

Skip

Thanks, I agree the moon is a little over processed on wavelets I think, it's processed with aviStack2 as no version of Registax works with the avi's prodcued by the DMK41.

The dark areas I found were actually dust on the Canon sensor! I had to manually clean it, only found out after removing the doublet from the 102 and cleaning that first lol not a bad thing though, cleaning is always good lol

The halos are chromatic abberation, most visible on the brigh stars, through post processing it's been reduced somewhat, but I'll still need a fringe killer or minus violet to fix it completely.

After these almost practice shots I'm hopefully that the 4" refractor will work very well with a good 100 exposure session on an object rather than just the few exposures I've had chance to capture at the moment, but as I said, the light pollution through the 4" is like nothing you've ever seen and requires massive post processing to try to remove it whilst retaining the detail you want, one day I'll get to a dark site, but with day to day imaging I have to put in litteraly hours of work to produce usuable images from the initial exposures (all part of the fun tho!)

Thanks again guys

Nat


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4812709 - 09/17/11 12:43 PM

Wow, way to show my ignorance on NexStar product line Perhaps this is a common knowledge, but when I was looking for a scope, I was simply looking at the aperture numbers. Learning something every day.

On LP, you are probably well aware, but here is a link to the most excellent review by Samir: Comparison of filters for heavy LP. I like Samir's work and the style of presentation, both on this forum and elsewhere on the Internet.

Based on his comparison chart I purchased Hutech LPS:

Edit: Please provide a link to images that are NOT your personal property. Thanks.


Edited by rick rian (09/18/11 01:07 PM)


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Skip
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Reged: 01/23/08

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812814 - 09/17/11 01:39 PM

Hi Alex,

I knid of like the "No Filter = Visible + IR" image best - except for that weird greenish halo around the whole DSO. What the heck is that?


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4812827 - 09/17/11 01:48 PM

Skip, it's the LP. Not sure why it's greenish, but attribute it to Samir's processing. In his discussion of results he dives into details of the wispiness of the nebula arms and sounds (at least to me) convincing that Hutech is best choice for moderately polluted (below orange) skies. For sever LP he recommends another filter.

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Naturlich
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Reged: 10/30/09

Loc: Dukinfield, Cheshire, UK
Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812856 - 09/17/11 02:09 PM

Here you go Alex, this is my current setup:



I have an Orion Skyglow filter and an OIII currently (both 2" ofcourse), I think the skyglow works quite well, but I really need more time imaging to test and I really haven't had the chance since getting the 102mm, looking at the forcast it could be sometime before I get another chance aswell!

btw in the images:
Meade LX200-10: Upgraded to Autostar 497 with the George Dudash Deluxe upgrade kit, DIY motorised Crayford controlled through front panel, DIY dec bearing upgrade to needle roller bearings instead of plastic sleeves, dec control pots replaced with better units and tuned by George Dudash, DIY total and utter strip down of all component parts (drives, gears, fork mount) for cleaning, regreasing, and final fine adjustment to Orothgonality (is that a word?) Piggy Backed with a Celestron 102mm Wide View f5 refractor (also has a white Light solar filter)which itself has a Lunt LS35THa solar Hydrogen-Alpha telescope piggy backed on it.

Tracking is almost perfect, I still want to do a minor tweak to the LX200's LOS, it's off my a couple of milimeters. But after Super-Supercharging the LX200, tracking for imaging is pretty darn spot on, it was good before but now 30 second exposures are a breeze.

Imaging is done through all scopes.

As good as the LX200 is, that Celestron is the real finishing touch, the 102mm f5 FOV is amazing, it's like being there! Apart from Chromatic aberation, I rate this 102mm way up there, that image of the Perseus Cluster is a cropped image, the full FOV is way bigger than that.

For that friend of yours Alex, I HIGHLY reconmend a nice wide field scope to piggy back on the LX200, the LX is just too restricted in its FOV, and there's nothing like seeing and imaging big starfields, the 4" apature is in no way a restriction in what it can capture with multiple exposures, but you get the WHOLE picture lol

Thanks Alex

Nat


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4812885 - 09/17/11 02:26 PM

OK, did not read your post yet, Nat. One thing: picture is worth way more than thousand words. Working on another (NexStar) issue at the moment. Standby.

Orthogonality is a word.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4812916 - 09/17/11 02:45 PM

Alex:

Excellent set of new threads and well named!

-Dan


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4813916 - 09/18/11 01:06 AM

That is quite a beast you got there Nat Amount of DYI gear is even more impressive. My DYI usually ends at attaching a Velcro strip. Thanks for the pictures.

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Naturlich
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Reged: 10/30/09

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4814227 - 09/18/11 09:07 AM

Thanks Alex. Yeah I'm a bit of a DIYer There's nothing I havent had in bits mulitple times and rebuilt, but all the work has been worth it, when I got the scope I only had about a 50% keep rate from 30 second exposures due to tracking errors, I got that up to 70% after a strip and regrease of all the gears, now after boring out the fork arms to take roller bearings the tracking is awsome.

The Crayford I motorised using the JMI motor focuser for my 130SLT and a strong rubber band as a drive belt from the motor to the focus wheel.

Just really have high hopes now for the Celestron mounted on here, its opened up many more targets for images and gives a totally different perspective on things when your just viewing objects

It's certainly very handy to have such a substatial mount though, it carries the extras quiet easily, more so since I upgraded the dec bearings aswell, the dec is almost frictionless with the clutch released.

Thanks

Nat


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Naturlich
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4814247 - 09/18/11 09:27 AM

Just thought I'd show the light pollution I'm working through. Below is the original image of Perseus, It's only been stacked with no further processing at all, so you can see where I start from, typically I'm able to reduce the light pollution primarily through DeepSkyStacker with further processing in photoshop:



Link to full sized:
http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af173/mod_Naturlich/lpexample.jpg


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Arthur Dent
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Reged: 10/23/08

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4814456 - 09/18/11 12:07 PM

Wow Nat,

I think I'd remove the tracing paper from the objective before you try AP again!!


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Alex Post
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Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4814511 - 09/18/11 12:47 PM

Wow, you need filters. You need some serious filters. But even before filters I would try to clean the sensor even further. LP you can work with, dark spots on image from the dust, there is not much you can do.

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Naturlich
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4814616 - 09/18/11 01:47 PM

Quote:

Wow Nat,

I think I'd remove the tracing paper from the objective before you try AP again!!






LOL yeah the skyglow filter should help fix that, it'll be interesting to compair next time I get some clear skies, but I've gotten kinda used to post processing all that out so it's not all bad (as you see in the top perseus image, back to black:) ) The dust on the sensor is actually gone now thankfully!

I can handle the LP when it's a stars only object, the problem ofcourse comes when your trying to get a nebula through that, that takes a much more delicate touch for sure!

Nat


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Uggbits
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4819383 - 09/21/11 01:02 AM Attachment (108 downloads)

I have a couple images from last night. Finally had a chance to play with hyperstar on the club's 14'' Meade SCT. First let me say that it was insane. We tested a 0.1 second exposure, and caught at least 50 stars in a star field. Crazy stuff.

For my images I went a bit crazy with the power of guiding rushing to my head and overexposed for the light pollution situation (who knew that 8 minute subs at f2 was too much right?).

Anyways, I got 32 minutes on M101 catching the supernova, and 56 minutes on M33. I prefer the 101 image myself, but you be the judges (and be mean!). I think I'll need to have a go at the processing on 33 again tomorrow. Finding data in that pollution is tough.


M 101. 32 minutes through a Meade 14'' with hyperstar. 8 minute guided subs, all shot at -15*C.


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Uggbits
sage


Reged: 04/28/10

Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4819388 - 09/21/11 01:05 AM Attachment (116 downloads)

Before I post the M33 shot, I wanted to post my M 101 in alt/az from June. It was about two hours of exposure likely at 45 second subs. Fancy gadgets aren't everything - last night the transparency wasn't great, and I feel like it shows in the images.

Edited by Uggbits (09/21/11 01:06 AM)


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Uggbits
sage


Reged: 04/28/10

Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4819389 - 09/21/11 01:08 AM Attachment (84 downloads)

Here's the M33. I'm not terribly happy with either of these, but they'll have to do for now!

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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4819510 - 09/21/11 05:56 AM Attachment (80 downloads)

Hi Uggs,

Strangely enough I too tried for M33 recently (17 Sept), and I'm also not that happy with my image either but then again, the Moon was almost full which didn't help.

I was also trying out my new, (just bought) "Hitecastro" guider which proves to be working well.

This image represents 12 subs X 3 mins. dark subtracted. No flats. Captured in "Nebulosity" and processed in P/Shop CS2.

Equipment: Imaging 'scope Cheap f/5.9 4" Phenix achromat OTA with Baader "Semiapo" filter attached.

Camera: Unmodified Canon 350D.

Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro GEM "Hitecastro" guided via a Meade DSI. PHD software.

Guiding 'scope: Nexstar 8i OTA. f/6.3 FR in place.

Both 'scopes are mounted side by side on a Astro Engineering "Gemini" bar. (dual vixen dovetails).

Thank you for looking, Any advice for improvement is most welcome.

Best regards,
Tel


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Uggbits
sage


Reged: 04/28/10

Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4820046 - 09/21/11 12:50 PM

Tel, you got really well defined spiral arms. This galaxy is a weird one, because as you can see in my image if you go deep enough there is almost a cloud of stars blurring the arms from below. The moon probably offset that a bit (crazy target with the moon up by the way!). I would say that this target needs a larger field, and lots of time (contrast especially). Really tough.

Come to think of it the moon was probably rising for most of my image, so that might be why it doesn't appear that great. I figured even with hyperstar a 14'' would have a higher resolution than this one is showing. Must have been the poor transparency (1/5 on the scale). Oh well. Great shot Tel, cheers!
Dan


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4820185 - 09/21/11 02:07 PM

Hi Uggs,
M101 - I like your earlier one much better. The arms are more resolved and the colors are better (IMO). Looks like the Hyperstar goes so deep that the really dim star fields in the galaxy sort of mush together.
M33 - I like Tel's image best. Once again it looks like the Hyperstar overexposed the dimmer star fields. Although you can clearly see the spiral arms in your M33. Just too much "stuff" in the backgorund. But keep at it. That Hyp might be a bit difficult to master. Once you get it though, I'm sure there will be some stunning images!


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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4820289 - 09/21/11 02:58 PM

"Tel, you got really well defined spiral arms."

I have it on good authority he has well defined spiral legs as well. They help him stay one step ahead.

Regards. Peter.


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4820408 - 09/21/11 04:30 PM

Hi Peter. I know a man with a wooden leg called Smith.

Dunno what the other leg is called though.


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4823074 - 09/23/11 04:57 AM Attachment (85 downloads)

Winter's coming folks ! This sign of it, M45, The Pleiades, is rising ever earlier these evenings !

12 X 5 minute subs. Dark subtracted: no Flats.

Canon 350D / "Cheapo" Phenix 4" f/5.9 achromat.

Guided by Meade DSI/Celestron Nexstar 8i @ f/6.3.

Scopes side by side,(Vixen tandem bar), on a Skywatcher HEQ5 Mount.

Captured in Nebulosity: Processed in Nebulosity and P/Shop CS2.

Comment: The nebulosity is nice in my view but some, as yet unexplained, ovalidity in the stars. (Or is it my astigmatism) ?

Thank you for looking.

Best regards,
Tel



Edited by Tel (09/23/11 05:14 AM)


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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4823112 - 09/23/11 05:40 AM

Yes, it will soon be "Long John" season.

I never tire of looking at M45.

Thats a nice image Tel.

Thanks for posting.

Regards. Peter.


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4823511 - 09/23/11 10:59 AM

Hi Tel,

Love the image. Looks like some noise in the DSO or maybe it's color gradient. One thing you might try. You can get 30 days of free usage of Gradient Xterminator if you download it. It might be useful on the image. It also could be that in stretching it to bring out that great nebulosity, you couldn't avoid the noise. Noel Carboni's Astro Actions probably could be put to use to help that situation. Don't know which one (or ones) off the top of my head that might help though. Carboni's actions will cost you some poundage ($22 US). I know his Reduce Stars action will reduce some of the slightly bloated stars.

Just some random thoughts. M45 is a great target and you got it very well.


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MushroomBill
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4823807 - 09/23/11 01:59 PM Attachment (79 downloads)

Had a tinker with Mr Carboni's tools - hope you don't mind me tinkering with your image Tel (always wanted to say that!)

Andy


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: MushroomBill]
      #4824652 - 09/24/11 03:29 AM

Feel absolutely free to "tinker" by all means, Andy !

I'm not at all familiar with the workings of Carboni but it seems to have given the image a softer look which is very pleasing, at least to my eye. I would however prefer to lose the "blueness" of the background stars.

Any chance of doing this ?

Best regards,
Tel


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4824661 - 09/24/11 03:55 AM

Quote:

Hi Tel,

Love the image. Looks like some noise in the DSO or maybe it's color gradient. One thing you might try. You can get 30 days of free usage of Gradient Xterminator if you download it. It might be useful on the image. It also could be that in stretching it to bring out that great nebulosity, you couldn't avoid the noise. Noel Carboni's Astro Actions probably could be put to use to help that situation. Don't know which one (or ones) off the top of my head that might help though. Carboni's actions will cost you some poundage ($22 US). I know his Reduce Stars action will reduce some of the slightly bloated stars.

Just some random thoughts. M45 is a great target and you got it very well.




Hi Skip,

Thank you for your kind and helpful comments.

I like the idea of downloading that "Gradient Xterminator" as gradients are one of the most unwanted but prevalent features, certainly of my brand of imaging ! Of course there might also be a little noise there as I "upped" the ISO setting in this instance. I normally use a low ISO 400 in order to keep noise to a minimum but in this case increased to ISO 800. I did take five darks though immediately following the session ! Perhaps I should take more trouble to take "Flats" although even these don't appear to have the desired effects of gradient reduction. I'm therefore open to all suggestions !

Apologies all round for the late reply. I've only just got back into the land of the living after being active from 7:00am Thursday through to about 5:00am Friday following the night's imaging !

Best regards,
Tel


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4824734 - 09/24/11 06:17 AM Attachment (66 downloads)

Another attempt Skip.

