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ghataa
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/20/11

Loc: Central, NJ
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #5648431 - 01/28/13 03:03 PM

Hi Guys,

With all of the brutally cold weather here on the US east coast I was thinking about some of the issues I have had with Ha imaging using my modded T3i (noisy; need for lots of subs). I have a better understanding of the limitations of the DSLR with Ha acquisition and started thinking about the inherent advatages of a mono CCD. Regulated cooling, little need for darks and of course greater sensitivity compared to DSLR. I have also downloaded CCD calc as Tel and others have suggested to get a better sense of the likely FOV from a mono CCD like the Atik 314L+.

I have several naive questions for our CCD imagers so please don't laugh (edit! lol Andy)! First, do I need a filter wheel with a Ha filter to do Ha imaging or can I simply use the Baeder Ha filter I have now that screws onto my field flattener? Can I attach camera lenses to the CCD? Can I combine the RGB DSLR images with the Ha CCD images and have reasonable resolution matching? What software do you use to acquire data? How do you measure focus?

Anything else I should be thinking about? It would be good to use multiple filters at some point so what is the consideration here?

Lot of questions but I know a few of you are using mono and OSC color CCD so would love some input from you guys.

Best,

George

Edited by ghataa (01/28/13 04:10 PM)


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MushroomBill
super member


Reged: 02/26/09

Loc: Oxfordshire. UK.
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: ghataa]
      #5648498 - 01/28/13 03:31 PM

You don't need a filter wheel - you can screw the filter on to the camera or flattener as required. The filter wheel comes into play when you want to use multiple filters per imaging session without disturbing the camera.

I have used a Geoptik Part #30A189 for attaching my DSLR lenses to the Atik. Still getting used to this and some lenses are better than others obviously. Focus is a bit trial and error at the moment. This allows for the use of one filter only - you cannot add a filter wheel into this setup...

Not sure about mixing DSLR RGB with CCD Ha. I think there may be some image scaling/matching software out there. Let me know if you find out how...

If you want to use multiple filters then would suggest a filter wheel. You should consider if the filters are parfocal or not. Once you are into layering from a mono camera you need to keep the camera in the same position - hence just sliding the next filter into place on the wheel.

Having said that my current filters are close to parfocal but not exactly. It involves some refocusing which is not always easy on the selected target. In which case I may move back to a suitable star, refocus and then try to realign the image as it was... This can get tricky and trying to refine this process. Chances have been limited of late due to the weather!! Still its a lot easier to do this with the filter wheel as you introduce another variable by removing the camera to change filters..

Hope some of that helped...

Andy


P.S.
Quote:

to our CCD imagers that are, well, quite naive




Yes, we are naive. Naive to believe our weather forecasters!!!


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Tel
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Reged: 03/31/06

Loc: Wallingford England
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5650191 - 01/29/13 12:20 PM

Quote:

That outcome is wonderful Tel and thank you for the same. I also thank Tom who helped out.

Did you use the first image ( without auto levels ) or the second one?

I assume you used Photoshop CS to do this as with Elements 9, I am not sure if the outcome will be as neat. As I informed you earlier, I tried doing the alignment with 'quick tool' and the outcome was murky ( I must have spent more than an hour for sure ). This one you did is really neat and does not even look as if the layer has been merged. No artifacts present.

Would it be appropriate to request listing down step by step process, if not a short video on youtube. Thanks again.

Don Quixote btw. ( too much guinness )





Hi Haseeb,

Once again my apologies for my slow response: nowadays, I seem always to be playing "Catch Up" !

In answer to your questions though, yes, I used P/Shop CS2 and yes, the first, non-auto-levelled 15 second image.

However before layering it into the 30 second image, I stretched it a little, manually, using "Levels" to bring up the core, but not so much as to lose what detail there was of the Trapezium and the three relatively bright stars near to it.

This image was also quite "noisy", (jpeg format ?), which I removed as best I could by selecting "Filter" followed by "Despeckle".

Turning to the second 30 second image, I downsized it slightly to match that of the 15 second exposure and then proceeded to layer the 15 second exposure over the 30 second exposure.

