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Astrophotography and Sketching >> DSLR & Digital Camera Astro Imaging & Processing

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Charlie HeinAdministrator

Reged: 11/02/03

Loc: 26.06.08N, +80.23.08W
Oct12 DSLR Challenge winner - Dan Watt!
      #5502019 - 11/03/12 07:29 AM

We are very pleased and proud to present the October 2012 entries in the DSLR Challenge. The poll will close on November 8 at Midnight. The winner will be announced at our earliest opportunity after the poll has closed.

Here are October's entries!


Helix Nebula 09.22.12
Celestron CPC Deluxe 1100 + Hyperstar
Canon T3i Baader mod + Astronomik CLS filter
40 subs ISO 1600 plus darks bias and flats
shot at dark site green zone close to McConnelsville, OH

full size here


Helix Nebula by S Migol, on Flickr

Larger size link

I made a serious attempt at this target over the last week. After three nights at a nearby darkish site that had decent southern skies and then a couple of nights fussing with processing I have an OK picture.

Telescope: Orion Maksutov Cassegrain 127mm at F12.1 (1500mm focal length)
Camera: Full spectrum modified Pentax K10D with peltier cooler, Baader Moon and Skyglow filter.
Mount: Losmandy G11
Location: Montebello OSP, CA, USA (Orange zone)
Data: 37 subs of 10 minutes at 400 ISO
Calibrated with Maxim, Registered and stacked in PixInsight. Further processing in PI for white balance, DBE, ATrous Wavelets, and Histogram stretching. Final pass in Lightroom 3 prior to uploading.


I would have liked more integration time to give JoeR more of a challenge but it was not possible because of clouds, rain, clouds, moon, rain ....!

In spirit of the U.S Presidential Election - Anything Can Happen - I decided to participate anyway.

10x600sec exp. + darks, Modded Canon 1100D(T3), EQ6 Mount guided with Celestron Nexguide, SW 120ED Refractor.

Dan Watt

Image Location and Date: SDAA Dark Site @ Tierra Del Sol, CA
Object: Helix Nebula
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Filter: CLS-CCD Clip-in
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded + Cooled
Lights: 37x300sec @ ISO 1600
Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: SV Nighthawk II with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight.


High Resolution Version and more image details available at On the high res version, you can see a nice background galaxy just to the left of the bright star at the bottom of the Helix.

Here's my entry for this month:

This image is from a stack of 319 x 3 min subs @ ISO 1600 (16 hrs total) with Celestron C-8 (orange tube) w/Celestron FR at f/5.8 (1160mm) and a Gary Honis modified Canon 450D. Guiding was with an ONAG on-axis guider, Lodestar autoguider, and Phd Guiding.

Thanks for looking.

Congratulations and good luck to each entrant!

Which Image is our Winner?
Users may choose only one (50 total votes)
14 28%
0 0%
2 04%
Dan Watt
32 64%
2 04%

Edited by Charlie Hein (11/09/12 07:04 AM)

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Vendor (APT)

Reged: 09/25/08

Loc: Sofia-Bulgaria
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #5510936 - 11/09/12 01:31 AM

Congratulations Dan!

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Post Laureate

Reged: 03/06/11

Loc: United States
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: Yoddha]
      #5510941 - 11/09/12 01:34 AM

Congrats, Dan - your image is excellent and you picked up some great extended regions as well.

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professor emeritus

Reged: 09/17/09

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: srosenfraz]
      #5510997 - 11/09/12 03:19 AM

Great image again Dan!! You're on a roll this month.

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Post Laureate

Reged: 06/15/09

Loc: Melbourne Australia.
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: ldesign1]
      #5510999 - 11/09/12 03:29 AM

Good win Dan - I voted for your's because it showed
the hint of the spokes in the wheel.

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Dan Watt
scholastic sledgehammer

Reged: 10/13/09

Loc: Oceanside, Calfornia.
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: alpal]
      #5511552 - 11/09/12 12:35 PM

Oh wow, thanks everybody! I've been in bed with pneumonia all week so this was a pretty nice surprise!

I think my observing site really helped with this image... right on the border of California and Mexico so I was nice and far south. Anybody who has tried to shoot the Helix from North America knows it can be tough to get the outer areas to pop at all through the soup.

Scott- I must say I like your colors better than my own, especially the central region. I wonder if my CLS filter skewed things a bit.

Alpal- I have Pixinsight's deconvolution tools to thank for that... they were barely apparent in the subs and even the final stack but a few hours with deconvolution and they begin to pop.

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Reged: 08/09/11

Loc: South-Africa
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: Dan Watt]
      #5515272 - 11/11/12 11:16 PM

Congrats, Dan, excellent image!

The 2 guys who voted for my image, THANK YOU!

Skywatcher 120 ED pro refractor; SW EQ6 Synscan mount; Celestron Nexstar 8SE SCT.

Modified CANON 1100D(T3); CANON 550D(T2i); Celestron Nexguide Autoguider.

CANON 10-22mm lens; CANON 18mm-55mm lens; SIGMA 120mm-400mm lens.

Tasco 90mm refractor; Homemade 12" Reflector.

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Reged: 03/20/05

Loc: Dark Skies Il.
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: willem123]
      #5518761 - 11/13/12 09:47 PM

Nice..I'm left speechless...

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scholastic sledgehammer

Reged: 05/22/07

Loc: Germany, City of Hamburg
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: SkyHound]
      #5523125 - 11/16/12 04:11 PM


Congratulations to your exellent image!

Best: Bruno

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Reged: 09/13/12

Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado
Re: Oct12 DSLR Challenge Poll! new [Re: HHastro]
      #5523483 - 11/16/12 09:25 PM

Great image Dan! Congrats.

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