I haven't done anything about your gradient sighting, (I need to examine the "Gradient Xterminator" yet), but I think I've removed much of the star "blobbing" in the image. There's a mechanism, (feature), within the "Nebulosity" software I'm using for capture and minor degrees of processing which I think is quite effective. It does tend to remove some of the fainter stars but I find the overall effect more than compensates for this.

What d'ya think ?

Best regards,
Tel


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Smittty692k4
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4824810 - 09/24/11 08:15 AM

To be honest Tel, I just like looking at The Pleiades. I always can show it to people cause it looks like a blue ? in the sky. HAHA

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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4825139 - 09/24/11 11:52 AM

Nice image of the Pleiades Tel but just one observation.

In both the original and the subsequent images, the sky seems to be a little "washed out" ie a shade of grey and not black. Have you tried any processing to reduce the sky to black?

How's this?



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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4825301 - 09/24/11 01:46 PM

Hi Art,
Good effort, but where have you hidden all the lovely nebulosity?.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4825362 - 09/24/11 02:25 PM

Hi Tel,

I don't know if I mentioned this, but Gradient Xterminator is a Photoshop plug-in. Once it is in PS, you select the Filter menu item, then RC-Astro, then Gradient Xterminator. So if I gave the impression that it is a stand-alone program - my apologies. I believe it will work with CS2 - I have CS4, but there is little difference from CS2 to CS5 for AP applications. OK, just checked and GXT works with all versions of PS from PS 5.5 all the way up to PS CS5, so you are covered. I'm going to send you a PM about this and some other issues. Wait for it!


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4825414 - 09/24/11 03:02 PM

Thanks, Skip ! Is it a "freebie" ?


(Not that I'm mean, you understand)!

Best regards,
Tel


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Smittty692k4
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4825669 - 09/24/11 05:49 PM Attachment (61 downloads)

Well this is my 1st try... dont go too hard on me guys.

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4825671 - 09/24/11 05:50 PM

Now that I see it compared to others on here, looks a tad bit reddish... And by a tad, I mean its red. D'oh.

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4825700 - 09/24/11 06:13 PM Attachment (54 downloads)

How bout another go at it

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4826286 - 09/25/11 03:43 AM Attachment (64 downloads)

Great shot of the Pleiades Tel. If you keep images of that quality going with a "cheapo" (you said it, the pictures don't reflect it) refractor I'll start wondering why I shelled out for a triplet.

This is my second shot with my new beauty. The night was awful, and a haze covered the sky but I was bound and determined after finally achieving a polar alignment. This is 15 1 minute frames of M31 ( I know, I did it last week) with my SVR90T. Mounted on an HEQ5 pro, shot through a Canon XSi at iso 1600, flats, darks, and bias frames. Despite this it is crazy noisy (the flat field calibration was great though, so I'm bemused) and I'm going to do a cop out and blame it on the night sky, and the fact that I only have 15 minutes of total integration. On a side note I didn't screw with my colour balance - I just trusted the "aponess" of the 'scope and my camera (aka I was lazy and will need to re-process).


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4826324 - 09/25/11 05:36 AM

That's still a very fine image of Messier 31, Uggs ! Congratulations ! A great basis from which to assess what will be undoubtably achievable from your new refractor given decent conditions !

Talking of which and funnily enough, I set out under clear skies last night to capture the very same object with that 4" (102mm) "Cheapo" of mine but I thought I'd start with trying a 3 minute exposure.

As a result, I think this image of yours has just taught me that longer exposure times can be entirely unnecessary and that just because I can now guide my set-up, it's as well not to get too carried away with this fact !

Back however to my attempt last night. I made several test images at said 3 minute exposures only to find that each was ruined by the PHD tracking system telling me that it was losing guide star alignment half way through the exercise.

As always, I looked for all the technical explanations instead of looking up.

Yep ! Wall to wall cloud cover ! I'll never learn !

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4826445 - 09/25/11 08:37 AM

That's a nice image Ugg.


Just curious about part of the image. In the bottom of your image there is what looks like a black frame but it has stars overlaid?



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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4826810 - 09/25/11 12:52 PM

Hi Art & Ugg,

That is most likely a stacking error. One way to prevent this effect is to do a crop of the edges of your image before doing any processing. There are almost always some of these "rough edges" due to minor stacking errors. If you look at Levels in PS, these often show up as tattering (dots) along the base on both side of the histogram. Neil Heacock recommends doing a crop to get rid of these artifacts.

Full disclosure - I am no PS guru. But I am sure learning a lot by watching Neil's video walkthroughs on the DSLR imaging Yahoo group. I highly recommend it for anyone trying to get up the processing learning curve.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4826833 - 09/25/11 01:00 PM

Quote:

Thanks, Skip ! Is it a "freebie" ?




Hi Tel,

No unfortunately. It costs about $60 US. You dl it, use it for free for 30 days, then you have to pay (online). I haven't bought it yet - I still have about 5 days left on my free trial. But I would say that it is well worth it if you are going to be doing lots of PS processing. Color gradients are probably the toughest thing to deal with in PS. And GTX tackles the problem mathematically rather than by endless trial and error. Huge time saver with consistently better results. Oh, BTW, GTX also does color balancing during its process. That can be another tough nut to crack.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4826902 - 09/25/11 01:47 PM

I was workin on M31 challange this morning Skip. But the Texans are on now, so "school" can wait til later. Haha

But Neil's vids are amazing. I know what yall are talkin about now when you say " levels and curves". Haha


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4826915 - 09/25/11 02:00 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Thanks, Skip ! Is it a "freebie" ?




Hi Tel,

No unfortunately. It costs about $60 US. You dl it, use it for free for 30 days, then you have to pay (online). I haven't bought it yet - I still have about 5 days left on my free trial. But I would say that it is well worth it if you are going to be doing lots of PS processing. Color gradients are probably the toughest thing to deal with in PS. And GTX tackles the problem mathematically rather than by endless trial and error. Huge time saver with consistently better results. Oh, BTW, GTX also does color balancing during its process. That can be another tough nut to crack.




Hi Skip,

Very many thanks for the "heads-up" on this one. I've found the trial download and have already watched the tutorial. It certainly looks a useful tool. Gradients, as you well know, are the life bane of every astrophotographer !

I just hope I get enough clear nights within the thirty in which to evaluate it fully !

Much appreciated, Skip,
Best regards,
Tel

Edited by Tel (09/25/11 02:01 PM)


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4827104 - 09/25/11 03:46 PM

Thanks Skip.

I thought it looked like a processing artifact and most likely a stacking error and I'm glad to have that confirmed


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Uggbits
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4827865 - 09/25/11 11:44 PM Attachment (49 downloads)

The same night I had a gap in which I grabbed 16 minutes of data on M27 with the NP127is the club owns (my own refractor was put away due to cloud at this point).

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Naturlich
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4829028 - 09/26/11 04:52 PM

Hi all,

Thought I'd drop by with my latest wide field view from the 102mm.

Here we have:

M27 Dumbell Nebula
Celestron 102mm WV
Canon 400D
Orion Skyglow Filter
25 x 30 second exposures


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4829037 - 09/26/11 04:53 PM

Is that taken through tracing paper again Nat?

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Naturlich
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4829056 - 09/26/11 05:01 PM

And here's another big wide field, M57 Ring Nebula, same setup as above but only 15 exposures this time.



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Naturlich
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4829066 - 09/26/11 05:04 PM

LOL Art, ALWAYS through tracing paper from here, but tonight I'm using the Orion Skyglow filter so the images are coming out dark instead of the usual bright yellow! (although the is a color shift because of the filter) I know there's some really sweet close up shots on here, but I'm enjoying the wide field views, adds a little overall perspective, like how tiny the Ring is compaired to the Dumbell with the same setup, yet overall much brighter.

Nat


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4829089 - 09/26/11 05:14 PM

That's a nice shot through the tracing paper Nat!

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4829095 - 09/26/11 05:17 PM

If the weather holds I'll be moving onto some work with the 10" that gives way closer/bigger shots with the Canon, but right now I'm sort of learning how best to use the 102mm since this is the longest I've had clear skies in ages! Taking a few on the west Veil right now with the 102, and for a change I can actually see it in the exposures lol

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Naturlich
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4829099 - 09/26/11 05:18 PM

darn, I had to go mention the clear skies didn't I.. clouds are rolling over as I type!

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4829101 - 09/26/11 05:19 PM

Ooo I really like the wide field Ring, Nat! That is about what it looks like in my 25mm EP/6SE.

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Naturlich
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4829700 - 09/27/11 12:15 AM

I got loads done tonight, excellent night with next to no cloud for the most part. So for my last addition I couldn't help but go for M42, again with the same setup as above.



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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4829718 - 09/27/11 12:24 AM

Oh, forgot to add the Veil, it's not great, but it's by far the best I've ever managed! The F10 Lx200-10" just can't get it. with the F5 102 it fitted well, but I wasn't sure how much would come through as it was really faint on the exposures, stacking and post processing helped a lot, but its a little grainy with having to push the processing.



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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4830329 - 09/27/11 12:10 PM

That's a nice Orion image Nat

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4830352 - 09/27/11 12:23 PM

Thanks Art!

Funny that the little 4" actually produces better images of M42 than the 10" can.. might have to work on that lol But so far I'm very happy with the 102. I need to do more testing with the OIII filter next time to see whats best for what target, but it's definately opened up more options that the 10" just doesn't have the FOV for or is too slow. Looks like we could have a few clear nights, so lots of work ahead


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4830466 - 09/27/11 01:10 PM

Naturelich, I think your meade has a mosiac mode built in. If you use a mosiac (it takes longer) you can get an incredible image of m42 with your 10''. Make sure you reduce it to 6.3 because the field-flattener will help. There will be a large advantage in resolution with this method, at a loss of time. I'd say do something like 9 panels at 30 minutes each (4.5 hours over a couple nights) and you'll get a stunning image.

Edit - also great images. The m42 is a great widefield shot, and now you have me wanting to go out and image the Veil.

Edited by Uggbits (09/27/11 01:11 PM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4830535 - 09/27/11 01:53 PM

Thnaks Uggbits!

I'll look into that mosaic mode. My LX200 is an upgraded hybrid, the electronics have been replaced with improved systems and uses the Autostar 497 now, so you can think of it as a really big ETX, but I'll have a look through for info. If not I guess I could do it manually anyway, it's not M42 is going anywhere lol

If I may, I'll just show an example of what I get with the Canon 400D at prime focus through the 10" pointing at Orion, as you can see, the nebula is much fainter and less defined than through the 4", but it could be worth trying out a mosaic with the skyglow filter and see what comes out.

M42
LX200 10"
Canon 400D Prime Focus - *Sky Glow Filter

*Edit: Just checked, I did use the Skyglow filter with this one.


Edited by Naturlich (09/27/11 01:58 PM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4830561 - 09/27/11 02:07 PM

What kind of exposure length (both total, and subs) are you using? I think I posted in the last iteration of the imaging thread about needing enough exposure per sub to grab the photons from the faintest stuff you are interested in capturing. With Orion it isn't much of a concern, but with a light pollution filter and a properly functioning mount, you should really be pushing past 30 seconds, and likely hovering at 45 seconds per sub exposure. The filter will eat some light (and hopefully lots of light pollution), so you need to counter this by lengthening the individual exposures to maintain a high SNR.

There is an abundance of detail in that shot of M42 - imagine that much detail across the entire nebula. This is the advantage of using such long focal lengths provided the atmosphere can support it.

Your exposure of M42 from the 10'' shows that you really do need to mosiac to get the "big picture." How long was the total exposure on that? It looks about the same as a 1 minute sub from the yellow zone my Mom's.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4830593 - 09/27/11 02:31 PM

I'm typicaly using 30 second subs since I'm working in Alt/Az, when I'm working with the 10" I normally go for 100x30 second subs, but looking back at my notes that image is 47x20 seconds @ ISO 1600 with Skyglow Filter giving total exposure of approx 15.6 mins. It was taken before I started my overhaul of the fork mount so I was probably limiting my single exposure time to reduce tracking errors, although I'm surprised I only stacked 47 subs, I didn't make any notes of problems, just what I did for the image, that said, the 102mm has alot less than 47 subs, but at a longer exposure of 30 seconds.

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Naturlich]
      #4850999 - 10/08/11 06:34 PM Attachment (40 downloads)

Took my first shot of M45 for the season last night. It was an interesting night - nearly full moon so the conditions were less than optimal. Sadly that's the weather at this time of the year. Fog continued to move in below us during the night, and Victoria was covered in a blanket of fog, making observatory hill appear to be standing on the shores of an ocean - quite crazy to descend into for the drive home.

A sliver over 1h of 30s exposures. Canon XSi iso1600, through an SVR90t (no flattener/reducer at this point). Bias dark and flat frames used for calibration.

The mount was the club HEQ5pro, but it was a 1/5 for transparency, and with the Moon going over 30s exposures didn't make sense.


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4851681 - 10/09/11 07:22 AM

Despite the conditions, that's a nice image Ugg!

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4852620 - 10/09/11 07:07 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

Thanks Arthur!

It's been cloudy lately, so now that I have some fresh data I have an "itchy" finger and had to re-process it at least once! This is my latest go, hope you like it (it feels more natural to me).


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4853272 - 10/10/11 03:31 AM

Nice image Uggbits. I hope to be back in business soon with a new CGEM that is on its way.

BTW, we are currently in Genoa Bay tonight - just up the road from you. Tomorrow we are likely heading for Sidney.

Cheers,
Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4853290 - 10/10/11 04:29 AM

Nice imaging, Uggs ! I particularly like the second. The nebulosity is brought out so beautifully !

Congratulations !

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4853320 - 10/10/11 05:25 AM

Nice images Uggs. I too particularly like the nebula brought out in the second image.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4853839 - 10/10/11 12:34 PM

Doug, I'll be in Duncan for dinner, and am just visiting my Mom's in Cobble Hill. You're in the victoria club right? (I think you were by me at the star party, one over from John?).

Thanks guys! I'm hoping for some clear skies the coming new moon. I'm chomping at the bit for a few more hours on M45 and then a Orion. I want to make Orion a winter project- 10+ hours (maybe 20+!).


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Kim2010
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4854222 - 10/10/11 03:59 PM

WOW! Those images of the Pleides are stunning, Uggbits!

Kim


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Kim2010]
      #4858639 - 10/13/11 01:39 AM

Hi Uggs,

No, I live in Gig Harbor, WA...so no - I'm not part of the Victoria Club. We were up in your neck of the woods on vacation. Had a very nice Canadian Thanksgiving dinner in Sidney at a great little Swiss restaurant.

