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Very first DSO image with an actual telescope

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#1 wesnikon

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 03:49 AM

Three time's the charm - my third attempt at staying outdoors in the freezing cold and trying to shoot some DSO object eventually turned out to be succesful. I went for the Orion nebula, because it's bright enough to see with my naked eye and I didn't want to spend too much time hunting something down - there were a couple of more pressing issues.

 

- I can't for the love of cookies get PHD2 to follow a star, there's always a lot of noise in the display and PHD2 prefers to try and follow some random pixel rather than an actual star. Even if I pick a star manually it manages to lose it, although I can see it clear and bright all the time. I have a Bresser/Touptek GPCMOS02000KPA (Full HD) and can't figure out what the problem is, any ideas? I tried MetaGuide, but I can't pick the actual ASCOM driver for my camera there and it has a way of crashing very often when cancelling dialogues in ASCOM, for example.

 

- I had trouble to get the nebula any sharper than it is in this picture and I had to call it after around 40 frames, which isn't really much to work with in DSS. What can I do to improve focus? Is this because of seeing or is it a technical problem?

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  • Orion Rising-evensmaller.jpg

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#2 einarin

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 04:01 AM

I think it looks really good if that is your firs DSO image.

Even the stars don't look that bad.

Can you tell us what was your imaging scope, camera and mount ?


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#3 wesnikon

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 05:16 AM

I think it looks really good if that is your firs DSO image.

Even the stars don't look that bad.

Can you tell us what was your imaging scope, camera and mount ?

Thanks! This picture was taken with a Skywatcher 200P (200mm f/5) sitting on an NEQ5 mount (with motor kit) and a Nikon D850. I know the mount isn't exactly ideal for the 200P but it's what I got. I'm completely new to astrophotography (got this telescope a week ago) and I wanted to be sure that this type of photography is actually my cup of tea before dishing out a lot of money. 


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#4 Asbytec

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 05:22 AM

Your first images takes me way back to my first image. It was the same, only yours is already much better. Mine was good enough the local astronomy club framed it for me and published it. Mine was a guided exposure on film and a giant easy guider for about 30 minutes. Astro photography has come a very long way since then, and since my initial foray into digital imaging two decades ago. That's when I realized I needed to hang onto my day job. Imagers are killing it these days. Well done. smile.gif


Edited by Asbytec, 18 November 2018 - 05:40 AM.

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#5 einarin

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 05:28 AM

Now your questions.

Have you done guide calibration successfully ? Guiding assistant ?

For focusing Bahtinov mask is a great help.



#6 wesnikon

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 05:47 AM

Now your questions.

Have you done guide calibration successfully ? Guiding assistant ?

For focusing Bahtinov mask is a great help.

No, I abandoned guiding as it just wouldn't work and only relied on the motor kit and seemingly proper polar alignment. Like I said, I tried PHD2 and MetaGuide but ran into (different) problems with both of them. I tried a Bahtinov mask, but I couldn't get a refraction pattern (the image just went dimmer) so scrapped that too. I must admit I was a bit demotivated at that point as it was 3am in the morning and I had been at it for 5 hours already (time spent on PHD2, watching it chasing noise), so when I finally got the motor kit to work (plugs for DEC and RA swapped!) I grabbed what I could before anything else could go wrong (which it actually did which is why I had to call it quits after 40 shots).


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#7 einarin

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 05:52 AM

Okay, better luck next time.

Regarding Bahtinov - yes it makes image dimmer, so you have to use high ISO for focusing and also use bright star.


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#8 Cowboybob

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 06:15 AM

Sorry to hear about your mechanical problems.  Hope you get things straightened out soon. I'm trying to get started after 15 yrs.  Man, has the technology advanced. I haven't even been able to get out because of the weather.  I'm trying to figure out why I decided to get it going with Michigan winter getting an early start.  I've already yearning for upgrades I wish you success.  Your image is great considering the equipment problems you had to overcome.


