I sincerely appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts! Learning AP has been both challenging and rewarding and at times, frustrating. However, I love it!
Not sure what you mean by "blown out in the middle". Usually, blown out means an image is overexposed to the point of clipping so that all detail is lost in that area. Your image doesn't appear blown out to me.
Are you referring to the heavy gradient from dark at the edges to lighter in the middle? If so, my guess is that your flats are not working for some reason. They should eliminate that.
Poor choice of words on my end. Your assumption was correct, my comment was meant to imply the heavy light gradient in the middle. I'm wondering if I need to re-shoot my flats with the white peak in the lower part of the histogram. When I originally shot them I made sure everything remained the same in my imaging train and the white peak was at about 50% in the histogram.
Appreciate the link, I'll take a look and see if I can learn something new . YouTube has been great to learn Pixinsight. I like the fact that you were able to get some color out of your image with relatively short integration. The image is great, thanks for sharing!
So I’m the last guy to give PI processing advise but 2 hrs doesn’t seem like a lot of time for Bortie 8 skies. Also, there is usually a lot of PI wizardry required in Heavy LP to produce those great image you see ...
I’m sure a real PI expert will. Be along eventually to tell you what you need to do ...
I'm just now coming to terms with the reality of how long the total integration time has to be in order to get decent images using a OSC camera in Bortle 8 skies . Shooting the nebulas with narrow band filters has definitely been less of a challenge.
All the galaxies on my site were shot in bortle 7/8 skies. https://www.macobser...m/image-gallery
The main thing you need to do is not overexpose the images. It's easy to flood the image with light pollution. So you have to shoot under the light pollution ceiling. I tend to expose at 0 gain for the highest dynamic color range and keep frame exposures that are 1-2 minutes. I shoot around 7-10 hours for each galaxy. Basically a full night on a single target. You'll need lots of time to overcome the effects of the poor quality skies.
Then you need good calibration frames, and to understand the best way to remove light pollution with software. I've used PixInsight and Astro Pixel Processor, and the latter does a much better job removing light pollution. Here's a tutorial I wrote at doing this. https://www.macobser...pixel-processor Try the free trial if you want to experiment before considering a purchase.
Good luck....It can be done.
OMG, your images are amazing! I'm shooting the Wizard Nebula as I type this out and came across your image on AstroBin about 30 minutes ago, too funny! I'm blown away you're able to get those types of images in Bortle 7 skies.
I typically always keep the gain setting at 120 as that's where it hits unity. It never occurred to me to drop it to zero. I would ask if you notice much of a difference but I think your pictures say everything, I'll give it a shot. My biggest problem is I get too excited to shoot multiple objects in the same night. I need to pick one target and dedicate all the time that night to said object. My favorite targets are galaxies and would really like to capture some good data.
Is your scope on a fixed mount? I've never captured images of the same target on multiple nights. I take my scope and mount in the garage every night. If I mark the driveway and set-up the mount in the exact same spot and perform a new alignment, I'm assuming a could integrate data from multiple nights. Is my assumption correct?