So close, would have been fun to meet you, but with travel friends and spouse, that wasn't in the cards. Maybe next time we are up your way.

Keep up the good work on the imaging! My CGEM arrived today, so will be fiddling with it for the next several days! Then I have a lot to learn.

Cheers,
Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4859919 - 10/13/11 09:16 PM

Uggbits,

second image is a big improvement on the first version. I do not see any unwelcome artifacts after additional processing. This is a very solid M45 image. I am looking forward to throwing my CGEM with the original orange tube at it full force this Fall.

Thanks for posting and press on.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4863136 - 10/15/11 08:56 PM

Thanks Alex,

I tore it right down and started from scratch again. I had to get inventive in the processing due to the near full Moon. The contrast in the SV90t is spectacular: I credit it with the fact that I was able to separate the nebulosity from the background.

It is probably the most technically sound processing I have done yet, and for any newer imagers there are two main reasons for this; calibration, and a high signal to noise ratio. I was shooting under moonlight, so going for long exposures was pointless (they would wash out), but total exposure was as always very valuable. I took flats, darks, and bias frames. Not only did I take them, but I took lots of them. My individual frames were only 30s long, and I couldn't really make out the nebulosity frame to frame. Sometimes I convinced myself it was there, but I couldn't really tell (it was at best very weak). Despite this just an hour of data provided both a good amount of data, and a pleasant image to work with. This is because I took lots of light frames (about 140 or so). That many frames smoothed out the background quite well, and left a nice image to work with.

So, for all budding imagers - if the conditions suck, cut exposure length, and just take lots of them. At worst you'll end up with a smooth image that is easy to work with (although it may be devoid of data!).

Alex, I look forward to your result. I can only imagine what you'll be able to pull out with an 8". My CPC has "horseshoes" all over this target, so I can admit I was pleased that everything remained tight in the refractor on a relatively bright/challenging object. As a suggestion, this could be an interesting target for you to do as a mosaic at f10. It would take a long time, but you might be able to catch some impressive detail (without those pesky horeshoes may I add).

I'll try to press on: I have been having problems with my CPC lately. I can get it up on the wedge, with at least a decent polar alignment, but it is "skipping" in its tracking. I have been trying to make sure this isn't a balance issue, but it is frustrating to track down at the least. Alt/az is just so much easier :P. I don't keep my CPC with my at school, so I use an extra club mount for my refractor, but every time I come home I tinker trying to get it figured out.

Doug, I think you might have been a bit perturbed to meet me: I'm a 22 year old history major at Uvic. Definitely not the typical age of an amateur (at least in my area).

Sorry for the longwinded reply - I'm procrastinating from writing a paper and for some reason writing a small one to you guys is a pleasant alternative. (I just did a word count, and this is half the required length of my paper... it took 5 minutes to write this yet I haven't finished the paper after a few hours of work!)

Cheers!

Dan


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svtdoug
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4863158 - 10/15/11 09:12 PM

Dan,

No I would not have been perturbed at all. Sometime I would love to meet this 22 year old college student who produces great images with an alt/az mount and pick his brain!

Good luck with that paper...


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4863605 - 10/16/11 05:33 AM

Quote:

Sorry for the longwinded reply - I'm procrastinating from writing a paper and for some reason writing a small one to you guys is a pleasant alternative. (I just did a word count, and this is half the required length of my paper... it took 5 minutes to write this yet I haven't finished the paper after a few hours of work!)

Cheers!

Dan





I wonder why we do that


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4864168 - 10/16/11 01:17 PM

Quote:

I wonder why we do that




Because writing the paper for school smacks of WORK. Writing a long post here is almost always a pleasure. I am the world's biggest procrastinator. I have lots of things I SHOULD be doing but this is a lot more fun! Just ask my SWMBO, as she stands there tapping her foot shaking my honey-do list in her lovely hand!

By the way, I used the words "lovely hand" to placate her as she watches me type this. No workee! She just told me to knock off the snow-job BS and get this stuff done!

Yikes - later guys.


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4864209 - 10/16/11 01:38 PM

I think the phrase you need right now is..

"OK Honey, I'll get right on it!"


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Alex Post
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4864691 - 10/16/11 06:29 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

I am still processing the backlog of data from early October. Amazing how quick I forget the use of Registax and Photoshop

I did this small mosaic of my favorite Plato region as another warm up:


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Alex Post
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4864710 - 10/16/11 06:46 PM Attachment (46 downloads)

And also this weird idea I had: how big is Jupiter compared to Plato? Pretty close it turns out. Overlaid Jupiter on the Moon after using same optical train and camera:

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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Alex Post]
      #4864762 - 10/16/11 07:21 PM

I presume that you mean "apparent diameter" Alex

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Smittty692k4
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4865386 - 10/17/11 06:01 AM

Hey, how did Juptier get there!! Hahahaha

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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #4865433 - 10/17/11 07:14 AM

As the Kangaroo said when it found itself in Africa.... "I thought that last leap was a BIG one".


Regards. Peter.


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flboy
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4865456 - 10/17/11 07:43 AM

"Overlaid Jupiter on the Moon after using same optical train and camera:"

Wow, this really showed how far away Jupiter is considering how much larger it is compared to our moon:

http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/interactives/messenger/psc/PlanetSize.html

Thanks Alex for that overlay!!!


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ftrobbie
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: flboy]
      #4868124 - 10/18/11 04:43 PM

John

Follow this link and then just do it.

Earth as a peppercorn

I have done it three times, the first time with my eldest son. I thought I understood it. Only by doing it, did I truly understand what it meant.

I've done it with my father, who said he got it, but when he did it, he finally understood it.

I've done with some coworkers, who said they got it, but after they did it, they got it.

I tend to use traffic lights at intersections as the sun. You get to see them from over half a mile away, whereas as a ball or something else will just "disappear ". The other stuff is expendable, I rarely go back for it.

My coworkers get annoyed when I keep saying we have travelled to the moon, 2.5 inches, we want to go to Mars, 14 yards, the next nearest sun, 4200 miles. All on the same scale. And we think we are important.

Look at the relative size of the stars we look at. We are tiny

Have fun


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4868253 - 10/18/11 06:01 PM

That's a resouce I'll definitely user Rob, many thanks!

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flboy
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4868964 - 10/19/11 06:22 AM

Hi Rob!

Good to hear from you!!

Yes, I'll give this a try

Thanks for posting!


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deck
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4869333 - 10/19/11 12:05 PM Attachment (45 downloads)

Here is my first shot at night anybody know what faint streak of light at bottom left center

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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: deck]
      #4869349 - 10/19/11 12:17 PM

Satellite?

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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: deck]
      #4869351 - 10/19/11 12:18 PM

Nice capture Deck.

Aquila and Delphinus show up very well.

As for the streak of light, could it be an aircraft light etc? passing through the F.O.V during the exposure?.

Regards. Peter.

Edited by Peter9 (10/20/11 07:24 AM)


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Midnight Dan
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4869398 - 10/19/11 12:53 PM

Hi Deck:

I'd say it's either a satellite or airplane.
-Dan


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Naturlich
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4869450 - 10/19/11 01:32 PM

I'd say it looks like our good friend the iridium flare

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ftrobbie
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: deck]
      #4870484 - 10/20/11 05:23 AM

Quote:

Here is my first shot at night anybody know what faint streak of light at bottom left center




deck

If you know the rough date and time, you can use Calsky Calsky link to identify what it was. It's not 100% foolproof but I have found it useful to identify around 90% of fast moving objects. If it was a plane then it will not help.

Have fun


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4894083 - 11/02/11 03:30 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

T'm somewhat pleased with this image taken last night having now changed, (thanks to Haytor's advice), to the use of Stark Labs "Craterlet" software and also the help given by a few of the experts over on the "Solar System and Lunar Imaging" forum.

Scope: Nexstar 8i OTA on a HEQ5 Pro GEM .
Camera: Philips SPC 900 NC + X3 Barlow
2000 frames AVI @ 10 FPS. Gain at aprrox.
75%. Zero % Gamma setting.

Best regards,
Tel


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4894188 - 11/02/11 04:26 PM Attachment (54 downloads)

And another shot made some 15-20 minutes later. I was surprised by how much the planet had rotated in such a short period of time. The right hand barge on the first image has virtually disappeared !

Incidentally, I forgot to add that both AVIs were processed in Registax 6 and in P/Shop CS2.

Thank you for looking.

Best regards,
Tel


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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4894321 - 11/02/11 05:50 PM

Two more fine images Tel. Many thanks for posting.

It's good to see through your images, what I was looking at myself last night. Around 21.15 to 21.45 if memory serves.

The barges do give a good indication of how quickly surface features move.


Regards. Peter.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4894404 - 11/02/11 06:29 PM

Excellent images, Tel! About how many frames did you stack?

-Dan


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4895141 - 11/03/11 04:48 AM

Many thanks for your kind comment and appreciation, Dan.

I'm sorry, I know I should keep full records but with my "hit or miss" approach to astro-imaging, I'm often grateful that I have produced something at all !

All I can say is that I timed the AVI run for 200 seconds at 10 frames per second. With Registax 6 processing I set the quality level to 80, (in fact I think this is the default), and then after aligning, limited the eventual stack to about 80%. At the end, I suppose in theory, this might relate to about 1200 frames, but in reality who knows,: nearer 600-800 ?

Best regards,
Tel


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4895150 - 11/03/11 05:07 AM

Quote:

Two more fine images Tel. Many thanks for posting.

It's good to see through your images, what I was looking at myself last night. Around 21.15 to 21.45 if memory serves.

The barges do give a good indication of how quickly surface features move.


Regards. Peter.




Hi Peter,

Many thanks for your comments: much appreciated.

Could you actually see the GRS during your observing time ? I must say that I had no idea of its presence at the time I shot the image, (about 22:00h UT).

What I do know and have known for some time, is that it is no good relying on Stellarium to give an accurate picture of the changing face of Jupiter !

If one checks back: according to Stellarium, the GRS was at the position shown on the image at ca. 17:30h and then again at 03:30h UT, (ca.10 hour rotation period), for the 1st. November. However, I know for certain I took these images within about 15-20 minutes of each other sometime around 22:00h that evening !

Best regards,
Tel


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Midnight Dan
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4895239 - 11/03/11 07:35 AM

Quote:

... is that it is no good relying on Stellarium to give an accurate picture of the changing face of Jupiter !




Interesting! You'd think that since Stellarium does show the surface of Jupiter rotating by, it would make an effort to show the correct face at the right time. But I checked the next GRS transit on the Sky & Telescope web site and, sure enough, it's nowhere to be seen at that time in Stellarium!

-Dan


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4895251 - 11/03/11 08:03 AM

Yes, Dan. I don't understand why Stellarium can't "get it right", after all, they certainly appear to have Jupiter's rotation period correct, (and others, I surmise), so presenting the correct face at the correct time shouldn't, I'd have thought, been that much of a programer's nightmare !

Ah well, I suppose I shouldn't complain. It is after all, free, and for most purposes, serves me well !

Best regards,
Tel


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flboy
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4895257 - 11/03/11 08:07 AM

Hey Tel,

Your latest image of Jupiter is spot-on!!

Congrats & keep on posting!!


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THEPLOUGH
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: flboy]
      #4895291 - 11/03/11 08:48 AM

More great shots Tel... Won't be long before the Astro Mags come head hunting you for their photography pages...

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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4895318 - 11/03/11 09:05 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Two more fine images Tel. Many thanks for posting.

It's good to see through your images, what I was looking at myself last night. Around 21.15 to 21.45 if memory serves.

The barges do give a good indication of how quickly surface features move.


Regards. Peter.




Hi Peter,

Many thanks for your comments: much appreciated.

Could you actually see the GRS during your observing time ? I must say that I had no idea of its presence at the time I shot the image, (about 22:00h UT).

What I do know and have known for some time, is that it is no good relying on Stellarium to give an accurate picture of the changing face of Jupiter !

If one checks back: according to Stellarium, the GRS was at the position shown on the image at ca. 17:30h and then again at 03:30h UT, (ca.10 hour rotation period), for the 1st. November. However, I know for certain I took these images within about 15-20 minutes of each other sometime around 22:00h that evening !

Best regards,
Tel




Hi Tel,
I think, and only think, I caught the briefest glimpse of the GRS during my 30 to 40 minutes observing Jupiter. Seeing conditions were not good.
It was the Barges that I used to determine the probable time that you were "busy" with Jupiter, corresponded with the time I was visually observing.
Your views on the accuracy of Stellarium match my own. I have checked and found that the positions given do not match what I see at the eyepiece.

Lets face it Tel, you can't beat being out there.

Regards. Peter.


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MushroomBill
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4895430 - 11/03/11 10:30 AM

I seem to remember something about needing to make a change to the stellarium ini file to give you the accurate position of the GRS. Maybe that was an older version?

Nice images regardless of the spot position


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4895480 - 11/03/11 11:09 AM

Hi Tel,



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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4895512 - 11/03/11 11:30 AM

Ref: Stellarium not showing the GRS correctly.

I never tried to use Stellarium for that, but I'll take everyones word on it failing in that regard. I USED to have a great little program called Jupiter2. It showed the correct position of the GRS and of all the Galilean moons. It also showed moon and shadow transits, with times to the second. It was very accurate. But somehow it got wiped off my hard drive (I probably did it myself with my wizard ways and ham-fistedness ). And now I can't find the site where I dl'd it. I would love to get it dl'd again - so if anyone knows where in cyberspace it is, please let me know.

There is a Sky & Telescope web page that does similar things, but I never like it as well as Jupiter2.


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4895566 - 11/03/11 12:04 PM

Found it!! As usual I was using the wrong search terms. Anyway, here it is. Those of you who want a very good tool for determining when the GRS will be in view, download it, install it, and enjoy!

http://astrosurf.com/rondi/jupiter/


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4895611 - 11/03/11 12:34 PM

Just fooling around with the program - Io will be making a transit over the planet tonite. Io will touch the rim at 23:06 PM CDT tonight (05:06 AM UT), followed by its shadow at 23:19 PM. Io will track just below the SEB and the shadow will be right on it. Interestingly, the GRS will be crossing the limb at about the same time as Io but will lag behind it during Io's transit. Io will be right in the middle of Jupiter at about 12:20 AM. The GRS will be about 30 degrees behind it at that point. Io will end its transit at 01:20 AM with the shadow following it a few minutes later. At that time the GRS will be right about in the middle of the planet. The GRS moves out of view around 03:00 AM. Got all of this (plus more if you're into it) from Jupiter 2.0. This has to be the coolest little program ever developed for Jupiter gazers.

