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Goofi's Imaging Challenge, May 2020 - M53

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#1 nmoushon


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Posted 02 May 2020 - 11:04 AM

The May 2020 Challenge is now open. The target is M53 a globular cluster in the Coma Berenices constellation. To reduce the number of stickies, please submit your entry to this thread.


For those having troubles locating the target here is a post that will help locate near by objects.


The Rules will remain pretty simple:


      Your Equipment

      Your Data, Captured This Season

      Your Processing

      One Entry Per Member

      Only post your FINAL image


To increase participation over such a diverse group, the winner will be selected by random drawing. Please feel free to start a thread requesting guidance on your entry prior to submitting it, the whole purpose of this challenge is to learn and compare on a common target. Entries must be submitted by midnight eastern time on May 31, and I will try to announce the winner sometime on June 1.


Note: If I am late announcing, gently nudge one of the moderators in a private note, it helps. 


Please display an image in your post, not just a link!!


I hope everyone has fun with this one, and with that,


Let The Games Begin


**Disclaimer** - If the selected winner does not reply and pick a target with-in 3 days of the winner being announced, the Mods will then select the next target.


#2 ImNewHere



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Posted 04 May 2020 - 09:39 PM

Got this last night before clouds rolled in. The atmosphere was pretty bad, so bad that my 8RC and 10RC stuff were unusable, but I had a feeling that would be the case with the bouncy and fuzzy stars in them. Also, due to how close the nice and bright moon was I could only do short exposures, but I know I will revisit this one.

120 x30s, ISO 800, Pentax K3, ES 127 CF FCD100 on an iOptron IEQ45 Pro, 40 dark, 20 flat, 100 bias, APP with finishing touches in PS. Guiding wasn't an option due to how the stars were changing shape like you wouldn't believe.




#3 RJF-Astro


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Posted 06 May 2020 - 01:51 AM

Most of the times I cannot submit to this challenge, because either the target is not in my FOV that month, or I did not get any clear sky time. But this time I was lucky I guess, just finished an image of M53 two days ago. I like globulars, but I did M3 last month and although I really like that M3, they all look kinda similar. Still I picked M53 because of the moon and no Ha-targets I want to persue. And in the end, it is always fun to try and nail those star colors, both in the globular and around it.


So here goes:

  • HEQ5, 6" ritchey-chretien with 0.67x reducer, ZWO ASI 1600, ZWO filters, ZWO OAG + 290MM. This rig is at 939mm focal length, f/6.1, image scale 0.81"/px.
  • 150 second subs, 63 total (R: 21, B: 20, G: 22). Total imaging time 2.5 hours.
  • Stacked in DSS with full calibration. First processed in PixInsight (star align, linear fit, channel combination, ABE, PCC). Then I made a synthtic Lum which I processed in Photoshop (curve-stretch). My final step in Pixinsight is ArcSinhStretch to the color data. I then export a tiff and open that in Photoshop, apply as a color layer. Final tweaking and noise reduction in Photoshop.

20200504 M53 def - kopie 2.jpg


#4 rekokich



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Posted 06 May 2020 - 01:19 PM

Image details:
TSapo100q (100x580mm), Sigma APO 1.4x tele-extender (100x812mm)
Canon T3i modified camera, Astronomik CLS-CCD filter
iEQ30pro mount, Orion SSAGpro 60mm f4 autoguider
48 x 60 sec subs (7 discarded), iso 1600, 30 darks, 30 bias, 2x drizzle, 25% crop
Software: PHD2, DSS, XnView, StarTools


Clear Skies!




#5 johnsoda


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Posted 07 May 2020 - 04:46 PM

Click on small image for better quality image and acquisition details.