This can be done in many ways but like Milby's layering/masking video showed,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THlwDf4zDDo

with the 15 second exposure "on top", I pressed "Control A" to "Select" followed by "Control C" to "Copy".

I then brought the 30 second exposure to the fore on screen and pressed "Control V" to paste in the 15 second image.

I now had a dominant 15 second exposure on the screen which I adjusted by means of the "Opacity" slider to bring the 30 second exposure through.

All this, by the way, can be gleaned from Milby's "You-tube" video.

Once the 30 second exposure had emerged to a suitable intensity but one that preserved the elements of the Trapezium et al., the two overlayed exposures needed to be aligned.

Again, Milby's You-tube video demonstrates how this is done using the "Zoom" feature and the "Move" tool.

Following then a satisfactory alignment of both 15 second and 30 second images, the composite image was reduced to normal size and "Layer Flattened" for the usual further processing: (Levels, Curves, Sharpen, Colour Balance, Hue and Saturation etc.) In this instance I did not use a "Mask".

Finally, I should say, with I hope no offence caused, but that I could only work from the basic images supplied least of all in the not too beneficial jpeg format. I'm sure therefore, you'd agree, such is not the best ?

Consequently, and like you, I found the layered image initially "murky" or dull and as such, despite manipulating the above P/Shop "tools" plus a little cheating by passing the composite image through the processing part of my "Nebulosity" capture software, what I produced was the best I could, given all other constraints, time being the greatest.

Haseeb, I hope the above helps and is clear but if not, please let me know and I'll try to clarify as best I can.

Once again apologies for the delayed response.

Best regards,
Tel


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ghataa
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/20/11

Loc: Central, NJ
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #5652273 - 01/30/13 12:58 PM

Thanks Andy. That is all very helpful. The lens adapter is quite slick as well! Very cool!

Best,

George


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Maverick199
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/27/11

Loc: India
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #5653548 - 01/31/13 02:35 AM

Hi Tom,

Thank you for taking the time out to do this. If I understand this correctly, you merged both images but performed a sort of 'eraser' on the core? At least this much I know I am capable off. I really need to up my processing skills.

Btw, I like the rotated image.


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Maverick199
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/27/11

Loc: India
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #5653553 - 01/31/13 02:44 AM

Quote:

Quote:

That outcome is wonderful Tel and thank you for the same. I also thank Tom who helped out.

Did you use the first image ( without auto levels ) or the second one?

I assume you used Photoshop CS to do this as with Elements 9, I am not sure if the outcome will be as neat. As I informed you earlier, I tried doing the alignment with 'quick tool' and the outcome was murky ( I must have spent more than an hour for sure ). This one you did is really neat and does not even look as if the layer has been merged. No artifacts present.

Would it be appropriate to request listing down step by step process, if not a short video on youtube. Thanks again.

Don Quixote btw. ( too much guinness )





Hi Haseeb,

Once again my apologies for my slow response: nowadays, I seem always to be playing "Catch Up" !

In answer to your questions though, yes, I used P/Shop CS2 and yes, the first, non-auto-levelled 15 second image.

However before layering it into the 30 second image, I stretched it a little, manually, using "Levels" to bring up the core, but not so much as to lose what detail there was of the Trapezium and the three relatively bright stars near to it.

This image was also quite "noisy", (jpeg format ?), which I removed as best I could by selecting "Filter" followed by "Despeckle".

Turning to the second 30 second image, I downsized it slightly to match that of the 15 second exposure and then proceeded to layer the 15 second exposure over the 30 second exposure.

This can be done in many ways but like Milby's layering/masking video showed,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THlwDf4zDDo

with the 15 second exposure "on top", I pressed "Control A" to "Select" followed by "Control C" to "Copy".

I then brought the 30 second exposure to the fore on screen and pressed "Control V" to paste in the 15 second image.

I now had a dominant 15 second exposure on the screen which I adjusted by means of the "Opacity" slider to bring the 30 second exposure through.

All this, by the way, can be gleaned from Milby's "You-tube" video.

Once the 30 second exposure had emerged to a suitable intensity but one that preserved the elements of the Trapezium et al., the two overlayed exposures needed to be aligned.

