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Imaging with full moon and stock DSLR (no filters)

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#1 polslinux

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:01 PM

Hello,

I've read tons of stuff about this argument, but I still don't understand whether or not I should image when there's a full moon (with +- 1 week from actual full moon date).

I have a stock DSLR, no filters and lots of patience. I live in a Bortle 5/6 town.

 

For example, let's have a look at the attached image. I have selected LDN1235 as target, and from Stellarium I went checking the Lunar elongation.

What's a good value, degree, for imaging when there's full moon (or almost full)?

 

Thanks

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#2 mxpwr

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:24 PM

Good luck!
Only thing I do during full moon time is narrow band imaging far away from the moon, with a modded camera.

#3 polslinux

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:35 PM

So even if the moon is 100 degrees away, it's not a good idea to image with my setup?

#4 mxpwr

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:45 PM

So even if the moon is 100 degrees away, it's not a good idea to image with my setup?

You can do it, but the moon glow will reduce your SNR and contrast.
Better to wait till the moon is down.

Edited by mxpwr, 28 October 2020 - 12:46 PM.


#5 DubbelDerp

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 01:04 PM

If you're really pining to get out there, there's no harm in shooting with a bright moon in the sky. As @mxpwr mentioned it'll really reduce your contrast and you'll have to reduce your sub length to account for the added sky brightness. I shot the Rosette nebula last winter with my modded camera, no filters, almost straight into the moon and still got a recognizable image.

 

One thing I would suggest is to pick your targets wisely and go after brighter objects that don't need a lot of integration time. Dark nebulae would not exactly fit that description...



#6 polslinux

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 01:08 PM

That's why I'm planning a multi-nights-18hr-integration for this object :)
I just want to be sure I'm not wasting my time!

#7 DubbelDerp

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 01:19 PM

Pick your pain... what optics will you be using? Stacking 18 hours of 30-second subs is a form of masochism. grin.gif

 

When you're trying to pull details out of something as dim as dust and dark nebulae, light pollution absolutely kills the little bit of contrast you already have between the background and the target. Also, the light pollution gradients get really complicated since the position of the moon will change from night to night. Not to discourage you from shooting with the moon in the sky... but those 18 hours around the new moon will produce so much better of an image than one taken during or near a full moon if you're going after dust and DN. I suspect that you will be disappointed with the result, and conclude that you wasted your time.

 

Now if you go after something brighter... different situation.



#8 polslinux

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 02:38 PM

I'll be using Tamron 150-600. I did some testing and I can pull 1m15s @350mm, ISO 200 :)
But I agree with you guys on spending wisely the time.
Also, I'm fine with spending countless nights on a single object, but I want those nights to be as worthy as possible (considering gear and location).

1) Do you think that such a target (*on a new moon*) could be feasible from my Bortle 5/6 location?

2) with my gear and from my location, what could I image during this full moon period? Something 90/120 degree away from the moon would be sufficient?

#9 DubbelDerp

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:05 PM

I would give it a shot around the new moon. Keep in mind that I shoot in Bortle-3 skies, so take my experience with a grain of salt. But I think you have much better chances at new moon for something like this.

 

For reference, here's 6 hours, 135mm, f/2.8, Bortle 3, no moon in the sky:

Annotation 2020-10-28 155705.jpg

 

You can do the multipliers to scale the integration time for your level of light pollution and speed of your lens, but I would certainly wait for the moon to be out of the picture.

 

As far as right now, maybe globs, open clusters... the brighter Messiers? Try some lucky imaging on Luna or Mars? 



#10 polslinux

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:11 PM

Man...Bortle 3, f/2.8?
This means I'd have to take around 29h of lights (f/5.6, Bortle 5) in order to get the same result? :O
Now I must say I'm a bit disheartened...


Edited by polslinux, 28 October 2020 - 03:13 PM.


#11 DubbelDerp

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:13 PM

I don’t want to discourage you, but to just get a reference point. I think your plan for 18+ hours is sound, and will probably make a nice image. Is 5.6 the fastest you can shoot with that lens? Even at 150mm?

#12 polslinux

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:14 PM

At 150 it'd be f/5. It's actually f/6 at 350mm...

I don't own faster lenses ;(



#13 DubbelDerp

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:33 PM

I would recommend staying far away from the trap of thinking you need different equipment based on an image someone else did. What’s way more important, in my opinion, is to figure out how to get the best images with the equipment you already have with the sky conditions that you have.

In this case, give yourself the best opportunity for success, which means the fastest aperture setting that you find acceptable, in your darkest sky conditions. Take a night’s worth of images, stack them, see what you get. Maybe you’ll be happy with 6 hours of integration time. If not, get another 6. Continue until you are happy with it, or decide you want to move on to another target.