#6 Bretw01


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Posted 07 May 2020 - 11:05 PM

Taken 5-3-2020



Stellarvue SVQ100

Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro



Gain 50

30 darks

30 flats



Calibrated and stacked in PI; post processed in PI and PSCC




#7 Gipht



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Posted 09 May 2020 - 09:34 AM

Thanks for the globular cluster target.  I definitely need practice in this  area.  This picture was taken using the ASI183mm-pro and a 8" f/4 reflector.  30 minutes total integration using RGB filters, no luminance, at binx2  with 15 second exposures.  Stacked in DSS, and developed in Star Tools and Gimp.  The full moon was rising at 9:04 PM, so not much time to  image.  I think you can image clusters with  a lot of moonlight, but starting with no moonlight and going to a full moon might not work.





Attached Thumbnails

  • m53c.JPG


#8 jimbabwe13766


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Posted 09 May 2020 - 01:55 PM



I'm definitely a newbie, still have a lot of learning to do on this front. This is my first ever time submitting one of my photos for the imaging challenge. Its been a typically cloudy spring in Oregon, so its also been challenging to get clear nights.  Taken 5-8 from my light polluted suburban backyard. More data would help but I think it turned ok for my first try.



Explore Scientific ED102

Skywatcher EQ6-R pro mount

QHYCCD polemaster

Stellarvue 0.8x field flattener

Sony Nex5N digital camera



Imaging and Processing

90 second lights (x9), 10 bias, 5 darks.

Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker

Processed in Pixinsight 


#9 greedygirl


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Posted 09 May 2020 - 02:50 PM

My first posting ever, I have been imaging for about 8 months. 

182x90 sec

GT102 with flat 68III

CEM40 mount

ASI183MC Pro

Processed in Pixinsight


Thanks to Cfreerksen for being my mentor through this!


Hope you like it!



Attached Thumbnails

  • M53.jpg


#10 Dereksc


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Posted 09 May 2020 - 06:49 PM

Nice to have a target that can imaged during strong moonlight.






Imaging telescope: Celestron C9.25 SCT
Imaging camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-C
Mount: Skywatcher EQ6R Pro
Guiding telescope: Celestron C9.25 SCT
Guiding camera: ZWO ASI174 Mini
Focal reducer: Celestron f/6.3 Focal Reducer
Software: Main Sequence Software Sequence Generator Pro 3, Voyager,  Pixinsight

Accessories: Orion Thin Off Axis Guider,  Rigel Systems Focuser n-Step

Dates:May 4, 2020 ,  May 6, 2020 ,  May 7, 2020 ,  May 8, 2020


ZWO B 1.25": 24x100" (gain: 76.00) -15C bin 1x1
ZWO G 1.25": 33x100" (gain: 76.00) -15C bin 1x1
ZWO L 1.25": 223x30" (gain: 76.00) -15C bin 1x1
ZWO R 1.25": 53x100" (gain: 76.00) -15C bin 1x1


Integration: 4.9 hours
Darks: ~20
Flats: ~20
Flat darks: ~20
Avg. Moon phase: 96.12%
Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 6.00


Basic astrometry details:
RA center: 13h 12' 54"
DEC center: +18° 10' 8"
Pixel scale: 0.593 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: 224.089 degrees
Field radius: 0.448 degrees


Crop, DBE - LRGB, RGB balance and combine, photometric color balance RGB, masked stretch RGB, deconvolution L, histogram stretch L, LRGB combine, curves, saturation boost


Astrobin Link:








#11 larryjh


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Posted 10 May 2020 - 11:57 AM

Here is my image from last night.

Celestron Omni XLT150

ZWO ASI294MC pro

Ioptron ZEQ25


24x30 sec (this is after throwing out about 25% for FWHM/star elongation), gain 200, unguided

cooled to -5 deg C


Frames captured in Sharpcap

Processed in Siril, background extraction (gradient removal), color calibration, green noise reduction, auto stretch histogram

Final touch up in FastStone for contrast, sharpening


Image size was reduced to fit within posting requirements.