Again, Milby's You-tube video demonstrates how this is done using the "Zoom" feature and the "Move" tool.

Following then a satisfactory alignment of both 15 second and 30 second images, the composite image was reduced to normal size and "Layer Flattened" for the usual further processing: (Levels, Curves, Sharpen, Colour Balance, Hue and Saturation etc.) In this instance I did not use a "Mask".

Finally, I should say, with I hope no offence caused, but that I could only work from the basic images supplied least of all in the not too beneficial jpeg format. I'm sure therefore, you'd agree, such is not the best ?

Consequently, and like you, I found the layered image initially "murky" or dull and as such, despite manipulating the above P/Shop "tools" plus a little cheating by passing the composite image through the processing part of my "Nebulosity" capture software, what I produced was the best I could, given all other constraints, time being the greatest.

Haseeb, I hope the above helps and is clear but if not, please let me know and I'll try to clarify as best I can.

Once again apologies for the delayed response.

Best regards,
Tel




Thank you Tel for taking the time to explain this. I am grateful.

I should try this with PSE 9 and see the results. I tried once and the outcome was murky but now with layering one on top and then using opacity, perhaps I may come close to your processing?

Btw, I am on a project and not frequenting CN like before so forgive me for any late responses. Once project is complete I hope to be back as normal.


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haytor
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/29/07

Loc: Smethwick near Birmingham UK.
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5653765 - 01/31/13 08:03 AM

Quote:

Hi Tom,

Thank you for taking the time out to do this. If I understand this correctly, you merged both images but performed a sort of 'eraser' on the core? At least this much I know I am capable off. I really need to up my processing skills.

Btw, I like the rotated image.




Hi Haseeb,

no, i did not use an eraser tool on the core, i mearly did what Tel has done in layering the 30 second capture with the 15 second capture, then used the opacity slider in layers to adjust to keep down the overall brighness of the core while bringing through the Trapezium.

The only real difference between Tels and my approach, was that Tel partly processed the 15 second capture. I tried this myself originally, but found doing so, offered little if any detail to the core, and i feel it was more important to concentrate on layering the Trap intact and as sharp as possible, so i decided to use your 15 sec capture of the trap "as is",this at least could be used to add something to the core.

Also as Tel already pointed out, you wont be able to seperate the components of the trap at this scale and resolution, so the trap appears in your image as a point of light, albeit a slightly irregular point of light.but it does remain quite sharp.Processing the trap and core further at this scale and exposure times would only lead to the trap area being whited out, so in my opinion its best to leave as is, and not push the processing.

Here`s another quick try i did this morning, hopefully you can see the trapezium remains sharp, albeit showing as a single slightly irregular point of light.

BTW, forgive me for any colour difference, mono is my game, not colour



Best regards,

Tom.


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Tel
Postmaster
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Reged: 03/31/06

Loc: Wallingford England
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #5654213 - 01/31/13 12:07 PM Attachment (14 downloads)

Hi Hasseb,

Taking Tom's above rendition and another cloudy afternoon here in "Blighty", I've tried to wring a little more detail from his image in an attempt to get to the "Running Man".

It's not pronounced but at least I think it's come through while perhaps it's also lifted a few more filaments from the main nebula !

Best regards,
Tel


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hopskipson
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/24/10

Loc: Queens, New Yawk, Light pollut...
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #5655008 - 01/31/13 08:25 PM Attachment (12 downloads)

I posted my first picture of Jupiter on the original AP thread and asked the following. I used a 2x powermate with this capture how much is practicle with the 8se, 3,4. or 5x? Thamks.

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Uggbits
sage


Reged: 04/28/10

Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5655591 - 02/01/13 05:10 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

Hey guys,

Let me warn you this will be a fairly long post, but I promise a treat at the end! First things first: I am done my degree! I would like to thank everyone here for the support I received from this forum (Nexstar Imaging threads in particular!) and the people that make this place what it is. I tried at times to be one of those people but I fear that I swoop in and swoop out too much for that to be fully possible. This forum provided a great outlet for me to both learn and share my interest in astrophotography that developed during my time at University. I often found myself processing a picture the night a paper was due as a way to vent away tension by creating/revealing something beautiful (I hope anyway: eye of the beholder and all that). Many of the images I have posted for the last two years have originated during such times with this being the first place I shared them. To avoid rambling on I will simply say thank you for riding along on that journey.