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#9 Greyhaven

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 07:18 AM

Looking forward to more of your work.

Grey


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#10 BQ Octantis

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 07:26 AM

You're confusing focus with sharpness. A stack of 40 well-focused frames will always result in a less-than-sharp image that requires good post-processing. Did you do anything to the DSS output? A simple Smart Sharpen in Photoshop CS5 yielded a crispy (albeit grainy) result:

 

m42.jpg

 

A good 2-10 hours of captures will reduce the shot noise-induced graininess.

 

Cheers,

BQ


Edited by BQ Octantis, 18 November 2018 - 07:34 AM.

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#11 wesnikon

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 07:52 AM

You're confusing focus with sharpness. A stack of 40 well-focused frames will always result in a less-than-sharp image that requires good post-processing. Did you do anything to the DSS output? A simple Smart Sharpen in Photoshop CS5 yielded a crispy (albeit grainy) result:

 

attachicon.gif m42.jpg

 

A good 2-10 hours of captures will reduce the shot noise-induced graininess.

 

Cheers,

BQ

Excellent point! Yes, I did some post processing, but I've made it a habit in landscape photography not to push sharpness when there's evident noise in the image. Seems I need to rethink that approach for DS photography... Thanks for the pointer!

 

EDIT: I actually created another version for my blog prior to checking on this forum again and (boldly) used WebSharpener on the image, here's how that turned out.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Orion Rising V2 no-sig WEB900.jpg

Edited by wesnikon, 18 November 2018 - 07:56 AM.

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#12 wesnikon

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 08:04 AM

Sorry to hear about your mechanical problems.  Hope you get things straightened out soon. I'm trying to get started after 15 yrs.  Man, has the technology advanced. I haven't even been able to get out because of the weather.  I'm trying to figure out why I decided to get it going with Michigan winter getting an early start.  I've already yearning for upgrades I wish you success.  Your image is great considering the equipment problems you had to overcome.

Thank you! Yes indeed, the tech is amazing. I got into DS photography after fiddling with my D850 and the 70-200mm zoom (no sky tracker!) trying to shoot the Andromeda galaxy, which was a surprising success. I tried the Orion nebula (including the Running Man) with that setup and although I got an OK image I realized that this was about as far as I could push it without tracking. That's when I got a Newton telescope.



#13 BQ Octantis

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 04:19 PM

Excellent point! Yes, I did some post processing, but I've made it a habit in landscape photography not to push sharpness when there's evident noise in the image. Seems I need to rethink that approach for DS photography... Thanks for the pointer!

 

EDIT: I actually created another version for my blog prior to checking on this forum again and (boldly) used WebSharpener on the image, here's how that turned out.

That's not bad at all! When you switch from landscape photography to astrophotography (I did the same) you go from being bathed in light to counting individual photons. Techniques all fight one another—2 hours of stacking through an ever-changing atmosphere gives you contiguous but blurry detail; long exposures give you great shadow detail, but the highlights are severely degraded. So you have to throw every trick at your captures and go with whatever works…

 

A great reference on the details of the photonics of astrophotography is The Deep-sky Imaging Primer by Charles Bracken. It's helped me understand a lot of the detail of how my DSLR actually works.

 

Cheers,

BQ


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#14 fewayne

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 04:48 PM

+1: You really can't go wrong with Bracken. Will potentially save you thousands in equipment and hundreds of hours of time. The only downside is that if you're anything like me, you're going to spend a lot of time smacking your forehead and going "Oh! So THAT'S what I did wrong!" wink.gif


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#15 dciobota

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 05:55 PM

Wes, that's a pretty good image actually.  The only thing I would suggest is to do a white point balance, the image has a bit of an overall blue cast.

 

If you ever want to dip your toes again into guiding, I have a suggestion.  In PHD there is an option to take a darks library.  Go ahead and spend the time to do it, it doesn't take very long really.  I would suggest setting the parameters to take darks from 1-5sec.  You'll be amazed how much cleaner your guiding image becomes once you start using the dark library.  The PHD will be able to see actual stars.