#12 Navige


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Posted 14 May 2020 - 06:57 AM

This is my first entry in the monthly challenge, please provide constructive feedback
scope/mount: wedge mounted Nexstar 6SE, Celestron .63 reducer
focus: Celestron focus motor, far point Bahtinov mask (My first pic using the focus motor!)
Camera: modified canon XSI w/ astronomics clip in CLS filter
guide scope: qhy 5L-iic w 130mm guide scope
software: CPWI, PHD2, backyardeos
laptop: Apple PowerBook booting to windows 7 home premium 32

120 30sec pics captured Raw
80 darks
20 bias
40 flats

deepsky stacker- top 70%
photoshop cs w Pro digital astronomy tools actions
pic size reduced to post here

Attached Thumbnails

  • 0725750F-FFD7-496E-B214-834CB4CA3C79.jpeg

Edited by Navige, 14 May 2020 - 07:58 AM.


#13 DrGomer


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Posted 14 May 2020 - 12:05 PM

This is likely my last imaging session with my Stellarview SV80A and ASI533.  (assuming UPS drops of my new equipment today!)

Framed to also get the smaller cluster, NGC 5053.
A rather short session for me since I usually try to go for rather long multi day integrations.

Fairly minimal processing on this one.

Calib w/ only darks-->drizzle integration-->crop-->linear fit channels-->DBE (divide since no flats)-->photometric calibration-->masked stretch-->curves-->integer resample back down to native resolution.


Frames: 109x60"=1.8hrs

full scale image etc at astrobin.


Attached Thumbnails

  • final small.jpg

Edited by DrGomer, 14 May 2020 - 12:06 PM.


#14 rkelley61


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Posted 16 May 2020 - 09:38 PM

This was a fun challenge, I hadn't imaged M53 before. Still working on improving my guiding results, lots of discarded images due to clouds, dew, trees and setup problems.  Processing: DBE, Linear fit, LRGB Combination, Masked Stretch, Curves Transformation to tweak brightness, saturation and color balance.




Imaging telescope: TPO RC 8" f/8.0

Imaging camera: ZWO ASI 1600MM-Pro

Mounts :Losmandy GM811G ,  Losmandy G11T

Guiding scope: Astromania 70mm

Guiding camera: ZWO ASI 290MM

Software: NINA - Nighttime Imaging ‘N’ Astronomy,  PHD2 Guiding 2.6.6 PHD2, PixInsight

Dates: May 2020, nights 2, 3, 7, 8,  9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15

ZWO 1.25" Blue Filter: 91x60" (gain: 139.00) bin 2x2
ZWO 1.25" Green Filter: 70x60" (gain: 139.00) bin 2x2
ZWO 1.25" Red Filter: 98x60" (gain: 139.00) bin 2x2

Integration: 4.3 hours

Darks: ~40

Flats: ~40

Flat darks: ~40

Avg. Moon age: 17.17 days

Avg. Moon phase: 75.02%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4.00

Resolution: 2006x1450

Data source: Backyard


Higher Resolution image: https://astrob.in/b1b57h/0/


#15 rnyboy



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Posted 16 May 2020 - 11:46 PM

Here goes...  According to the Astrospheric app clouds were 21%, Transparency was below average, and Seeing was average.  I've seen better nights but this may be the only chance for May.  The moon was about 25% illuminated.  Located on a Bortle 6/7 border


Equipment was a 6SE with 0.5x reducer (55 mm spacing to sensor), Moon/Sky glow filter, and ZWO ASI385MC with IR-cut filter at 400 gain and 120 x 5s exposures, for a total exposure time of 10min, and dark frame corrected using SharpCap livestacking.  The FITS file was opened in Deep Sky Stacker and the light levels were primarily adjusted in that.  PhotoShop Elements 13 was used on the DSS TIFF file for some additional light level adjustments, improved color balance, and final cropping.



Edited by rnyboy, 16 May 2020 - 11:51 PM.


#16 Der_Pit



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Posted 19 May 2020 - 05:42 AM

Here's my contribution, from last night:


TSAPO140 F/5.6 w. Riccardi v1 flattener on CEM60EC

ASI1600MM-Pro w. ZWO EFWmini and Astronomik DeepSky RGB filters

ZWO OAG w. ASI290MMmini

Acquisition: KStars/EKOS and PHD2


I had only limited time between darkness and the target vanishing behind a building, so only 67/44/51 subs of 45s each, at gain 76 (2e¯/du).