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MushroomBill
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4895630 - 11/03/11 12:46 PM

Thanks Skip. I've downloaded it and will try it out.

Supposedly a fix for Stellarium is to amend the ssytem.ini file and in the [jupiter] section add or change the following value:

rot_rotation_offset = 127

remember to backup your ssystem.ini before you make any changes! I shall cross reference the two programs next time I'm out there.

Hope this helps someone and you make any changes at your own risk!


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Midnight Dan
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: MushroomBill]
      #4896299 - 11/03/11 07:51 PM

Quote:

amend the ssytem.ini file and in the [jupiter] section add or change the following value:

rot_rotation_offset = 127




That did it! Thanks!
-Dan


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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4896996 - 11/04/11 08:30 AM

Thanks Bill.

It worked for me too.

My offset was set at =250. At =127, Stellarium matches the Jupiter surface features on SkySafari (ipod touch app), which are spot on.

Regards. Peter.


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MushroomBill
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4897099 - 11/04/11 10:18 AM

No problem. Glad it worked for you. There was some discussion somewhere about real positions and the time taken for the light to get here etc.

Me, I just want to see the red spot!


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: MushroomBill]
      #4897144 - 11/04/11 10:47 AM

Dan & Peter,

If you are really into Jupiter, give that Jupiter 2.0 download a try. It is free and really slick! I guarantee you will like it!


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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4897166 - 11/04/11 11:00 AM

Hi Skip,

Many thanks for the heads up.

I already have Jupiter2 installed on my computer. It is, as you say, a good little program.

Regards. Peter.


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4897754 - 11/04/11 05:46 PM

/off-topic:

Wasn't Jupiter 2 the name of the spaceship from "Lost in Space"?

/on-topic


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herrointment
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4897882 - 11/04/11 06:54 PM

Tel, that is fine shot of Jupiter......and the Jupiter 2 program is a keeper....Thanks to all!

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TmaninTn
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: herrointment]
      #4898350 - 11/05/11 02:40 AM Attachment (36 downloads)

Jupiter, and an out of focus Io. 3X barlow, neximage at 5fps, 1/25 shutter, about 200 frames.

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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4898959 - 11/05/11 02:02 PM

Nice Jupiter, Tim. GRS, barge, and Io... can't get much better than that.

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TmaninTn
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4899271 - 11/05/11 05:26 PM Attachment (32 downloads)

I got this one later (same settings from above), and I have to agree with Tel, it's amazing how fast Jupiter is spinning. The Red Spot moved this far in probably about an hour.

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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: herrointment]
      #4900008 - 11/06/11 05:39 AM

Sorry for the slow response, Andy, Skip and Jim to your kind comments regarding those two images of Jupiter I produced recently. Hilde has slipped off for a week's astrology; (well,... Sun worshiping), in Madeira for a week with my stepdaughter, Sonja, so, in having to cook my own lunch et al, time is currently at a premium !

Seriously guys, many thanks for your appreciation. My now use of Stark Labs "Craterlet" software coupled with a few very useful hints and tips from CN members, friends and colleagues, is hopefully beginning to pay off. My next ambition is either to rise early enough or stay awake long enough to have a stab at Mars before the dawn.

Again, thanks and regards,
Tel


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4900024 - 11/06/11 05:58 AM

Hi Tim,

Very fine images once again !

You've certainly captured some detail there but yes, it's amazing how fast those features DO travel across the disc ! This of course limits the camera's run time if any degree of motion blurring is to be avoided.

Accepting that you used your Neximage camera, are you using Amcap to capture ? I believe this was the "default" capture program for Neximage cameras ? Have you tried any other programs ? If you have, it's just that I'd be pleased to hear your opinions to compare them with mine.

Many thanks for posting and best regards,
Tel


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herrointment
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4900378 - 11/06/11 10:28 AM

Quite the difference between the Sharpcap and Craterlet shots Tel.

I recently switched from Amcap to Sharpcap and am producing results remarkably similar to your Sharpcap results.

Time for yet another switch to Craterlet.

Would you be so kind as to repeat a few of those helpful hints?

Thanks,

Jim


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: herrointment]
      #4900527 - 11/06/11 11:44 AM

OK, newb question time... (I guess I'm not really a newb, although Susan claims I seem to wake up in a new world every day ).

What exactly does Amcap, Sharpcap, and Craterlet do? Control the NexImage camera? Process results? And what are the differences? Does one of these come with the NexImage? I'm a bit confused. So please educate me today (so tomorrow I can ask the same questions ).


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4900579 - 11/06/11 12:14 PM

Gosh, I would like to hear that too. I installed the Amcap and with a bit of fiddling, managed to find the Neximage controls. Haven't tried yet due to rains.

Btw, is it better to take images at 15 FPS or 5 FPS, seeing Tim's post above which states 5 FPS for that lovely Jupiter shot. Thanks.


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herrointment
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Maverick199]
      #4900760 - 11/06/11 01:40 PM

I can tell you that they allow your webcam images to be captured and stored on your computer hard drive.

They seem to be remarkably similar and yet different.

Yes it is better to capture at 5 frames per second unless you think 20 frames per second is better, while others think 10 or 15 FPS is ideal.......oy!


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: herrointment]
      #4901327 - 11/06/11 06:27 PM

Here is what Ray Shores says about frame rate in his tutorial (found HERE ):

Quote:

Another important setting is the frame rate. The frame rate is directly related to image quality. Normally, I use a frame rate of 5 fps (frames per second) or 10 fps. Basically, 5 fps yields a higher resolution frame than 10 fps. However, by using 10 fps, I can obtain more frames (to stack) in a given time period. 5 fps works well when the seeing is very steady. Otherwise, I use 10 fps (which is most of the time!)




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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: herrointment]
      #4902651 - 11/07/11 01:15 PM

Guys

There was a discussion here last year on frame rates, with the SPC880/900's. Alex Post did some tests with the above camera, however the SPC's use USB 1.1 protocols so data transfer rates are "restricted".

Post link here SPC look for Alex Post posts around 2 October 2010

The question as always is how much image degradation are you prepared to accept and how long do you want to image for. My understanding was that you should try to capture as much detail as you can at the point of capture, you can ignore data that is not there but cannot create it.

Hope it helps


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4902785 - 11/07/11 02:31 PM

I've been using wxAstrocapture with the Neximage cam for my planetary shots recently and I've noted before that I think this program is a little more user friendly (for me anyways) in terms of getting the right settings down.

As far as FPS goes, I find that if I can get the image steady enough to get 5FPS I get a much more detailed shot than any higher setting for FPS. I have no idea why this is, but through trial and error it just seem to work the best at getting the most out of the capture.

Here's the site for wxAstroCap in case anyone is interested-

http://arnholm.org/astro/software/wxAstroCapture/


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4902846 - 11/07/11 03:00 PM

I'm too new to planetary imaging with a webcam to be qualified to comment in any depth.

However, since acquiring a Phillips' SPC900NC in September of 2010, I have so far used Amcap, Sharpcap and of late Craterlet: the latter being in my opinion, the most user friendly so far. I have not used wxAstrocapture, but it too, appears to come highly recommended.

As to FPS, I am told, (and I think it reflects in my latest images), that 5 FPS to 10 FPS is the most acceptable range, above which, compression begins to take its toll.

Regarding other settings, I received some very good advice from over on the Solar System Imaging and Processing forum, where I posted under the heading of "Onion Rings": (an artefact I was suffering during processing in Registax). I think the post is now on the third page and descending rapidly into oblivion. It's a busy forum !

Two very important settings relate apparently to the "Gain" and "Gamma" within the software. According to the advice I received and my own practical application of it, it seems to pay dividends to place the "Gain" high on the slide scale, (ca. 70-75% min.) but keep the "Gamma" at zero.

As to the optimum number of frames, this will depend somewhat on the planet's rotation. Comparing for example, Mars with Jupiter, too many frames on the latter will invite blurring !

And that's it ! All I can say further is that of late, I have seen a marked improvement.

I just wish the weather here would do the same !

Best regards,
Tel

Edited by Tel (11/08/11 06:10 AM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4903083 - 11/07/11 05:12 PM

Thanks to all!

I've been through all this before and I appear to be back at square one on most nights.

There is so much to learn and so very few nights of decent seeing.

It is fun and frustrating at once....that's the way it is when you're trying something new I guess.

Thanks for the answers.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: herrointment]
      #4911424 - 11/12/11 05:09 AM Attachment (32 downloads)

Well, full moon, poor seeing, but a clear night - what to do? Trying out Backyard EOS (what a neat software package for many reasons!) and looking at the moon and Jupiter. Tried this neat feature in BYE for taking video via the live view of the Canon XSi - and at 5X magnification if you like. Neat feature. Despite the pretty marginal seeing - Jupiter was jumping around like a jumping bean - I took some video of the moon and Jupiter. This shot is the first one I processed - my first try at RegiStax and video. Also a bit of touch up in CS3 with color balance and Unsharpen Mask. Hope you like it. Will post more as they get processed and are of any quality.

Taken with C8 on CGEM w/ 6.3 focal reducer, and BYE doing the video capture, and Canon XSi unmodded with CLS-CCD clip in filter. (meant to take the CLS out, but forgot - not sure how that would affect the shot).


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THEPLOUGH
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4911535 - 11/12/11 08:19 AM

Neat...

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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: THEPLOUGH]
      #4911751 - 11/12/11 10:52 AM

Nice imaging, Doug, particularly under a virtual full Moon ! Certainly not an easy task at all with so much light around and thus so little contrast !

Many thanks for posting !

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4912272 - 11/12/11 03:41 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

Thanks to all who chimed in and offered advice.

It really helped!

I was always under the impression that gain settings were to be set as low as possible to reduce noise. Obviously not the case with this setup.

This is a big improvement over my usual mess.

Nextimage, 5FPS, Sharpcap, Registax 5, 200 frames stacked.

Hmm...gotta learn to crop a picture too!

Hey, it worked!

Edited by herrointment (11/12/11 04:44 PM)


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TmaninTn
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: herrointment]
      #4912343 - 11/12/11 04:14 PM

Nice shot Herr! You got the GRS and the two barges, well done!

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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: herrointment]
      #4912488 - 11/12/11 05:57 PM

Quote:

Hey, it worked!




It certainly did, Jim ! Congratulations on a well defined image !

Mars next ?

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4913098 - 11/13/11 02:24 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

Thanks Tel and Geoff for your comments.

Here are a couple of other moon shots.

The images of Jupiter didn't turn out so well...need to take the focal reducer off to get a large image and order better seeing for next attempt.


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svtdoug
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4913101 - 11/13/11 02:27 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

Full moon...

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ftrobbie
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4913198 - 11/13/11 06:15 AM

Jim and Doug

Nice shots guys

Jim

Well done for getting the details out of the Equatorial Belts.

Doug

Like the close up of the moon

Keep it up guys and have fun

Rob


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4913695 - 11/13/11 12:12 PM

Quote:

Like the close up of the moon




+1. Especially along the limb where the relief really stands out!

, Doug!


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THEPLOUGH
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4913764 - 11/13/11 12:44 PM

Yet more great shots Doug. Like Skip said, you really caught the relief around the limb...

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: THEPLOUGH]
      #4913780 - 11/13/11 01:00 PM

Great shots of the Moons limb Doug. Thanks for posting.

Regards. Peter.


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svtdoug
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4914818 - 11/14/11 12:23 AM

Thanks for your comments guys!

What else can you do with that full moon floodlighting your observations setup? At least it is easier to see things. I may have to try pulling the colors out of the moon like others have done.

Now we have a series of storms marching into the Pacific Northwest - for at least a week - with possible snow later in the week. Good grief! More time to practice with CS3...

Cheers!


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4916701 - 11/15/11 05:37 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

I'm grossly indebted to Doug, Jim and Tim for providing me with some much needed inspiration !

The perpetually cloudy weather of late here in southeren England is absolutely depressing; so much so as to confirm that my last outside imaging session was on the 1st. Nov. and goodness knows when the one before that took place ! On average, and while I don't keep records, I think we're lucky to get two "useful" nights per month at this time of the year down here !

Thus, seeing the great images these guys are producing and with ever increasing jealousy over the fact that I cannot actually get out there and practise the art, they've nevertheless inspired me to use this inactive time to attempt improving my existing image files with various, home devised experimental Registax and Photoshop techniques.

I've therefore been "messing" a little further with the last Jupiter image I took and, as a result, I personally think that I've achieved a small improvement. I just wish improving on the weather situation were as easy !

Thank you for looking.

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4916774 - 11/15/11 07:08 AM

Hi Tel,

I think it is a good improvment on the first in that more if the delicate features can be seen on the second image.

This shows up well in the N.E B and the S.S.T bands.

The colours too are a little more "pleasing" to the eye.

Best Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4916803 - 11/15/11 07:45 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

Looks like I need to replace my amcap. The best I have gotten with it is this last night.

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ftrobbie
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4916816 - 11/15/11 08:04 AM

Tel

I really like the processing on that shot, I think this might be a case of less is more. This does not looked to be as pushed to the limit as other images you have posted. I therefore think the colouring and detail is easier to see.

Great work keep it up

Have fun


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: oldstargazer]
      #4917019 - 11/15/11 10:51 AM

Oldstargazer

You sound disappointed.

You can see a barge, GRS and moon transit, I would say that is pretty impressive.

Good stuff and keep at it until you are satisfied


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4917043 - 11/15/11 11:06 AM

Hi Peter, Hi Rob,

Thank you both for your much appreciated comments.

I too think I am beginning to improve my processing technique and curb my instinct to go too far OTT ! (Mind you, with the weather as it is, further practice is unlikely to be restricted) !

Rob; it seems as if I've at least come some way since we discussed "flash upgrading" my then just bought SPC880NC webcam from Morgans back in Sept. '10 and the kind words of wisdom to "fix it" for me I received from you at the time ! Thanks again !

Best regards,
Tel


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ftrobbie
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4917054 - 11/15/11 11:16 AM

Hi Tel

You are welcome, I thought though that Tom fixed it the end for you by flashing it.