Alright. Enough with the mushy stuff and on to business! I have seen quite a few images on here since my last post. Great job guys! The planetary folks are continuing to blow my mind with their ability to capture such fine detail. I dabbled in that stuff this past summer and gave up before I could even figure out Registax (maybe I'll have another go at it in 2013). Tom, your image of Saturn reprocessed from old data just made me sit and stare for about five minutes. Fantastic job!

Maverick and Milby recently did two great looks at M42 which is topical for my post. Milby great job gathering detail in the nebula proper. The ability of your hyperstar setup to swallow photons is very clear based on the smoothness of the image. Maverick provided a wider perspective which is always appreciated with this target. Maverick I tweaked your image a tiny bit (forgive me!) just to bring out a little bit of the nebulosity in the loop and the Running Man. I know the background will look a bit bright (it's balanced on this laptop and this screen has silly high contrast) but I just wanted to highlight the background data you had captured. I'll post that in a second post.

Now onto my latest process: M42. On January 3rd I got up to the Hill to do a little imaging but had a relatively brief night despite my initial intentions. This is 1h 10m of 10m subs on M42 with a QSI 583c through a Televue 127is mounted on a guided Paramount ME. I'll just post a small version tonight but I'll try to post a bigger one that fits within forum regulation tomorrow morning. The interesting thing for me in this image is that I finally got the bloody QSI to show a bit of colour! This has been an ongoing struggle with the camera but hey if anything is bright enough I suppose it would be Orion. I will try to add data to this image from other attempts on M42 to beef it up as I only managed two darks. Combined with the low number of frames the result is a little noisy. On a side note I left the frame a bit bright (I hope... my processing monitor seems to show things brighter that my others) to bring out dust structure in the top right area a little.

Hope you like it and happy to be back,
Dan


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Uggbits
sage


Reged: 04/28/10

Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #5655593 - 02/01/13 05:13 AM Attachment (11 downloads)

Maverick here's my tweak on your image. I forgot to mention in my previous post that the 10m subs blew out the core, so I will try to fix that as soon as I can get a clear night!

Also the background on this should be bright - it looks normal on this monitor which can only mean it will blind you!

Dan


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Maverick199
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Reged: 02/27/11

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Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #5655619 - 02/01/13 06:01 AM

I think I get it now. I know PSE has that opacity slider. I will try to merge both images and see if the opacity works. I assume I would require to use the quick tool to highlight the core.

Either way, I don't know what to say except thank you wholeheartedly for taking time out to explain things.


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haytor
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/29/07

Loc: Smethwick near Birmingham UK.
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5655625 - 02/01/13 06:15 AM

Quote:

I posted my first picture of Jupiter on the original AP thread and asked the following. I used a 2x powermate with this capture how much is practicle with the 8se, 3,4. or 5x? Thamks.




Hi James, i am not qualified to answer questions of using a powermate as i`ve never used one,however given that the powermate does pretty much the same job as a normal barlow in that it increases the magnification, then my answer to your question would be that its really down to conditions rather than a particular brand of scope.

For instance, i have rarely been able to use anything above a 2X barlow, simply because conditions are rarely good enough to increase my magnification, i have gone to using a 3X barlow on very rare nights when the seeing has been better.

Its quite true that some double up their 2X barlows and also double up 2X with a 3X barlow, but i`m sure this is rather the exception rather than the rule, as said its mainly about conditions and if those conditions will allow the use of higher magnifications.

I`m sure others will have their say on this matter, the above is just my humble opinion.

best regards,

Tom.


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Maverick199
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Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Tel]
      #5655627 - 02/01/13 06:16 AM

It came out very well indeed and hats off to your endurance Tel. As stated above to Tom, I will try this out myself. This would perhaps be the most useful processing I may yet learn on PSE.

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Maverick199
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Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: Uggbits]
      #5655629 - 02/01/13 06:18 AM

Milby, first off, that's an amazing image of M 42, wallpaper class.