Dust and dark nebulae are really dim, and should probably be saved for the best sky conditions you can muster. After all, you’re taking a picture of the sky that’s slightly darker than the sky around it. Not a big bright object standing out against the background, but a picture of darkness. Don’t handicap those efforts by shooting with the moon shining over your shoulder.

Not to say you can’t shoot with the moon in the sky, but pick something that’ll give you a better chance for success.
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#14 endlessky

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 05:13 PM

Hello,

I've read tons of stuff about this argument, but I still don't understand whether or not I should image when there's a full moon (with +- 1 week from actual full moon date).

I have a stock DSLR, no filters and lots of patience. I live in a Bortle 5/6 town.

 

For example, let's have a look at the attached image. I have selected LDN1235 as target, and from Stellarium I went checking the Lunar elongation.

What's a good value, degree, for imaging when there's full moon (or almost full)?

 

Thanks

Hi, I have been imaging last night and tonight, almost on a full Moon (88% yesterday, 93% today).

 

I have seen countless clear, beautiful nights go by this Summer, when I didn't have a telescope to image with and while I was waiting for almost 5 months for it to arrive.

 

I got it October, 2nd. Been out imaging or testing things every single time the sky was good enough. As you know, since you live probably not more than 50 kilometers away from me, this period is not ideal. Nice and warm during the day, cold, cloudy, humid and foggy during the nigtht. Last night and tonight were actually the best skies I have seen in a month, but of course the Moon was almost full.

 

I have been working on a particular subject: the Heart Nebula. I managed 1 hour and 20 minutes on October, 13th, with no Moon, but I really needed more data, so last night I took a little more than 3 hours. And tonight close to 2 and a half hours.

 

I have actually integrated last night's data with the one from October, 13th, and the signal and nebulosity are actually stronger than the 1 hour and 20 minutes integration by itself. So, I think it's still worth imaging, even close to a full Moon. Subject was about 70° away from the Moon last night and 50° tonight (estimates).

 

My shooting conditions are a little different than yours, though. Still Bortle 5/6 sky, but I use an astromodified Nikon D5300 and an Optolong L-Pro 2" filter, which definitely helps taming some of the moonlight, while letting through almost completely the H-alpha from the Heart Nebula. Just as a comparison, though, for a mean background ADU of 900-1000, with no Moon, I was shooting 4 minute subexposures. Last night and tonight, 2-3 minutes at most, for the same ADU. This means that, despite the filter, the moonlight accounts for 25-50% of the light collected - still quite a lot.

 

Anyway, some decent signal is better than no signal at all. So, while the season and weather doesn't stabilize, I'll take any clear night I can get. Moon, or no Moon... lol.gif


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#15 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:40 PM

Do not be disheartened.  Your images will be easier gotten if you shoot in dark skies, but I'm in bortle 7/8, and looking northing is city glow, looking south is city glow, neighbors 20ft away with lights, and image consistantly without filters.  I'm still learning though. 

I haven't stopped using darks, flats, bias, but since I started dithering, I have found an my images easier to process. 
My stuff isn't the greatest, but I'm learning, and really enjoying myself.  Don't let the moon stop you.  Let it challenge you ! 
 

JPeG IMG 2020 10 21 23 15 27
Crescent Nebula 09 28 2020 001sm
Developed IMG 2020 08 24 22 36 28
Developed Autosave002 6small
Trifid 09 05 2020
Lagoon Nebula 08-16-2020
Whirlpool Galaxy
Lagoon Nebula 8-16-2020

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#16 LCWASTRO

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 08:32 PM

Do not be disheartened.  Your images will be easier gotten if you shoot in dark skies, but I'm in bortle 7/8, and looking northing is city glow, looking south is city glow, neighbors 20ft away with lights, and image consistantly without filters.  I'm still learning though. 

I haven't stopped using darks, flats, bias, but since I started dithering, I have found an my images easier to process. 
My stuff isn't the greatest, but I'm learning, and really enjoying myself.  Don't let the moon stop you.  Let it challenge you ! 
 

try not to push the black point so far foreward. I know it might look better in light pollution but the sky is not black, but darker grey.

just some advice


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#17 17.5Dob

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 09:25 PM

Man...Bortle 3, f/2.8?
This means I'd have to take around 29h of lights (f/5.6, Bortle 5) in order to get the same result? :O
Now I must say I'm a bit disheartened...

That's the nature of Dark Nebula...without dark skies, you're banging your head on the wall, even with no moon...

Actually , the comparison between 6 hrs in Bortle 3/ f2.8 and Bortle 5/ f5.6 is closer to 144 hrs...4 times longer for the f speed and and 6 times longer for the LP....



