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M51 First Attempt

astrophotography beginner dso imaging
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#1 Travmay

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 03:47 PM

Seems like M51 is a prime target for many people right now. I've been imaging it over the last two nights, my first attempt at a galaxy. Equipment in signature...

 

33 x 240s, 54 x 180s with flats and bias, no darks. Total of about 5 hour integration.

 

I'm sure my processing could still use a lot of work. I am considering going at it for a third night, but not sure if it would be diminishing returns. I would have loved to get some of the purple in the galaxy, but I am thinking that is not possible with OSC/DSLR?

 

Full resolution in my gallery...

 

M51 85 Final Smaller.jpg


Edited by Travmay, 28 March 2020 - 03:48 PM.

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#2 sunnyday

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 04:31 PM

you were very successful, besides this is your first time? wow well done
thank you.


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#3 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 11:45 AM

Nice image!

 

M51 is popular off course these days. It is high up in the sky..

 

Still i can  't help to think that  with 5 hours of imaging much more detail can be pulled out...


Edited by F.Meiresonne, 29 March 2020 - 11:52 AM.

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#4 Travmay

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 12:41 PM

Nice image!

 

M51 is popular off course these days. It is high up in the sky..

 

Still i can  't help to think that  with 5 hours of imaging much more detail can be pulled out...

I was hoping so too, but I think a couple things have to be factored - I’m in Los Angeles so I’m using a pretty strong light pollution filter (IDAS LPS D1) so I figure my exposure time is more or less “cut in half”.

 

I hit M51 again last night for another 4 hours (first meridian flip! It was a nightmare) and I am currently stacking 9 hours worth of exposure. I did a quick stack/process of the 9 hours this morning and didn’t see much improvement over 5 hours so I’m a little confused. Re-stacking it now in case I goofed something up, and also trying 2x drizzle since it’s such a small target for my DSLR. 



#5 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 01:44 PM

I tried that drizzle thing out also today in DSS. This increases  enormoulsy the processing time on my laptop...

 

Closer up the stars look better, but in the picture overall i could not notice much difference...

 

About LP, i have bortle 5 skies , do you know your rate? I guess it affects us all,

 

I was thinking of considering a LP filter also, but do not know really what to get. I was thinking some kind of broadband filter.

LP bothers me in the south , unfortunately....



#6 Travmay

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 02:09 PM

I tried that drizzle thing out also today in DSS. This increases  enormoulsy the processing time on my laptop...

 

Closer up the stars look better, but in the picture overall i could not notice much difference...

 

About LP, i have bortle 5 skies , do you know your rate? I guess it affects us all,

 

I was thinking of considering a LP filter also, but do not know really what to get. I was thinking some kind of broadband filter.

LP bothers me in the south , unfortunately....

Indeed, the drizzle drastically increased processing time. I will post an update once I process this data.

 

I am in Bortle 9 :( white zone. So without a LP filter, I stand no chance. I was also overwhelmed by the variety of LP filters available, I may purchase a 2nd one in the near future just to see the difference.
 



#7 Travmay

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 04:32 PM

Updated M51 uploaded to my gallery!! I think I got some more detail out of it, took a little more time processing this time too. More stars.



#8 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 12:28 PM

I was hoping so too, but I think a couple things have to be factored - I’m in Los Angeles so I’m using a pretty strong light pollution filter (IDAS LPS D1) so I figure my exposure time is more or less “cut in half”.

 

I hit M51 again last night for another 4 hours (first meridian flip! It was a nightmare) and I am currently stacking 9 hours worth of exposure. I did a quick stack/process of the 9 hours this morning and didn’t see much improvement over 5 hours so I’m a little confused. Re-stacking it now in case I goofed something up, and also trying 2x drizzle since it’s such a small target for my DSLR. 

I configure my mount that it stops after passing the meridian. Can't remember on how many degrees.

 

I had a meridian flip once too that got me in trouble. I was taking photos with a manual remote cable,it caught me by surprise, the remote  slipped out of my hands , got of course tangled around on of the tripod legs, and the mount got blocked, it made  a moaning sound and eventually shutted down....crazy.gif


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#9 Travmay

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 01:55 PM

Okay so after sleeping on it, I'm still not completely happy with my M51. I'm new to astrophotography so this is my biggest project yet! Maybe my expectations are just too high. I have uploaded the stacked TIF to dropbox, maybe someone can take a peek into the data and tell me if they see any more potential than the final image in my gallery?

 

I would upload the raw data but I doubt anyone wants to process it all.

 

This is around 9 hours (100 x 240s and 54 x 180s with flats and bias, no darks).

 

https://www.dropbox....ropbox.TIF?dl=0

 

Thank you in advance!



#10 Travmay

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Posted 31 March 2020 - 02:20 PM

Wow! I downloaded StarTools and reprocessed my M51, I am really liking this software. I still used PS for some clean up and diffraction spikes, but most of the work was done in ST. Here is the new picture:

 

https://www.cloudyni...with-startools/


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