Glad it is working for you, Skies looking clear here at the moment, so after Parents evening I might get a chance to play, I might even try some imaging

Have fun


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4917091 - 11/15/11 11:45 AM

Hi Oldstargazer,

As you can appreciate, I too am still pretty low down on the planetary imaging learning curve but, so saying, I did learn a few very useful tips recently.

1) Abandon Amcap in favour of Craterlet or wxAstrocapture, (both of which are free imaging software and hopefully, downloadable to your particular computer). Amcap, (at least to me), seems to introduce a lot of unwanted artefacts which I find Craterlet does not, (or is at least not so prone to do so). I have not tried wxAstrocapture but our Nexstar colleague, Kim, seems to flourish with its use.

2) Focus as best you can but don't prolong the operation too much otherwise you will find yourself spending so much time adjusting as to make all counterproductive. Just acknowledge that the frames you are viewing, WILL seem to hop in and out of focus, (unless the atmosphere is ultra calm) ! Remember: image blurring can be corrected for example, by Registax or Photoshop if not too excessive).

3) Set the exposure on the low rather than the high side in order to avoid image burn out of the brighter areas of the planetary disc. Set the Gain high, (equal to or greater than 75%), but reduce the Gamma setting to zero. Set the frame rate to something between 5 and 15 frames per second. Much higher will begin to enhance compression and may well degrade the image.

Obviously you will need to experiment. All I can say is that, this is the advice I've recently been given and which, I personally think is beginning to pay off ! I therefore hope it helps you as it appears to be helping me!

Best regards,
Tel

Edited by Tel (11/15/11 02:33 PM)


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4917123 - 11/15/11 12:06 PM

Quote:

Hi Tel

You are welcome, I thought though that Tom fixed it the end for you by flashing it.

Glad it is working for you, Skies looking clear here at the moment, so after Parents evening I might get a chance to play, I might even try some imaging

Have fun




Thanks Rob,

Nearly right, but following your kind offer to flash upgrade that Phillips webcam for me, you'll perhaps recall I suggested that my good pal Andy, (Mushroombill), from nearerby in the north of Oxon and who visits from time to time, might possibly undertake the task ? This, (for which I am grateful to Andy), he undertook for me !

Hoping you skies stay clear and you ARE able to get out to play tonight ! I'm sure you don't need anyone to tell you that clear nights in the UK are as rare as hens' teeth !

Many thanks once again and best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4917125 - 11/15/11 12:07 PM

Hi Tel,

That re-process of Jupiter is really very good.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4917174 - 11/15/11 12:27 PM

Hi Tel, Re the weather, I've been using the Met Office Desktop Widget

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/desktopwidget.html

for the last month and am finding it to be fairly accurate.
It's simple to use and is up-dated every three hours with alterations seemingly made "on the hoof". It will give you some idea as to how long you are to remain miserable for.

I know we said that the best forecasts were made by us looking out of the window, but I think it's worth you giving it a go.
You can remonstrate with me later, should it not live up to expectations.

Regards. Peter.


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ftrobbie
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4917417 - 11/15/11 03:06 PM

Peter apologies for encouraging this to go off topic but in the interests of keeping this on topic with imaging with non Nexstar equipment I have responded to your post above on the Hope some of you are out their thread

I beg forgiveness for leading this astray


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ftrobbie]
      #4917546 - 11/15/11 04:47 PM

Thanks Rob for the comments and thanks Ted for your advice. I just would like to capture something as good as what I can see in the eyepiece. I have installed the ir blocker on my neximage and that helped with the focusing. If I process it more with the wavelets you can see lots more detail but it also looks very processed. I will try the other capture software and see how that works. Thanks again guys.

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: oldstargazer]
      #4917577 - 11/15/11 05:12 PM

What a great hobby!

The learning curve keeps pitching up but there's always a helpful shove from someone here at CN.

Forward!


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: oldstargazer]
      #4918372 - 11/16/11 05:32 AM

Hi Skip,

Many thanks for your kind comment. Processing practice is perhaps beginning to pay off and I'm currently getting plenty of it. Certainly there's not much chance of getting outside and doing anything with this continual UK cloud cover. (The same incidentally as last year ) !

BTW, I still haven't put that gradiant terminator program into practice. I've been holding it reserve until I really needed to use/try it, bearing in mind that it's on a limited free trial period. However, given no sign of this awful weather receding, maybe I'm being too optimistic of any spate of fresh imaging under clear skies, in which case I can also apply it with a view to improving a few file images.

Hi Peter,

Many thanks for the "Forecast Widget". I will indeed give it a try although it does seem to be some kind of offspring of the Met. Office satellite program I'm already using. Thus, that well tried and tested "Open Window, Peer Out" technique may still produce the best forecast !

Thanks once again to you both,
Best regards,
Tel


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4919226 - 11/16/11 03:32 PM

Quote:

BTW, I still haven't put that gradiant terminator program into practice. I've been holding it reserve until I really needed to use/try it, bearing in mind that it's on a limited free trial period. However, given no sign of this awful weather receding, maybe I'm being too optimistic of any spate of fresh imaging under clear skies, in which case I can also apply it with a view to improving a few file images.




Hi Tel,

Another thing Gradient Xterminator will do is to balance the color channels for you (as long as they are not too far out). Pretty neat program. I'm holding off buying it (my free trial has expired) until I'm able to start with my own images. So right now, I have a dead plug-in sitting in PS.

On another note, I did purchase Noel Carboni's actions for PS. They work great!

Cheers,


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4919239 - 11/16/11 03:38 PM

Quote:

Thus, that well tried and tested "Open Window, Peer Out" technique may still produce the best forecast !




Boy Tel, you sure have that right! Two days ago we were supposed to get 2-3 inches of badly needed rain. All the forecasters agreed. Nary a drop fell. In fact, it was only cloudy for a couple of hours. If I was that incompetent at my job before I retired, I would have been canned!


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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4919273 - 11/16/11 03:50 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Thus, that well tried and tested "Open Window, Peer Out" technique may still produce the best forecast !




Boy Tel, you sure have that right! Two days ago we were supposed to get 2-3 inches of badly needed rain. All the forecasters agreed. Nary a drop fell. In fact, it was only cloudy for a couple of hours. If I was that incompetent at my job before I retired, I would have been canned!




Hi Skip,

Steady on there Skip. I think Tel is already spending time under the stairs due to the weather.

And should that be caned as in cane, or canned as in can (tin can).

I hope it's canned, I bet you look great when your canned (three sheets to the wind).

Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4919416 - 11/16/11 04:56 PM

Hi Peter,

You always get me laughing. "Canned" is 'mer'can slang for fired. But I'm sure you knew that and are just being Peter.


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svtdoug
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4923776 - 11/19/11 03:08 AM

Figured I would post this here, as itís related more to imaging beyond the stock NexStar SE.

Well, a Orion ST80/StarShoot Auto Guider arrived yesterday - and it rained all day and night - not surprising. That gave me time to figure out how to mount the ST80 on the 8SE OTA. As it turns out, I did some machine work, drilling two half holes and drilling a flat ledge for half a screw head to latch on to - as the supplied Vixon style rail is just a bit wider than the center-lines of the two screw holes on the rear cell of the 8SE OTA and 180 degrees out from the SE mount rail. With a thick washer under the two screw heads it seems to be very secure. I am wondering how others have mounted a ST80 onto the 8SE OTA. If anyone would like to see photos of my installation, let me know and I will take some.

So this afternoon it started to clear around 3 pm and by dusk it was nice and clear! So I set up the 8SE on the CGEM with the ST80 on board. My first attempt at calibrating on a star with PHD resulted in an error message about not being able to guide in Dec, but RA was ok. It did guide in RA and I watched a star in a 12mm reticle EP in the 8SE for about 10 minutes and the PE was gone! I then turned towards M31 and tried some 3 minute exposures - they looked pretty good - much better than anything to this point. There was a wee bit of Dec drift in some frames however. I shot about 35 frames until the clouds started moving in again. Well see how they turn out.

There was a bit of clearing to the east so I tried guiding again on a fairly bright star - this time I checked the setup screen and noticed that Dec guiding was turned off. Hmmm. Turned it on and went through the calibration again with PHD - this time it calibrated in RA and Dec and started guiding very well. I did check the PHD graph after it had guided for a few minutes and noticed that the Dec graph was slowly but steadily trending down on the graph. I surmise that this means I have some dec drift due to non perfect polar alignment. The thought has therefore crossed my mind that this might be a good way to fine tune the polar alignment - if pointed east as I was, tweak the alt adjustment until the graph is flat over time. More to learn. (I had done two ASPA tonight - but I am finding them to be not all that accurate - as I invariably see drift.)

Any who, I was very impressed with the neat guiding package and software that Orion supplies, and how I was able to get the scope guiding first night out!!

The clouds ultimately won out, so I didn't have a chance to do any imaging with both axis guiding. Until next time!

Cheers,
Doug


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4923852 - 11/19/11 05:21 AM

Cheers Doug, nice report.

Whilst I don't envisage doing what you have done, pics would probably be helpful to others so if you could post a couple..


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4924882 - 11/19/11 07:12 PM

Hi Doug,

Yes, pics please. I am planning on doing something similar with my 6SE and (maybe) a decent 80mm. If it's feasible, I like to try it your way as opposed to side-by-side.


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svtdoug
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4925418 - 11/20/11 03:22 AM Attachment (46 downloads)

Ok, Arthur and Skip, I've posted some photos of my ST80 mounting on the 8SE OTA. Let me make a disclaimer here - this is not the most elegant solution around by far! I used a heavy duty floor model drill press with a holding fixture to do with drill bits what you would normally use a milling machine for. But if you are careful and go slowly, you can drill half a hole in the relatively soft aluminum rail. I figured I had little to lose if I messed up the rail. This is not an idea solution, as you are capturing the rail between two screws with only about half the head of each screw. I found that in my case the rail is held on securely - enough so that I am not worried about it falling off at the worse possible time (over concrete!). So if you attempt this, you will need to judge for yourself - how secure you feel it is, based on your ability to drill half holes and create a flat shelf for the screw heads. Please don't take my word for it.

I included specifics on the drill bits and machine screws used in the photo description - which is here.

I might add that the one disadvantage to this method (other than it looking rather Rube Goldbergish), is that you cannot easily remove the ST80 - for when you want to use the OTA on the 8SE mount. Therefore, I am considering purchasing the ADM mini dovetail rail - here, and two clamps - here - that I would then mount the tube rings to. Not a cheap solution, but one that gives you a lot of flexibility.

I hope this helps out someone. And if anyone has come up with a better solution, please chime in!

Best!

Doug


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Midnight Dan
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4925984 - 11/20/11 11:47 AM

Quote:

I am wondering how others have mounted a ST80 onto the 8SE OTA.




Hi Doug:

I have not mounted an ST80 on the 8SE OTA, but the way the dovetails are normally mounted on the OTA is with a pair of radius blocks like these that ADM sells: ADM Radius Blocks
Note that they have two slotted holes to either side and one in the middle. The slotted holes can be used on the rear of the OTA where you need to two screws, and the central hole is used on the other end.

I think the ADM mini dovetail would work, but it's pretty light duty and may introduce some differential flex in your system. Since you already have your vixen dovetail mounted on the scope, why not just buy the vixen sized dovetail adapters and mount your ST80 using those: ADM Vixen Size Dovetail Adapters.
This would cost less and be more solid, allowing you to attach larger OTAs onto the 8SE if desired in the future.

-Dan


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svtdoug
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4926437 - 11/20/11 04:24 PM

Hi Dan,

This is why this forum is so helpful. Many more sets of eyes!

I had seen the ADM radius blocks, but had never looked closely at how they were designed. You are right! It looks like the aft radius bar can be attached to the rear cell with two screws, then the existing Orion bar can be attached with a center bolt. This is sure to be a more secure method of attachment than what I have jury rigged.

And I did not realize ADM makes the Vixen size dovetail clamps or adapters. I would need to flip the Orion bar over to use these - but that should not present a problem.

I will get those pieces ordered straight away.

Thank you very much Dan!

Doug


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Uggbits
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4928775 - 11/21/11 11:21 PM Attachment (51 downloads)

Hey guys,
Checking in again - sorry I know it's been a while. School has been killing me these past few weeks but I'm almost in the clear again.

This is my preliminary process on some Orion data I grabbed Saturday night. 6pm-2am outside below zero... I shudder to remember. Sadly I only got an hour and a half on Orion, but I will certainly be going back at every opportunity.

1h30m of 30s exposures through my SVR90t on an HEQ5pro with a Canon XSi at iso 1600. Flats darks and bias frames used for calibration.


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TmaninTn
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4928902 - 11/22/11 01:44 AM

Fantastic Uggbits, great shot!

It's neat to see the trapezium's force in relation to the rest of the nebula in the area, an you really brought out the perspective.


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: TmaninTn]
      #4928997 - 11/22/11 04:59 AM

Superb image, Uggbits !

What intrigues me is the fact that you have seemingly nothing in the way of any gradient across the image nor any vignetting.

Do you attribute this purely to your flats, darks and bias calibration or have you any other technique you employ ?

(If you have and tell me, I promise I won't tell anyone else ) !

Best regards,
Tel


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4929030 - 11/22/11 06:30 AM

Congrats Uggbits on a very fine capture of M42, nice Running man too!!

best regards,

Tom.


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THEPLOUGH
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4929092 - 11/22/11 08:03 AM Attachment (24 downloads)



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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4929093 - 11/22/11 08:04 AM

Great image Uggbits.

There have been some excellent shots of M42 taken with the S.E range of scopes (and others) over the past year or five, and yours ranks amounst the best.

Thanks for posting.

Regards. Peter.


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rick rian
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4929174 - 11/22/11 08:59 AM

Outstanding image, Uggbits!

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Midnight Dan
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: rick rian]
      #4929199 - 11/22/11 09:24 AM

Gorgeous image! Nicely done!
-Dan


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svtdoug
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4929892 - 11/22/11 04:47 PM

Uggbits,

Very nice wide view image! Glad you are back!