 

Hope this helps.



#16 wesnikon

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 02:18 AM

That's not bad at all! When you switch from landscape photography to astrophotography (I did the same) you go from being bathed in light to counting individual photons. Techniques all fight one another—2 hours of stacking through an ever-changing atmosphere gives you contiguous but blurry detail; long exposures give you great shadow detail, but the highlights are severely degraded. So you have to throw every trick at your captures and go with whatever works…

 

A great reference on the details of the photonics of astrophotography is The Deep-sky Imaging Primer by Charles Bracken. It's helped me understand a lot of the detail of how my DSLR actually works.

 

Cheers,

BQ

That makes perfect sense, actually - Bracken ordered, should be here tomorrow. Thanks alot!



#17 wesnikon

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 02:24 AM

Wes, that's a pretty good image actually.  The only thing I would suggest is to do a white point balance, the image has a bit of an overall blue cast.

 

If you ever want to dip your toes again into guiding, I have a suggestion.  In PHD there is an option to take a darks library.  Go ahead and spend the time to do it, it doesn't take very long really.  I would suggest setting the parameters to take darks from 1-5sec.  You'll be amazed how much cleaner your guiding image becomes once you start using the dark library.  The PHD will be able to see actual stars.

 

Hope this helps.

Thank you and yes, I cooled it a bit down, presuming that the stars with the blueish diffraction pattern (I guess the spider of the secondary mirror is responsible for that) should be closer to white instead of a very bright yellow. I suspect the blue parts of the nebula should be more greenish - if that is oxygen anyway, so that would support your suggestion.

 

I do have a dark library, it doesn't change PHD's behavior unfortunately. I found a possible solution to my problem in another thread (higher SNR) and will try that next time I get a chance-


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#18 wesnikon

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 08:32 PM

So while waiting for the "Bracken" to arrive I noticed that the second edition of this book explicitly mentions PixInsight - or PI in short, so I got me a trial license and started exploring using this same image, just a larger crop. Here's what I arrived at. Let me know what you think.

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  • Orion Rising V7 600.jpg

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#19 dciobota

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 09:02 PM

Wes, thats a vast improvement, beautiful reprocessing.  Looks like PI is a very good fit for you.


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#20 wesnikon

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 09:06 PM

Wes, thats a vast improvement, beautiful reprocessing.  Looks like PI is a very good fit for you.

Thanks Daniel, I think so too :-)



#21 BQ Octantis

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:44 AM

Wow!

 

BQ


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#22 fewayne

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 01:54 PM

First edition was Photoshop-heavy, 2nd emphasizes PixInsight but includes Photoshop alternatives for all the main stuff.

 

So now, having seen your big improvement, I'm gnawing over whether to spend the next chunk of mad-money on filterwheel and filters, or on PI.

 

Well, not really. I mean, once I do acquire PI I can always go back and improve the images from the lovely data I capture with the hardware. Can't go back and LRGB or narrowband my DSLR images with PixInsight.


Edited by fewayne, 20 November 2018 - 01:55 PM.

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#23 wesnikon

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 03:25 PM

First edition was Photoshop-heavy, 2nd emphasizes PixInsight but includes Photoshop alternatives for all the main stuff.

 

So now, having seen your big improvement, I'm gnawing over whether to spend the next chunk of mad-money on filterwheel and filters, or on PI.

 

Well, not really. I mean, once I do acquire PI I can always go back and improve the images from the lovely data I capture with the hardware. Can't go back and LRGB or narrowband my DSLR images with PixInsight.

It depends - if the skies don't clear up for the next few weeks there'll be no data to be had and that time would've been better spent on reprocessing with PI ;-)



#24 bec

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 05:30 PM

I had some issues with PHD2 so I went back to earlier version I think 1.14 and it is working good.  I will work with PhD 2 in the spring again to figure out we’re I went wrong.  

 

Bec


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