The reprocessed image of my M 42 is another great effort with available data and thank you for the same.


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Maverick199
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Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #5655631 - 02/01/13 06:21 AM

I agree with Tom's post with regard to seeing and transparency. Assuming my crop movie mode is 5x plus barlow x2, I get a very low res clip of a Planet which I then stack to bring out some density. In other words, keep trying even with a 3x or 5x Powermate and only after the image is processed you would be aware of the outcome. By repeating the process however, one gets the feel of how the final image would look simply by replaying the video or Avi file. Hope this makes sense.

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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 [Re: Maverick199]
      #5655649 - 02/01/13 06:45 AM

Dan, so good to see a post from you, and a cracking M42 to boot, love the colour here and lots of detail throughout.

Nice to see some detail within the core, love that finer whispy stuff.

Hope to see more of this from you, great job.

Many thanks for your comments on that old Saturn data i reprocessed too.

best regards,

Tom.


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Tel
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Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions new [Re: haytor]
      #5655697 - 02/01/13 07:34 AM

Hi James,

Just to add a little to that which has already been said:

1) I believe that in using an 8SE (i.e. 8" f/10) you do not want to increase the focal ratio above f/30, (i.e. by using anything greater than a X3 Barlow or Powermate whereby resolution will be lost to a "soft" image), and in fact most times, given the aforementioned atmospheric conditions which normally plague our planetary imaging so severely, not much more that f/20; possibly f/25.

2) I don't know what the Neximage uses as capture software but you seem to be using a very low image size, (resolution), which, in the software, (Craterlet), I use in combination with my ol' Phillips webcam, is "adjustable": my default setting being 160X120 and thus which I manually reset to a more appropriate 640X480. My alternative capture software, "SharpCap" and "Amcap" are equally adjustable to this image size.

I would therefore recommend that, if your Neximage software is adjustable to a 640X480 format, (which I'm sure it must be), you do so.

Hoping this helps you a little further,

Best regards,
Tel


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haytor
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Reged: 11/29/07

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Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions [Re: Maverick199]
      #5655700 - 02/01/13 07:38 AM

Quote:

I think I get it now. I know PSE has that opacity slider. I will try to merge both images and see if the opacity works. I assume I would require to use the quick tool to highlight the core.

Either way, I don't know what to say except thank you wholeheartedly for taking time out to explain things.




Hi Haseeb,

i am not sure what you mean by using the "quick tool".

However, there are several ways of highlighting/brightening an area, you could use the lasso tool to select the area your interested in, and then use levels or curves to brighten the area,or indeed adjust brightness and contrast,once done, deselect and save.

Another method is to use curves,first duplicate the exisiting image you want to highlight an area in, use the duplicate to make changes. If you have the same curves feature in PSE as i have in PS/CS3, then there should be three eye droppers at the bottom of the curves menu box, you can select the right hand most eye dropper, then click on an area such as the core of M42, this will brighten it quite a bit, then come out of curves and bring up Levels, again if its the same levels window as in my version of CS3, then at the bottom of the window there should be an input and output slider bar, use the right hand arrow and move it to the left, this will reduce the brightness to a level your happy with.Now layer the adjusted duplicate on the background layer and add a soft light filter, then use the opacity slider to bring through any detail in the original background layer.

BTW your not alone in not understanding many of the features in what ever version of P/S we each use, personally i have only scratched the surface of this powerful program, so like you, i still have a lot to learn.

best regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (02/01/13 10:40 AM)


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hopskipson
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/24/10

Loc: Queens, New Yawk, Light pollut...
Re:NexStar AP Graduates Images and Discussions [Re: haytor]
      #5656491 - 02/01/13 02:39 PM

Thank you Tom, Tel and Haseeb! I really appreciate your help and your AP efforts. Besides so much to learn, the patience, and time, you have to then deal with the weather. AP is work, but a labor of love!

I'm using Amcap, but I've yet to master all its functions. Now I know why the image is so small ! Now I have to remember the next time I'm able to get back out there.

Thanks again and everyone keep those great images coming.


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