Doug


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Uggbits
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4930282 - 11/22/11 09:07 PM Attachment (37 downloads)

Thanks for the comments guys! Today I combined my 4 hours of data from last winter (I think a mix of 40 and 45s frames in alt/az with my CPC) with this recent set today for a total of just over 6 hours. Due to my selection process I believe that only data in the GNOrion region was added, and not the Running Man, but I'm going to see if I can get all of it out of that old data. Sadly the "horseshoe" effect was in almost every frame from the CPC, (I found myself very pleased with my refractor in comparison), yet it didn't show in the stacking so woo!

Hope you guys like it (I'm definitely not done with this target!)


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4930780 - 11/23/11 08:14 AM

Like it, i love it, yep,no sign of those horse shoes you mentioned, like the way you have presented this image too.

keep em coming.

regards,

Tom.


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Uggbits
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4931176 - 11/23/11 12:17 PM Attachment (38 downloads)

Thanks Haytor!

Ok guys, I'm sorry, this is the last one I swear. I decided to push the data a bit, and it's a bit noisier than I prefer (I might be able to fix that) but I was a bit jarred by the result, so here you go. For anyone wondering, all I did was hit it with contrast, a brightness stretch, then shadow/highlight. The difference is crazy.


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ghataa
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4932131 - 11/23/11 09:08 PM

Beautiful image!! I took my first image of M42 with the stock 8SE but didn't achieve the level of crispness and resolution as this wonderful image.

George


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ghataa
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ghataa]
      #4932144 - 11/23/11 09:24 PM

Hey Doug,

I too just picked up the Orion SSAG and waiting for the pieces to mount it on the 8SE OTA. I played with the PHD software today and it looks simple enough. I don't have a CGEM but will try it out on a used CG5 go-to that I bought recently (probably will end up as a DSLR mount sans C8 when I upgrade to a more capable mount in the future).

I did find this piece of hardware that I thought was interesting and worthy of picking up. Tube rings with a DSLR screw for piggyback mounting on the ST80.

http://www.telescope.com/Mounts-Tripods/Mount-Tripod-Accessories/90mm-ID-Orion-Telescope-Tube-Rings/c/2/sc/38/p/7370.uts?ensembleId=39

If weight is an issue for my CG5 with the 8SE OTA and ST80 combo, I could always use the wonderful Nikon glass my wife has in a piggyback arrangement on top of the ST80 autoguider for at least wider field of view captures (especially at 200 mm) with longer subs.

Lenses:
50 mm f/1.4
85 mm f/2.8
80-200 mm f/2.8 (step down to f/4 at 200 mm most likely)

The combos are endless!!!!!!!!

Best,

George


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Efflixi
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4933913 - 11/25/11 08:41 AM

I was told to post this here as well.


Seeing was pretty bad, there wasn't much hope. Hopefully in the new few weeks the humidity won't be hovering near 95%. I'm also still a complete newbie to the whole process. An expert might could pull some additional detail from Registax but I really doubt it would be a lot better, the video was pretty bad with Jupiter shimmering like heat wave. This is the first time I've ever had a camera connected to a telescope. An interesting experience to say the least!

With how large Jupiter shows, I can't wait for better seeing, the detail will be fantastic!

Scope: Nexstar 8SE
Camera: Canon T3i at prime focus, using a barlow.

This was minimally processed and then cropped.


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Efflixi]
      #4933945 - 11/25/11 09:20 AM

Hi Efflixi,

Nice capture, but there is more detail to be bought out with further processing, i have only had a very quick play with your image(hope you dont mind).

Using Reg 6 i applied more of the lower waveletes and used the de-noise and sharpen features within wavelets, then played just a tad more in Photoshop.

As said. i only played with it a little but here`s the result!



regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (11/25/11 09:23 AM)


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4934035 - 11/25/11 10:18 AM

Hi again Effixi,

One more quick process, with image size reduced to help sharpen the image.



Tom.

Edited by haytor (11/25/11 10:21 AM)


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Uggbits
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4935764 - 11/26/11 01:21 PM Attachment (29 downloads)

Hey guys, I have a couple photos here I finally managed to process. Neither of them are particularly "good" but they're starting points.

The first is just over an hour on the Crab Nebula with my refractor from last Saturday.

30s exposures, Canon XSi @iso1600, flats, darks, bias through my SVR90t on an Heq5pro. I ended up cropping and drizzling, as this really is a target more suited to my SCT, but I didn't have it with my in Victoria.


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Uggbits
sage


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4935770 - 11/26/11 01:27 PM Attachment (24 downloads)

This next one goes back to October if my memory serves right (might have been early November). It is a shot of the (eastern?) Veil nebula. My unmodded camera struggled a bit with this one though. There are quite a few problems - soft focus, tracking error, terrible transparency, and not enough data. I had to pull processing shenanigans. Controlling the stars was also incredibly difficult: there are so many!

I think this is 1 minute exposures, through the same equipment above totaling roughly an hour. Again, the night was just awful, but you take what you can get around here.


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Uggbits
sage


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4935928 - 11/26/11 02:53 PM

Very nice image of Jupiter Efflixi. One day I need an explanation on how to take planetary images!

Tel, this might make you sad since you'd have to buy it... but I used the trial for gradient xterminator. It isn't the most important aspect of processing, but it is incredibly useful for balancing and controlling the background - I'm sold. Essentially is is an automated version of the method we discussed a while back using layer masks, but it doesn't sacrifice as much background data; you just lasso anything you want to keep, and then select the inverse to have the gradient removed/balanced. Great tool, but I only have 25 days left :/


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svtdoug
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4936680 - 11/27/11 12:56 AM

FYI, I just created a new post here where I describe in detail a better way to mount a ST80 on an 8SE. I tried to edit my original post above, but CN says its too old to edit...

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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4937015 - 11/27/11 09:28 AM

Hi Uggbits,

nice captures despite the problems, the Eastern veil looks good and stands out better given the colour is there to bring it out, pity your DSLR is unmodified because you could then use a Ha filter, the effect of which, depending on what nm range you might use, would be to lose some of the fainter stars allowing the Veil to stand out better, my Ha filter is the Baader 7nm Ha filter which serves me well under the heavy amount of L/P i suffer, and also allows imaging even under a full moon.

Looks like a clear night ahead for me, fingers crossed, Just set up my obs for a try at a target Tel suggested, that being IC405 the Flaming star Nebula. might be a struggle though given the gear i`m using, i will be using my Skywatcher 80ED f/7.5 refractor, and the target is a mag 10, given i will be also using my Ha filter which will require long subs, then i might well fail, but who knows, worth a try at least.

regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (11/27/11 10:03 AM)


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4937325 - 11/27/11 12:53 PM

Hi Ugg,

As usual, another stunning image, this time of my favorite object, M42!!

As a rather stupid aside, I always thought M42 should be named the Turkey Nebula. Is anyone else reminded of a fattened turkey, ready for Thanksgiving? It is not obvious visually, but in images it seems to jump out at me. I don't know, maybe it's the season. Sorry for the colloquial reference for those of you who don't celebrate this American holiday.


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haytor
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Reged: 11/29/07

Loc: Smethwick near Birmingham UK.
Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4938830 - 11/28/11 10:02 AM

Last time i was able to image was back on the 6th of November according to my HC, but last night(Sunday)a break in the cloud rain and mist that has stopped any imaging finally came through.

Conditions were marginal with a haze layer that seemed to thicken at times and thin out enough to get some imaging done.

Here then is my first attempt at M1 (Crab Nebula) in Mono Ha.

10 X 300 seconds guided, Skywatcher ED80 f/7.5 with 0.85 reducer/corrector, giving a f/ratio of about 6.3. Atik 16ic mono ccd and Baader 7nm Ha filter.



thanks for looking,

Regards,

Tom.


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Peter9
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4938875 - 11/28/11 10:28 AM

Hi Tom,

So pleased you managed to get out into Uncle Tom's again.

Thats a fine image despite the conditions.

The linier features are very well defined with the image being in Mono. There's lots of structure to be seen in there.

Strong winds and fast moving patchy clouds played havock with my attempts to observe.

Regards. Peter.


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4938994 - 11/28/11 11:43 AM

Very nice Ha image of M1, Tom.

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haytor
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Reged: 11/29/07

Loc: Smethwick near Birmingham UK.
Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4939019 - 11/28/11 11:53 AM

Thank`s Peter and Skip,

one of these days i might get one of those seemingly rare nights when conditions are perfect, or at least near perfect, but sadly they are very far between.

So sorry Peter to hear your observing was thwarted, forecasts for the rest of this week dont look good here in the midlands either, probably be another month then before i can get out again, hope the weather Gosds never heard that

regards,

Tom.


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4939020 - 11/28/11 11:53 AM

Oops, i double posted that



regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (11/28/11 11:55 AM)


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4939039 - 11/28/11 12:02 PM

No prob, Tom. It only posted once as far as I can tell.

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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4939047 - 11/28/11 12:05 PM

Thanks Skip, i was quick to edit the double post to remove it.

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Uggbits
sage


Reged: 04/28/10

Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4940108 - 11/28/11 11:58 PM Attachment (23 downloads)

Brilliant shot Haytor! I had a second go at that one last night... and you guys aren't going to like me... Due to an unforeseen shift in weather, the RASC was given a night on the 72" Plaskett telescope (I'm actually in the process of writing a paper on the telescope for University). Since it was unforeseen... only two of us turned up, and I had to chance to hit quite a few targets.

Now the colour balance here is going to seem very strange, and there is a good reason for that! The filter set used was the one for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and due to the location and equipment we only imaged with 3 of the five filters (G, R, I). There doesn't really seem to be a way to get the colour balance to cooperate, but I'll keep looking (Maybe the CCD guys know).

Anyway, here is the first image!
13.5 minutes on the Crab nebula (G,R,I) with the 72" Plaskett (F5) at 9360mm focal length. The conditions were windy, and the seeing wasn't good, but who can pass up a chance like this!

Edited by Uggbits (11/29/11 12:03 AM)


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4940300 - 11/29/11 04:28 AM

Quote:

Tel, this might make you sad since you'd have to buy it... but I used the trial for gradient xterminator. It isn't the most important aspect of processing, but it is incredibly useful for balancing and controlling the background - I'm sold. Essentially is is an automated version of the method we discussed a while back using layer masks, but it doesn't sacrifice as much background data; you just lasso anything you want to keep, and then select the inverse to have the gradient removed/balanced. Great tool, but I only have 25 days left :/




Hi Uggbits,

Sorry for the late response. In actual fact Skip put me on to Gradient Xterminator some time ago but I've yet to "try before I buy"; the main reason being that the southern English skies so rarely permit any decent images to be collected.

One of my nearby astronomy pals observed only recently that we'd had three clear skies this November: one more than last year ! I can't confirm this as being correct, although I firmly believe it, but if it is, I bet one of them at least occured around the time of the full moon !

Once again though, many thanks for your very positive comments on the use of Gradient Xterminator. I wonder if anyone else uses it and has any further opinions ?

Best regards,
Tel


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4940468 - 11/29/11 08:32 AM

Hi Uggbits,

Wish i had access to such a scope for imaging, your a very lucky guy indeed, excellent image and as for the colour, well, i always look passed that since i`m a mono person at heart, having said that though it is my intention in the new year, to get a filter wheel for my set up and try my hand at colour imaging, so i might get converted yet!

You say this is one of several targets you imaged, look forward to seeing the rest.

Regards,

Tom.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4940673 - 11/29/11 11:01 AM

Quote:

One of my nearby astronomy pals observed only recently that we'd had three clear skies this November: one more than last year ! I can't confirm this as being correct, although I firmly believe it, but if it is, I bet one of them at least occured around the time of the full moon !



Hi Tel,

I have a suspicion that clear skies around full moon are due to photon pressure from the reflected sunlight pushing the clouds away - but I may be wrong


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Skip
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4940698 - 11/29/11 11:15 AM

Dangit Bri, you beat me to it!

Ugg: That is an awesome image.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4940732 - 11/29/11 11:36 AM

Thought i would share this other image from Sunday night, by the time i got around to shooting the Flame nebula, conditions were getting worse, so i was restricted to 7X10 minute subs as a large bank of cloud moved over from the West, which stopped me getting more subs for stacking.

Same set up using Mono Ha as my Crab nebula i posted earlier.



Regards,

Tom.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4940737 - 11/29/11 11:38 AM Attachment (27 downloads)

Haytor - I'm starting to see the pull of monochrome imaging after mapping false colour. It is incredibly lucky that we are given any consideration at all. Our club observatory is "on the hill" but the Plaskett and the 48" are still used as research telescopes (I believe the Plaskett is the best IN Canada but the NRC can use the CFH or the Gemini scopes among others). Of course we had to have a telescope operator as we wouldn't be trusted alone with that thing, but what an experience. Let me tell you - I wouldn't want to try my hand at balancing a 2 ton mirror, plus OTA (I want to say it was either 10, or 18 tons total). Apparently at one point you could move the whole thing with just a finger they had is so well figured out.

Since it going to start being readily apparent in the next pictures I may as well point out that the CCD isn't in aesthetically pleasing condition, but it is sensitive in I way I can only dream for my DSLR, and cooled to -105*C.

This next one is again 13.5 minutes total exposure on one of my favorite objects, but sadly it was "In the muck" of the light pollution of Victoria. The long wavelength of the infrared filter creates the odd background pattern due to its sensitivity between 690 and 850 nm. (G,R,I filters mapped to B, G, R). Due to the conditions the resolution wasn't great, but the fact that the blue starforming regions outside of the cores were picked up is quite interesting for under 14 minutes of integration.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4940751 - 11/29/11 11:45 AM

Just excellent flame nebula Haytor. Your tracking is very crisp, and I can see the difference longer frames make for narrowband work. It's a different look at it than I'm used to with only Ha giving a new perspective- very nice!

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4940794 - 11/29/11 12:04 PM

Uggbits,

i`m pleasently surprised at just how sensitive that ccd is given the exposure times you used, amazing amount of detail for 13.5 minutes total exposure time.

As to my mono Ha imaging, yes Ha does require longer exposures, but it also has its advantages, firstly it negates the fact i live in an area that is heavily light polluted, and even allows me to shoot under a full moon, the other advantage i find is the finer detail that mono Ha brings out.

I will be getting a filter wheel in the new year so that i can combine Ha with O111, then later a S11 filter to complete the set, i should then be able to assign colours to these filter when imaging/processing, to create colour images.I`m not totally clued up on the detail of all this yet, but hopefully by the time my set up is complete, i will be!

regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (11/29/11 12:13 PM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4941625 - 11/29/11 08:39 PM

I've gotten better at both using my telescope and Registax, and on my second try at imaging ever, here's my result! I still have a lot to learn. Seeing was average at best.



