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The Long Short RV Trip, FINAL Image: M20

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#1 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:00 PM

M20, the Trifid, is certainly one of the most common objects to capture.  I've been in this hobby for 17 years now and in all that time I've only tried to capture M20 once, back in 2009 (you'll laugh when you see that one!).  Unfortunately from my home it is very low and blocked by some trees for a good part of the night.  Yet I have always wanted to capture this little gem again.

 

The opportunity came while my family and I were traveling this summer in an RV, visiting many dark sites and national parks.  This image came on the last clear night I had on the whole trip, July 4 near Natural Bridges National Monument in south central Utah.  The sky here was perhaps the darkest I will ever see (I hope not!).  It registered 21.89 sqm. 

 

The image of M20 consists of just over 4 hours of total exposure, FAR less than I typically get, yet there was hardly any noise to deal with.  Normally I have two scopes on a tandem setup capturing data.  My CFF135 + G3-16200M generally captures LUM data while my SV80ST + QHY163M captures RGB.  In this case, I had the 16200 capture LUM and 4x10min of RGB each and I'm really glad I did that because my QHY163 data was basically unusable.  I didn't discover this until I started to process the data, but for some reason the QHY163 filter wheel didn't rotate the whole night, so the QHY163 also captured LUM data all night long.  Believe it or not, all that QHY LUM data didn't really add anything to the LUM data of the 16200, so I just left it out.  So, I had only 2hrs of LUM data and 40min each of RGB data.

 

Despite all that I'm quite pleased with how the image turned out.  Dark skies REALLY helps!

 

M20_2.png


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#2 jerobe

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:14 PM

Amazing image! Sharp, colorful, lots of contrast.



#3 ChrisWhite

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:21 PM

Very nice Joel.  Beautiful dense starfield that is well controlled.  Nice comparison to have your 2009 edition next to it. 



#4 Neptune

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 01:23 PM

My favorite. Nice shot. Reminds me of the old school film shots but with just a little more nebulosity. 



#5 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 08:45 PM

Thanks Jerobe, Chris and Neptune!



#6 PeteM

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:47 PM

Really nice work Joel from some incredibly dark skies. Been a pleasure following these images from the RV trip.



#7 44maurer

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 01:55 AM

OMG, that’s a great image, looks 3D.



#8 lucam

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:21 AM

Another great one, Joel! 



#9 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:11 AM

Thanks all!  It's hard to believe that this trip is now over.  We dreamed about it for over 10 years and actively planned it for 1.5 years, so it seems strange that the dream is now fulfilled.  Time for another dream to plan for!  

 

Having experienced such dark skies, it's going to be hard to get back in the groove of processing photos from my moderately light polluted home.  But for this trip I streamlined my equipment setup so that now when I travel with my equipment it doesn't take nearly as long to setup as it once did.  That may help me be motivated to travel to some nearby darker skies (within 1-2hrs), especially as my light pollution steadily grows as it has for the past several years.



#10 sink45ny

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:21 AM

I am reluctant to say this but I like your 2009 image. I do like the star field in the latest image, but the 2009 image is preferred.



#11 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:30 AM

I am reluctant to say this but I like your 2009 image. I do like the star field in the latest image, but the 2009 image is preferred.

No worries Steve, we all have our own tastes and preferences.  Personally I think the recent image is better in every way.  wink.gif



#12 PhotonHunter1

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 02:58 PM

Simply gorgeous!


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#13 Jim Thommes

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 12:36 PM

Excellent image Joel and a very apt finale for your trip images.



#14 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 01:11 PM

Thanks Mike and Jim!



#15 Bob Gillette

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 01:29 PM

Wonderful image from a wonderful place. The daytime scenery at Natural Bridges is pretty memorable, too.

 

Bob


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