#18 erictheastrojunkie

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:36 PM

Dark nebula with a moon is a no go, perhaps give something like Andromeda a go, it's well positioned such that even with a moon you can get some imaging done and it's also a target that doesn't require a modified camera. 


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#19 polslinux

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 02:13 AM

I would recommend staying far away from the trap of thinking you need different equipment based on an image someone else did. What’s way more important, in my opinion, is to figure out how to get the best images with the equipment you already have with the sky conditions that you have.

In this case, give yourself the best opportunity for success, which means the fastest aperture setting that you find acceptable, in your darkest sky conditions. Take a night’s worth of images, stack them, see what you get. Maybe you’ll be happy with 6 hours of integration time. If not, get another 6. Continue until you are happy with it, or decide you want to move on to another target.

Dust and dark nebulae are really dim, and should probably be saved for the best sky conditions you can muster. After all, you’re taking a picture of the sky that’s slightly darker than the sky around it. Not a big bright object standing out against the background, but a picture of darkness. Don’t handicap those efforts by shooting with the moon shining over your shoulder.

Not to say you can’t shoot with the moon in the sky, but pick something that’ll give you a better chance for success.

Yep, you're right! Falling into the "I need this equipment/oh I need also that equipment" trap is very easy, especially as a beginner when one is still sorting out which route to take.

And good point about going step-by-step. Sometimes this hobby can be pretty overwhelming, especially if always done alone crazy.gif it's good to have such an active community here where we can share experiences/ideas/suggestions/etc waytogo.gif 

 

 

Hi, I have been imaging last night and tonight, almost on a full Moon (88% yesterday, 93% today).

 

I have seen countless clear, beautiful nights go by this Summer, when I didn't have a telescope to image with and while I was waiting for almost 5 months for it to arrive.

 

I got it October, 2nd. Been out imaging or testing things every single time the sky was good enough. As you know, since you live probably not more than 50 kilometers away from me, this period is not ideal. Nice and warm during the day, cold, cloudy, humid and foggy during the nigtht. Last night and tonight were actually the best skies I have seen in a month, but of course the Moon was almost full.

 

I have been working on a particular subject: the Heart Nebula. I managed 1 hour and 20 minutes on October, 13th, with no Moon, but I really needed more data, so last night I took a little more than 3 hours. And tonight close to 2 and a half hours.

 

I have actually integrated last night's data with the one from October, 13th, and the signal and nebulosity are actually stronger than the 1 hour and 20 minutes integration by itself. So, I think it's still worth imaging, even close to a full Moon. Subject was about 70° away from the Moon last night and 50° tonight (estimates).

 

My shooting conditions are a little different than yours, though. Still Bortle 5/6 sky, but I use an astromodified Nikon D5300 and an Optolong L-Pro 2" filter, which definitely helps taming some of the moonlight, while letting through almost completely the H-alpha from the Heart Nebula. Just as a comparison, though, for a mean background ADU of 900-1000, with no Moon, I was shooting 4 minute subexposures. Last night and tonight, 2-3 minutes at most, for the same ADU. This means that, despite the filter, the moonlight accounts for 25-50% of the light collected - still quite a lot.

 

Anyway, some decent signal is better than no signal at all. So, while the season and weather doesn't stabilize, I'll take any clear night I can get. Moon, or no Moon... lol.gif

Eheheh that's why I was so excited about imaging these days. I was really looking forward for such a clear and beautiful night sky after weeks of clouds/rain/fog...

With another target I would probably have done the same, I would have kept shooting. But for such target I think it's better if I wait for better conditions, also because I have no filters at all.

Sooner or later I gotta move to an astro-dedicated camera...

 

 

Do not be disheartened.  Your images will be easier gotten if you shoot in dark skies, but I'm in bortle 7/8, and looking northing is city glow, looking south is city glow, neighbors 20ft away with lights, and image consistantly without filters.  I'm still learning though. 

I haven't stopped using darks, flats, bias, but since I started dithering, I have found an my images easier to process. 
My stuff isn't the greatest, but I'm learning, and really enjoying myself.  Don't let the moon stop you.  Let it challenge you ! 
 

very nice images, congrats waytogo.gif actually I don't dither because I have no idea how to do that manually on my SkyGuider Pro, and I fear that if I touch something I'd just cause more issues than else.

 

 

That's the nature of Dark Nebula...without dark skies, you're banging your head on the wall, even with no moon...

Actually , the comparison between 6 hrs in Bortle 3/ f2.8 and Bortle 5/ f5.6 is closer to 144 hrs...4 times longer for the f speed and and 6 times longer for the LP....

Hmmm, I reviewed my notes, and I'm not sure about the 144h either. Isn't the calculation:

  • f/2.8 to f/6 = ~4 times  = 4 * 6 = 24hrs
  • Bortle 3 to Bortle 5,5 = (2.51 * 2.5) * 6 = 42h45m

So a total integration time of around 66h45m.