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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4941647 - 11/29/11 08:54 PM Attachment (25 downloads)

Tom, I think the quantum efficiency is around 80% on that sensor, and it was binned 2x2. Combine that with 72" of aperture and well.... it goes pretty deep. Dave (the operator) thought we were well within striking range of 20th magnitude despite the light pollution - quite astonishing for such short exposures.

This next one should be obvious (I hope): the Bubble nebula. Same exposure times as above (4.5 minutes for each filter in 30s exposures). The red filter is mapped to green, and the nebula emits primarily in red so...

Efflixi, I just saw your post - the GRS stands out very well. I wish I knew now to do all this planetary work around here.

Edited by Uggbits (11/29/11 08:55 PM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4941656 - 11/29/11 09:06 PM

Quote:

Tom, I think the quantum efficiency is around 80% on that sensor, and it was binned 2x2. Combine that with 72" of aperture and well.... it goes pretty deep. Dave (the operator) thought we were well within striking range of 20th magnitude despite the light pollution - quite astonishing for such short exposures.

This next one should be obvious (I hope): the Bubble nebula. Same exposure times as above (4.5 minutes for each filter in 30s exposures). The red filter is mapped to green, and the nebula emits primarily in red so...

Efflixi, I just saw your post - the GRS stands out very well. I wish I knew now to do all this planetary work around here.




Your images are stunning... I am unable to do any DSO imaging right now because of seeing conditions. Even once I actually can, I won't be able to match your images because of my scope and mount limitations.

A still image from the video I recorded to make the image above. This shows how bad my seeing is right now. The image above is the combination of over 600 frames like this one.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Efflixi]
      #4941725 - 11/29/11 10:01 PM Attachment (17 downloads)



Ouch I mean our seeing was bad the other night... but not that bad. It is amazing how much detail you were able to pull out of your earlier image of Jupiter given those conditions though. Makes me want to put down the school work and go observe! I think the weather has other ideas though.

This one I may go back and re-do... I'm not impressed at the moment. This is again 13.5 minutes of 30s exposures through 3 filters (4.5 each filter). The target was the Abell 260 cluster. Judging by the state of this image compared to that of anouther Abell image we took I believe it got caught in the Victoria light pollution.

Edited by Uggbits (11/29/11 10:03 PM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4941767 - 11/29/11 10:25 PM

Efflixi I just noticed the second bit of your post, "Even once I actually can, I won't be able to match your images because of my scope and mount limitations," and wanted to address this separately for you and anyone else interested in this.

As you can see above with these pictures weather conditions wreak havoc on image quality. Sure aperture gives an edge to a telescope in terms of both light grasp and resolution, but depending on weather and total integration time you can make this gap smaller than you can imagine.

If you look at these images I'm posting from my chance to use the Plaskett they have nowhere near the theoretical resolution of at 72" telescope (you could probably match the resolution on an average night with a 14" SCT) - the main advantage is the light grasp. This is an impractical example though because I have no regular access to that telescope. If everything co-operates the club might be offered 5 nights in a year on that telescope, and most of the time at least ten people turn up leaving you with very limited time on target. Now onto a more practical example!

I have a 3.6 inch refractor and an 8 inch SCT that I regularly image with. On a good night the SCT has two things going for it - a higher resolution (dependent on the atmosphere) and a longer focal length (nice for galaxy work). Both of these telescopes throw up very nice image, and the majority of my images consist of sub exposures under 30 seconds in length. Even if you are limited to 10 or 15 seconds by your mount, you can collect an amazing amount of signal due to the sensitivity of modern cameras.

Since the atmosphere at most locations is limiting your resolution, then the number of exposures you collect and the darkness of your skies will largely determine the end result. Quite simply (and I have an image to prove this!) I have mostly matched the image of the Plaskett taken by anouther member in the past with my 8" SCT in terms of both resolution and brightness. The main difference was that it took me 72 minutes to do, and it took them 9!

Don't discount your ability to take beautiful images of the sky. As I learned early on it takes a bit of persistence but the fact that we all have to contend with the same atmosphere, and in this case it works in our favor to level the playing field!


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4941782 - 11/29/11 10:37 PM

I think you misunderstand the skies I am trying image through. Here's the video I used to create the image above. It's only 24 seconds long.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZIVxmOhu7k

Notice how much it shimmers and moves. There is no way I could do any kind of long exposure photography with conditions like this.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Efflixi]
      #4942150 - 11/30/11 07:12 AM

Hi Efflixi:

That's pretty normal skies for many of us. I've seen nights where it's been much better, and others much worse. BUt I'd call that "average" seeing around here.

-Dan


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4942644 - 11/30/11 01:24 PM

Uggbits,

thats a very nice Bubble capture,great nebulosity too,and i like the amount of stars in the overall image too.Great job.

I shot the Bubble a short while ago in mono Ha, but the fainter background stars were lost when using Ha, still, i love this object and will return to it when its better postioned again from my viewing aspect.

BTW , with regard to your point about my tracking looking good, with the longer subs, thats due to the fact i am guiding using an ST80 piggybacked on my ED80, i have guided succefully using 20 minute subs with my set up, but generally, i try to stick with using between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the target, thats the price i have to pay for using an 80mm imaging scope.

Efflixi,

That Jupiter shot of yours is a definite improvement on your last attempt, two nice Barges and the GRS, and you captured the swirls within the cloud layers, i`d say that makes your effort well worth while, very well done.

As to your video showing the boiling atmosphere, i would echo Midnight Dans point that this is pretty average, i`ve shot worse video and still pulled out a decent image, keep at it!

regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (11/30/11 01:30 PM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4942864 - 11/30/11 04:02 PM

Turn my back on this thread for a day or two and you miss a lot!

Uggbits! I guess you have provided an amazing example of Aperture is King! That kind of image in 13 minutes? Wow. I am green with envy and admiration - so congratulations on being in the right place at the right time, and being prepared to take advantage of it! That is also a great endorsement for getting involved in your local club.

Many other great images being taken out there. Amazing images of Jupiter from Efflixi - who just got started in imaging? Nice work guys!

Our forecast is for clear skies tonight, so I may have a chance to do some imaging myself. (Fingers crossed)

Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4943146 - 11/30/11 06:52 PM Attachment (23 downloads)

Well, it's certainly not the best image I've ever produced but it is my first (noisy) attempt at the combined "Flame Nebula and Horsehead" ! I was however reasonably surprised and pleased with the outcome which represented a switch in tactic.

Instead of using my 102mm Achromat, (with Baader semi-apo filter), for guiding, and my Nexstar 81 OTA for the capture, I reversed the rolls; mainly to see whether I got less vignetting and halo-ing in my images. Also, I took special precautions to ensure good Darks and Flats.

So, equipment as follows.

Scope: Cheap 102mm Chinese Phenix Achromat on a guided Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro mount.

Camera: Canon 350D DSLR. Only 5 subs. X180 secs. @ ISO 1600. (Camera battery failed me) ! Hence 5 Darks + 5 Flats x 180 secs. to match, taken this morning. Captured in Stark Lab. "Nebulosity". Processed in P/shop CS2.

Thank you for looking,

Best regards,
Tel


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Uggbits
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4943281 - 11/30/11 08:20 PM

Tel, you can see quite a bit of definition in both the flame and the HH, but the focusing might be a concern with using an achromat. Since the wavelengths are coming to focus at different points focusing on say a blue star might throw the red data from the horsehead out of focus.

There is a fair bit vignetting on the outside of the frame, making me wonder a bit at the effectiveness of your flat frames. You might get better results by rotating the tube so the HH/flame are framed horizontally, then cropping out the rest of it (will help with processing by getting rid of "noise" from those regions). Some of what I'm seeing in the background might be simply from you being forced to take your darks in the morning. Sadly this might have left a bit of noise in the image. All in all though an excellent start on the target. 15 minutes from a 4" scope on something so faint isn't easy to work with, and you did a fine job showing what is there. Hopefully you get some clear skies and can put an hour or two onto that! (You're making me wistfully look out the window)

Regards,
Dan


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Tel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4944469 - 12/01/11 02:28 PM Attachment (24 downloads)

Hi Uggs, and many thanks for your very constructive comments.

I am of course somewhat aware of the pitfalls associated with imaging using a short focal length achromat, (in this case a 102mm/600mm f/5.9), but to some extent I'm out to show that it CAN be done, or at least that CR doesn't have to be too much of a problem.

Following on however from what you've kindly advised, I have rotated the image to place the "Flame" horizontally but have not cropped. I have "X2 binned" it though, which with a few further "tweaks" in P/Shop, seems (to me ) to give a more pleasing effect over the submitted original. In any event, I shall try to ensure I'm better prepared the next time around to image this fascinating area of the sky. (I've just ordered a couple of back-up batteries for my DSLR) !

Once again, many thanks for your comments and advice,

Best regards,
Tel

Edited by Tel (12/01/11 05:51 PM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4944482 - 12/01/11 02:33 PM

Hi Tel,

Thanks for posting another fine image. Pleased you managed, at last, to get some time in "Telstar".

The flame nebula looks particularly nice in your image. The dark gas lanes seem, to me at least, to form the rough shape of a Christmas tree. Apt for the time of year.

The weather is playing it's usual tricks here in Leeds. Tonight WAS looking good but failed to deliver. Saturday night is now the target.

Regards. Peter.

Edited by Peter9 (12/02/11 08:34 AM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4944496 - 12/01/11 02:37 PM

Hi Tel,

Sorry, typing at the same time I guess.

Well done with the second (reprocessed) image.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4944513 - 12/01/11 02:46 PM

Hi Peter, Thanks for your kind comments ! At the moment I'm editing this image as I've published it in some weird size which is distorting it all over the place, Bear with me, I'll get it right !

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4944522 - 12/01/11 02:49 PM

A fine image Tel.

Just a tad washed out in the lower part of your rotated image? Nevertheless, that said, a great image


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4944536 - 12/01/11 02:55 PM

Sorry Peter and Art, I can't seem to get this image to download as I wish to see it. I'm going to make a note of the text and try to sort out the sizing which is causing me this problem.

Thanks for your patience,

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4944542 - 12/01/11 02:58 PM

Sorted ! (I hope) ! See image as intended above ! ! !

Best regards,
Tel

Edited by Tel (12/01/11 03:02 PM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4944812 - 12/01/11 06:09 PM

Hi Old Friend,

Very nice image! I actually like the first one best. Although noisy (as you mentioned), it shows the red nebulosity that covers almost that whole area of the sky better than the second. Of course, there is probably no one more stupid that I when it comes to binning and what that does for you. I've read a lot about it and still don't understand what the various binning combos give you. Just plain old hard-headed, I guess.

The Flame/HH combination is one of my most favorite image subjects. I gotta say, sir, that you are now officially so far ahead of me in AP that I will never catch up!


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4944814 - 12/01/11 06:11 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

Hi guys!

What you don't know is that M-31 is my arch nemesis! I have been trying to get a decent image of Andromeda for - oh lets see - since the end of July!

So last night - after the clouds did not cooperate again - I decided to try reprocessing all of my last 5 attempts at imaging M31, to see if I could coax out any more detail. Well, I think I did! After failing to make much progress in PS alone, I did some preprocessing in DSS first and I was finally able to coax more detail out and even some color!

This image is comprised of 5 nights from July 30th through November 18th. I started with 6 hours and over 500 frames. DSS reduced that to 3hrs, 14min and 286 frames. The first 2 nights I used the 8SE mount! The 3rd and 4th nights I used the CGEM unguided. The fifth night I used the CGEM guiding in RA only (had problems with Dec guiding - solved now I believe). First 4 sessions I used a CLS-CCD-EOS filter, last session, no filter.

Otherwise, 8SE OTA, FR, Canon XSi, DSS, PS CS3.

One of the real challenges with M-31 is that it is huge, and the C8 even with a FR is a pretty narrow field, so this is really only a image of the central area, around the core. (I guess that is why I have been gazing at short focal length APO refractors with longing looks! But that is for another thread!)

Hope you like it.

Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4945332 - 12/02/11 12:19 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

Doug, you have a very bright and detailed center of M31 there, but you'll need to either switch to a shorter focal length, or do a 2x3 series of "panels" you can combine into a mosaic. Try ten minutes on each panel and see how it goes. If it works well then hit it hard (perfect time of year for it!).

Great start though, lots of detail within the core there.

Tel, sorry I wasn't very clear - I meant re-shooting the target the next time you have clear skies along the long edge of your dslr chip. Your picture inspired me to get out last night, so I am currently stacking about 2 hours on the horsehead in the orientation I was suggesting. The processing looks great though in your second image. You controlled the background vignetting perfectly! All you need now is a bit more signal (hard to do this time of year I know :/)

Okay guys, I'm finally going to post this. I've been waiting because I wanted to give a proper write up, and explain why I feel this is the neatest image from my session with the Plaskett telescope. Once again this is 13.5 minutes of exposures consisting of 4.5 minutes through each of G, R, I, filters.

If I recall correctly this is the Perseus supercluster, also known as Abell 426. this image was actually shot in a favorable location of the sky away from the city lights, and I think it really shows some interesting stuff. In particular pay attention not to the foreground galaxies that are interesting, but unspectacular due to the poor seeing (remember it's a 9 meter focal length!) and instead look for background galaxies that are likely down around 20-21st magnitude.

This has me interested in going after galaxy clusters this spring, and seeing how deep I can go with an 8" SCT in alt-az (maybe a bit of time on the wedge, if I can get it figured out).


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4945457 - 12/02/11 03:36 AM

Uggbits, Great shot! Still amazed that you got time on a 72" scope! That is some really faint stuff you are pulling out there.

Thanks for your suggestions and comments on M31. I was finally happy to get some color to show up! For M31, I guess there is no substitute for integration time, as far as color goes. I had not thought about doing a mosaic - another challenge! But first I think I will try M31 with my ST80 and use the C8 as a guide scope. That will give me a wider field of view. I also just received an adapter for fitting my Nikon 55-200 zoom onto my Canon XSi for really wide field imaging. The setup seems to work during the daylight - will give it a try one of these nights (weather permitting).

Yeah, I love galaxy clusters also - my favorite is the Virgo cluster. Will try imaging it next year.

Tel - I really like what you did with the second image - nice improvement!