Processing in IDL and Gimp.



Edited by Der_Pit, 19 May 2020 - 05:50 AM.


#17 leeasle


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Posted 19 May 2020 - 10:57 AM

Imaged over 4 nights in Feb, Mar, and April this year, not very many clear nights in early spring with Explore Scientific Essentials 127 refractor, Holtech field flattener, Zwo1600 mono (first gen) and RGB ZWO filters on a HDX110 mount.


With around 60 x 300 second exposures in each of the filters. Image capture with Voyager, and processed in PixInsight. Resampled and cropped abit to get it under the size limits. Globulars are always those harder than it looks to get them right kind of targets for me.


Slightly (barely!) better one at my website https://viewfrom.ear.../180-messier-53







#18 rgsalinger



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Posted 21 May 2020 - 09:48 AM

I've been laboring for about 4 months to get a good picture with my new QHY600 camera. There were lots of challenges because of the size of the files it creates. I think that I'm finally back in business now producing astro-photos. I thought that this "close up" was a nice counterpoint to the other lovely wide field images that I've seen in this thread. This is about 4 hours of 3 minute exposures of LRGB data taken Saturday night at my club's dark sky site. 




#19 Gene3


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Posted 21 May 2020 - 10:15 AM

I've been laboring for about 4 months to get a good picture with my new QHY600 camera. There were lots of challenges because of the size of the files it creates. I think that I'm finally back in business now producing astro-photos. I thought that this "close up" was a nice counterpoint to the other lovely wide field images that I've seen in this thread. This is about 4 hours of 3 minute exposures of LRGB data taken Saturday night at my club's dark sky site. 



Great image Ross!

Which scope did you use? Also I am curious about the camera gain and offset settings. My 600M arrives today

Carpe Noctem,



#20 rgsalinger



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Posted 21 May 2020 - 10:23 AM

The scope is a Planewave CDK12.5 and I used gain of 26 and offset of 10. I used the tutorial on how to set the offset that I found on the QHY website. The gain is a sweet spot that QHY recommends, again on the website. I've had so much trouble getting the whole system (not the camera) working that this is the first real result that I've felt good enough to post. 



#21 BABOafrica


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Posted 21 May 2020 - 10:41 AM



Meade 102mm on AVX with Fuji X-A2 (iso6400)


No guiding


Processed in DSS & StarTools


27 x 20s (plus darks/bias/flats)


M53 18MAY20 27x20 F2-64 M102 sec ST sm.jpg







#22 latentfuss


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Posted 25 May 2020 - 09:05 PM

IEQ30 pro mount

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (ISO 400)

Canon EF 75-300mm (zoomed out to 300 mm, F5.6)


Imaged over 5/4, 5/13, 5/21, 5/22 .... cover quite a range of the lunar phases.


348 lights * 60 seconds (unguided)

230 darks (60 each night.... wait a second! I'm missing 10 dark frames!)

40 flats

40 bias

Backyard EOS, Astrototilla, DSS, and Gimp.


I wanted to get NCG 5053 in the frame as well. I was almost successful with that, it's right on the edge. 


Lessons learned.... Don't introduce changes to the data collection process halfway through your imaging project. I started plate solving on 5/20. As a result my framing is all over the place. When I first looked at the staked image, I could see all sorts of rectangular artifacts around the edge. I'm certain that those are the result of inconsistent framing. I'm also thinking that plate solving after a meridian flip is the right thing to do. All things considered, the results are better than I expected.




#23 TelescopeGreg



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Posted 26 May 2020 - 04:26 PM

Hi folks,


Ok, so this turned out halfway good, IMHO, but as with any activity served to further point out the limitations in both my equipment and my technique.  For your entertainment, the net of four nights' work, two of which actually contributed to the end result.