 

The 2.51 is the number of hours one should add for each Bortle scale. So, 1h at Bortle 1 is equal to 2.51h at Bortle 2 and 5h42m at Bortle 3, etc



#20 17.5Dob

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:12 AM


Hmmm, I reviewed my notes, and I'm not sure about the 144h either. Isn't the calculation:

  • f/2.8 to f/6 = ~4 times  = 4 * 6 = 24hrs
  • Bortle 3 to Bortle 5,5 = (2.51 * 2.5) * 6 = 42h45m 

So a total integration time of around 66h45m.

 

The 2.51 is the number of hours one should add for each Bortle scale. So, 1h at Bortle 1 is equal to 2.51h at Bortle 2 and 5h42m at Bortle 3, etcNo matter what zone you're shooting in, you'll need 4 times the exposure as an f2.8 lens.

No matter the Bortle zone, you'll need 4 times the exposure as an f2.8. The LP is then multiplicative above that, not additive. For each magnitude of additional sky brightness you will then need an additional 2.51x so,...... 6 hrs *4 (for the f-stop) * 6 (2.52*2.51 for the LP) = 144hrs


Edited by 17.5Dob, 29 October 2020 - 10:24 AM.

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#21 polslinux

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 11:16 AM

Ah, I see! I'll update my notes, thanks man waytogo.gif



#22 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 05:23 PM

try not to push the black point so far foreward. I know it might look better in light pollution but the sky is not black, but darker grey.

just some advice

I love the dark gray look, but on my i7 2nd gen circa 2010 laptop, which I do all my work on, I'm confident the color on my screen is far different from other people.  Right now I am working on capturing technique and gathering data, but samples of what I've done so far to try and encourage others along.  Thanks for the tip, I have a fully calibrated 17" laptop waiting for me to get set up, but change is hard, working on it :)



#23 17.5Dob

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:37 PM

I'll be using Tamron 150-600. I did some testing and I can pull 1m15s @350mm, ISO 200 smile.gif

I'm fine with spending countless nights on a single object, but I want those nights to be as worthy as possible (considering gear and location).

1) Do you think that such a target (*on a new moon*) could be feasible from my Bortle 5/6 location?

 

 

 

No matter the Bortle zone, you'll need 4 times the exposure as an f2.8. The LP is then multiplicative above that, not additive. For each magnitude of additional sky brightness you will then need an additional 2.51x so,...... 6 hrs *4 (for the f-stop) * 6 (2.52*2.51 for the LP) = 144hrs

 

 

Ah, I see! I'll update my notes, thanks man waytogo.gif

So 144hrs/ 1min 15sec subs = 6,912 files.....how many days do you plan on letting your computer run while stacking that many subs

My dSLR has a RAW file size of 26Mb ...6,912 X 26 Mb = ~180 GB of storage...

At my B2+/B3- minus site, I just shoot 8 min subs at f6.5..

Manageable target selection is crucial if you want to enjoy this hobby


Edited by 17.5Dob, 29 October 2020 - 10:47 PM.


#24 Euripides

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 01:36 AM

After only a few months into DSO, I would like to tell you about the time spent. My case scenario is SkyGuider Pro, guiding, lens f2, filters, Bortle 8-9.

I used to shoot very clear night, even with a full moon. After reviewing all my subs and tried to make something out of them, I find my self struggling with the full moon subs, even with targets opposite of the moon (in fact they were emission nebula). The SNR was too low... After reading a lot about post processing and technics etc I follow this rule too : garbage in, garbage out. If I use full moon subs,hazy clouds etc. this it not going to end well - or at least I will loose my time to achieve something. And trust me I’ve spend countless hours too :-)

So now I try to make every imaging hour to worth. No moon (or at least on an early stage and low in the sky) target high in the sky to avoid further troubles (light pollution) for nebulae. For galaxies and star clusters I could accept more moon light but again more than 90deg from the moon.

I am far from expert but I am really advanced on deleting worthless subs due to my bad choices - so time not well spent :-)


+1 for 17.5Dob about file size.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by Euripides, 30 October 2020 - 01:38 AM.


#25 polslinux

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 01:39 AM

Stacking won't be an issue, I have quite a powerful Dell workstation I can use :)
Still, I'm not planning on taking 144h, that'd be months of work with current weather conditions.
I think I'll simply take the step-by-step approach suggested by DD :)
I'll start with 18h, check the result, and then integrate more if I'm not pleased. But I won't go further than 30/35h.
Yes, I also would like to take longer subs, therefore guiding is on my list. But first I need a telescope because coma on my lens is really terrible :)
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