Cheers!
Doug


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Arthur Dent
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4945481 - 12/02/11 05:11 AM

Ugg

I'm seeing three "doughnut / donut" shaped black artifacts in your image. Any idea what they are??

Great to be able to use such a piece of kit.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4945620 - 12/02/11 08:42 AM

That's a great result with the second image Tel.

Your perseverance has certainly paid off.

I like the subtle shading around the "flame" with the darker area's just showing through.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4945625 - 12/02/11 08:45 AM

Doug, Dan, Tel, all good captures keep em coming,

Dan, look forward to your spring challenge in seeing how deep you can go with the 8" SCT.

Art those donuts look like dust motes to me in Uggs image, either on the ccd or on the filters used.

Nothing to shoot again as my weather is not playing ball, so i took my mono Flame neb image and popped it into P/S and added some false colour just for fun, here`s what the result looks like.



Tom.

Edited by haytor (12/02/11 08:57 AM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4945657 - 12/02/11 09:00 AM

Hi Tom.

That's very pleasing on the eye. Make it look like there's plenty going on behind the dark gas clouds.

You've also enhanced my "Christmas tree" effect, all be it that it needs rotating 90deg clockwise.


Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4945665 - 12/02/11 09:08 AM

Ohhh....

Sepia toned! Nice image Tom.

Here you go Peter, just for you...



Hope Tom doesn't mind.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4945669 - 12/02/11 09:11 AM

Thanks Art, looks more like a giant oak now.

Sorry Tom.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4945674 - 12/02/11 09:15 AM

You beat me to it Art

Next on my imaging list will be the Horse head, can`t get both the Flame and H/H in the same FOV with my set up.

regards,

Tom.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4945704 - 12/02/11 09:29 AM

Quote:

Thanks Art, looks more like a giant oak now.

Sorry Tom.

Regards. Peter.




Ah, so thats where the saying comes from, "From little Acorns,great flame nebulas grow""

Tom.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4945716 - 12/02/11 09:33 AM



Daft Begger.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Peter9]
      #4949126 - 12/04/11 05:06 AM Attachment (28 downloads)

While helping to do some maintenance work on the club's mount (I will show the results tomorrow) I took an hour and fifty minutes of 30 second exposures of the Horsehead region inspired by Tel's recent shots. This is all through an unmodded camera, so as you can image a part of me is very sad I'm wasting 80% of my Ha data.

This was shot through my SVR90t on an heq5pro, with a Canon XSi @ iso 1600. Flats, darks, and bias frames used for calibration.

Hope you guys like it!


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4949147 - 12/04/11 05:54 AM

I like it very much, Uggs ! Congratulations !

I note though that you too are labouring under the adverse condition of having to use an unmodified DSLR and thus, like me, lose all that potential Ha data. Nevertheless, it's still a beautiful image ! I'm also amazed at the detail you've managed to obtain given an exposure time of only 30 seconds. My earlier posted image was based on 3 minutes !

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #4949176 - 12/04/11 06:57 AM

Excellent uggbits, amazing amount of detail, those intergrated 30 second subs show just how possible it is to get a great image given enough subs, very well done!

regards,

Tom.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4949653 - 12/04/11 01:51 PM

I like it too, Uggs. I agree that with an unmodded camera, you do lose a lot of the red. But actually the unmodded XSi did pretty well with the color.

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4949718 - 12/04/11 02:22 PM Attachment (24 downloads)

Thanks a lot guys!

Now, I mentioned the mount maintenance. We did this on Tuesday, and Friday night I had a chance to test out what we had done with a Ha filter. This next one is 17x10minute exposures on the Horsehead region with a Televue 127is, and a QSI 583 one shot colour camera. At last report by the program we had got the azimuth to within 0' of the NCP, and the altitude to within 1' of the NCP from about 8' and 10'. This gave us a huge increase in the tracking ability of the club Paramount ME.

Hope you like it! (also I wanted to post the one from my refractor first, because after going the alt/az route... I'm a 30 second guy at heart!)

Regards,
Dan


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4949979 - 12/04/11 05:05 PM

Dan,

Two very nice shots of the horsehead and flame! It is very neat that you have access to such interesting and varied equipment! Way to go.

I imaged Thursday night - it was one of the best nights in months - very clear and good seeing. I noticed Orion came up in the south about midnight - but I have many trees to the south - and can only get a clear view of Orion for about an hour. Must figure out a new location to set up the scope, or get the chain saw out!

Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4950128 - 12/04/11 06:35 PM

What can I say Ugg, 'cept maybe



They are simply superb and no mistake!


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #4950351 - 12/04/11 08:52 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

Here is my first installment on M33. This was taken Thursday evening when we had really nice conditions. Taken with the 8SE OTA, 6.3 FR on CGEM mount and was my first imaging with full guidance from SSAG & ST80. Had some initial problems with Dec guidance on the earlier attempt, but all seemed to work that night. Unmoded Canon XSi with CLS-CCD clip in filter. Used BackyardEOS for imaging (neat program!!!) This was stacked in DSS, with some pre-processing in DSS, then levels, curves and color saturation in PS CS3.

26 - 5 minute subs for a total of 2hrs 10min total integration time. Would have gotten more time on it but it descended into the trees to the west of my driveway! Will get more time on this and combine the results when I can.

Doug


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Uggbits
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4950357 - 12/04/11 08:58 PM

Doug, there is a lot in there, and your tracking is superb. I think the major thing holding this image back is flat-field calibration. It will be much easier to work with an image like m33 if you have flats due to the size of it (it covers almost the whole frame!).

That being said, a very nice job bringing out the nebula. Great focus - looking at it I feel like I can see more and more stars the harder I look. You also captured the wisps seen in the bottom of the frame quite nicely. Great job Doug!

Regards,
Dan


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4950374 - 12/04/11 09:05 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Yeah, I know - I have vignetting problems with the image of M33 above. I need to take some flat frames. I've been procrastinating on doing them, but its on my list. Will try the T-shirt method, see if that gives good results. If not, may have to build a light box.

Here is the Pleiades's that I also shot Thursday night. This is same setup as M33 above. 15 - 5 minutes exposures for a total of 1 hr 15 minutes.

Again, need wider view!

Hope you like it.

Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4950382 - 12/04/11 09:07 PM

Thanks Dan. I actually wrote the vignetting comment before you posted yours! But you are definitely correct, I will work on that. Thanks for your comments!

Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4950386 - 12/04/11 09:10 PM

Doug - that's a great shot of the Pleiades: something I was never able to accomplish with my C8 due to the "horseshoe" problem. Lots of nebulosity, and very clean star images. That being said the field curvature is more apparent in this image. Sadly those ff/fr's don't do enough in that department.

When you get a clear evening sky just take your flats off the sky. Expose them about 1/4 the historogram on the camera and you're off the to races.I use this method most of the time. In fact the only reason I haven't been using it lately is due to my being away at school and using my refractor (there is a light box on the hill big enough for my refractor). It's all a convenience thing - I prefer using the sky to be honest. Same results and it feels...better for some reason.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #4951141 - 12/05/11 10:31 AM

Dan, Doug, great images guy`s

Tom.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4951382 - 12/05/11 12:37 PM

Dan & Doug,

WOW! Excellent images! Dan the red really comes out when you can capture the Ha, doesn't it? Doug, that is one of the better Pleiades shots I've seen. Some field curvature around the edges, but the cluster itself is really pretty.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4951846 - 12/05/11 04:58 PM

Many thanks guys!

I am working on flats today, hope to improve these images.

Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4958142 - 12/09/11 12:01 PM

Very nice materials. I am now shopping for that GEM mount....

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4960572 - 12/10/11 10:19 PM Attachment (14 downloads)

Took an afocal image of the moon with 64x magnification with a moon filter (18% transmission I believe). This was 3 separate 1 minute movies stitched in VirtualDub and then processed with Registax 6. I used only the top 10% of frames. I have not fiddled with the advanced processing stuff in the wavelets tab yet.

Edited by Doug Michel (12/10/11 10:24 PM)


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Doug Michel]
      #4970894 - 12/17/11 11:26 AM

Dont think i posted this image from earlier in the summer,so here`s my attempt at IC63 in mono Ha.(Ghost of Cass)

10X20 min, .

Imaging equip..ED80 at f/7.5, Atik 16ic mono ccd.Baader 7nm Ha filter.

Guiding equip..ST80, Meade DSI and Hitecastro guider interface with PHD.

Regards,

Tom.



Edited by haytor (12/17/11 11:27 AM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4970988 - 12/17/11 12:29 PM

That is neat, never even heard of IC63 before, I will have to check that out.

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Doug Michel]
      #4971024 - 12/17/11 12:47 PM

IC63 extends to IC59, both of which are in Cassiopeia pretty close to the Pacman nebula.Its rich in Ha which made it a great target, although for me with my set up it required 20 minute subs to capture it. the overall image is a bit soft and i look forward to giving this one another go to see if i can improve on it next year.

Regards,

Tom.


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Doug Michel
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4971046 - 12/17/11 01:00 PM

A lot of neat targets in Cassiopeia, I have not gotten to them all yet

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4971161 - 12/17/11 02:19 PM

Oooo... Spooky, Tom. Very nice image!

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4972194 - 12/18/11 09:32 AM

Cheer`s Skip, personally i dont think its a bad image, but then conditions were far from perfect and i`m not so happy with the softness of the image, hence my wanting to take another crack at this one when i can.

Your right though, it is a "spooky" target.

regards,

Tom.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4972228 - 12/18/11 09:57 AM

Doug Michel,

hope you dont mind, but i could not resist having a little play with your moon image.I was going to put a comment in but waited thinking you were going to re-process it given you said you had not tinkered more with it at the time of posting.

Anyway, i adjusted the levels a bit to reduce the over exposure look ,then gave it a little adjustment in the lower waveletes using Reg 6.

As said, hope you dont mind my playing with it.



regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (12/18/11 10:07 AM)


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4972476 - 12/18/11 12:26 PM

Looks awesome, what did you do exactly, I have almost no experience with Registax so any details you can provide will help me tinker in the future.

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Doug Michel]
      #4972653 - 12/18/11 02:20 PM

So many wonderful images being posted here and on the "Original" thread.
Please keep them coming, they are a joy to look at.

Tom, You kindly sent me your excellent image of the (Ghost of Cass) some time ago.

It is now the backdrop on my desktop. Many thanks.

Regards. Peter.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #4972727 - 12/18/11 03:01 PM

Hi Tom,

You are correct, of course, it is a bit on the soft side. I normally do not care for "soft" images. But in THIS case, the softness adds to the effect of the Ghost of Cass, IMO. Ghosts are supposed to be soft.


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Skip]
      #4973266 - 12/18/11 09:41 PM Attachment (24 downloads)

Hi Gang,

Here is my latest attempt with M33. This was taken over two nights - 12/2 and 12/12/2011 - 54 x 5 minute subs for total integration of 4.5 hrs. The near full moon was a factor, and I may have been pushing it with 5 minute exposures. Histogram was up to about 25% when the moon was out from behind the trees.

My struggle is with color balance and the CLS CCD clip in filter. I used a custom white balance in the Canon, for the first time. I also started processing with DSS set to RGB Channels Background Calibration - as recommended in another CN forum. I may have done too much compensation, should have tried one at a time, but in any case, the resulting image had a definite red tinge, especially when increasing the color saturation. This image is the result of a lot of tweaking to get it to look somewhat natural. I am not satisfied yet, so this is a progress report.

Oh, this is my first image using flats, and I am happy with that aspect of the image.

Otherwise, C8 on CGEM, Canon XSi unmodded, 6.3FR, CLS-CCD clip-in filter. Captured with BYE, Processed with DSS, CS3, and Carboni's Astro Tools. Comments welcome as always!

Doug


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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4973335 - 12/18/11 10:54 PM

Doug, looks great to me. I notice you have the CGEM Mount. I just got the standard 8se a month ago. Did you consider getting the CG-5? Too light weight?

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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: jerryyyyy]
      #4973466 - 12/19/11 01:05 AM

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the comment!

Regarding the CGEM, I went with this mount for its higher weight capacity. You have probably heard this before, but the normal guideline for imaging is to take the mfg. weight capacity and reduce it by half for imaging. So the CGEM at 40 lbs, is supposedly good for 20 lbs while imaging. This is a guideline only - there are those using CGEM's at 2/3 rd's of normal load for imaging and getting away with it. With the C8, ST80 guidescope, camera and accessories, I believe I am around 18 lbs. I also wanted capacity to move up to an 8" Astro reflector, if I chose to go in that direction. But I am just as likely to go for a refractor for wider field imaging. But, still room for the C8 for narrower field objects.

I had heard good things about the CGEM - and I'm mostly happy with it. I have encountered a bit of a guiding problem in Dec that others have had (also with the CG-5 as I understand), but I am making progress in dealing with it. At least I can image for 300 seconds, with less than a 10% reject rate. Not bad. But there definitely is a learning curve!

On the other hand, there are folks imaging with the C8 and CG-5 - and producing good results. Just check out some of the imaging forums and note what scopes/mounts people are using.

Just ask away if you have more questions. I, or someone else here will try to steer you in the right direction. Welcome to this crazy hobby!

Doug


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haytor
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Re: NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: svtdoug]
      #4973718 - 12/19/11 08:19 AM

Doug Michel,

tweaking Jpeg images is not the best way of improving an image outcome,However, i only had to make two small adjustments to get the result above.

Firstly i popped your image into my Nebulosity software, selected "Levels power stretch"then moved the lower power slider back toward the right to reduce the glare, then saved the image.

With that done, i popped that saved image into Reg 6, in the wavelet section, all i did was move the lowest wavelet slider along about half an inch to help sharpen the image, you have to take care though that its not pushed too far otherwise noise and artefacts are increased.

At that point i saved the image again, job done.

As said these were only minor adjustments, there`s much more to reg 6, the denoise tab and sharpen tab in the wavelets can be most useful, but those you can experiment with at times when no imaging is possible,i often play with old images in reg 6 just to learn what can do what!

svtdoug,

thats a good capture of M33,much better than any image i have taken of it, i find its a tough target having a seemingly low surface magnitude that requires longer exposures.

I only shoot mono images at the moment, and M33 just looks so much more interesting in colour.

Peter, Skip, thanks again for your comments, glad you liked it .

Regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (12/19/11 08:27 AM)


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