Night 1 was under a (literally) full Moon, just to see if I could actually image anything under those conditions, and to grab a "contingency image" in case the rest of the month's weather turned out to be bad.  It worked, but the gradients caused by the Moon interacting with the light pollution and the atmospheric conditions were just a bit more than I could filter out.  Interesting image, but I didn't end up using the data. 


Night 2, two weeks later, was intended to be The Night.  Ended up a total bust.  This is where the issues with temperature-induced focus drift came to a head, colliding with massive (for this neck of the woods) dew.  I have no dew protection other than the built-in shield, and when you're essentially looking straight up, the dew shield becomes a dew bucket...  Not good.  The results of several hours' images looked like you'd expect, out of focus and under water, being guided by someone with even less optical acuity.  Additional mishaps included my first-ever attempt at a Meridian Flip, where the mighty AVX bashed the camera into the tripod leg as it went by, messing up the alignment.  Nothing a new plate solve couldn't fix, and apparently no damage done, but annoying and a bit scary none the less.  Note to self:  manually move the delicate parts far out of the way with the hand controller BEFORE doing the post-meridian flip. 


Night 3 was good, with acceptable image data, and I also captured some data related to the focus issue.  See https://www.cloudyni...fects-on-focus/ for the focus topic.


Night 4 (last night) added more image data, along with some experimentation on PHD2's settings, none of which really helped.  I tried getting a better RA balance, and switched from Predictive PEC to regular guiding, but neither tamed the scope.  Either way, the excursions, primarily in RA, were sufficient to be visible in the shapes of the stars.  Sorry 'bout that.  Result is that I'm re-thinking the priority of a new camera (for Nebula season) vs a new mount (for better guiding).  I might "cheat" and get a reducer first, making the imaging train a bit more numb to aiming errors, and increasing the FoV for the larger targets to come.  It's also half the cost of a new mount...  Focus was better, due to better weather and more frequent refocusing.  Solution there is likely (hopefully) $13 worth of insulation.  We'll see.


Weather for the rest of the week isn't going to be any better, so I'm calling it here with just over 2 hours of total integration.


Scope:  Stellarvue SVA130EDT (130mm f/7), no reducer or flattener

Mount:  Celestron AVX

Guider:  ZWO 60mm f/4.6 guide scope with ASI174 camera.

Camera:  Nikon D3200 unmodified; ISO 6400, acquisition via Intervalometer

Compute environment:  Astroberry software on a 4GB Raspberry Pi-4B.  CCDciel + ASTAP for plate solve, PHD2 guiding


255 x 30 seconds exposure (2hrs 8 min total)

20 darks, 20 flats, 20 dark-flats each of two nights

Stacked in DSS, processed in StarTools, cropped to 61% of original





Attached Thumbnails

  • M53 3rd and 4th nights, 255 subs 30 sec ISO6400 DSS StarTools-2d.jpeg

Edited by TelescopeGreg, 26 May 2020 - 04:35 PM.


#24 Wintermute


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Posted 28 May 2020 - 04:28 PM


Bigger: https://i.imgur.com/ktxz2UL.jpg

48 x 180" ZWO asi071mc-pro, Skywatcher Evostar 150mm APO, Baader Moon & Skyglow Filter, asi290mc in an Evoguide 50 guiding a Skywatcher EQ8-R Pro. 

Processing: ScreenTransferFunction, AutomaticBackgroundExtraction, BackgroundNeutralization, ColorCalibration, MultiscaleLinearTransform, HistogramTransformation, TGVDenoise, LocalHistogramEqualization, Curves for Color and Lightness, MorphologicalTransformation on Starnet++ Starmask. 

Edited by Wintermute, 28 May 2020 - 04:34 PM.


#25 JacobB5


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Posted 31 May 2020 - 06:55 PM

Life got in the way.
So too did some clouds.

So yeah, not great.
8" Orion Reflector
Canon T31 unmodded

126 * 30 sec

14 * 60 sec

Attached Thumbnails

  • M53B.jpg

Edited by JacobB5, 31 May 2020 - 06:58 PM.


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