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Goofi's Imaging Challenge, January 2021 - M78

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#1 nmoushon


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Posted 04 January 2021 - 02:06 PM

The January 2021 Challenge is now open. The target is M78. 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 January 31, and I will try to announce the winner sometime after February 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.

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#2 sn2006gy


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Posted 04 January 2021 - 04:06 PM


Esprit 120 Telescope w/apex reducer

ASI 2600mc pro Camera

Paramount MX+ Mount - unguided subs


Sub Exposures

1,550 x 45 second exposures

(been collecting data through past 3 months... maybe i'll never be done with this lol)



35 Flats

Master Bias


PixInsight Processing

Dynamic Crop - Cut edges from Dithering

Dynamic Background Extraction - Extract gradient (Green)

Photometric Color Calibration with Background Neutralization Enabled

EZ Soft Stretch

Curves - Hue stretch

Generate Mask (extract luminance, re-stretch a bit)

Local Histogram Equalization with Mask applied - 150 kernel radius


I tried doing a Exponential Transformation but i found that the artificial contrast kind of diminished the beauty of just how hard it was to capture the dark stuff



Attached Thumbnails

  • m74.jpg

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#3 jewelsdean



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Posted 06 January 2021 - 02:56 AM

Got a clear night after several weeks of cloud and fog.



Mount              :  Skywatcher EQ6 w/ASI EAF

Telescope       :  Altair StarWave 80 EDT-R

Guide scope   :  Lumicon 2" OAG

Imaging cam   :  ASI 533MC Pro

Guide cam      :  ASI120MM

Filters/Exp.T   :  Optolong L-Pro/50x180

Other              :  Altair Astro .8x reducer/flattener

Software         :  Astroberry, Ekos, Kstars, Astro Pixel Processor, Gimp

Imaged Jan 6, 2021 


M 78 RGB session 1 St gimp Ps

Edited by jewelsdean, 06 January 2021 - 10:10 AM.

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#4 JOEC.


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Posted 06 January 2021 - 09:08 AM

This was last night 5 Jan 21

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Orion 6" f/4 Astrograph Orion Astrograph
Imaging cameras: QHY168C OSC
Mounts: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Orion 60mm Multi-Use Guide Scope with Helical Focuser Orion
Guiding cameras: Meade DSI1
Focal reducers: Sky-Watcher Quattro Coma Corrector Sky-Watcher
Software: Aries Productions Astro Pixel Precessor  ·  Astro Photography Tool - APT APT  ·  Adobe Photoshop Elements 19
Accessory: Pegasus Astro Focus Cube2  ·  ZWO FILTER DRAWER ZWO M54 Filter Drawer - 2" - FD-M54  ·  QHY PoleMaster QHY
Dates:Jan. 5, 2021
Frames: 46x300"
Integration: 3.8 hours
Avg. Moon age: 21.18 days
Avg. Moon phase: 60.21%
Basic astrometry details
Data source: Backyard


Attached Thumbnails

  • webcasper-RGB-session_1-mod-lpc-cbg-SC-St.jpg

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#5 CCD-Freak


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Posted 06 January 2021 - 08:00 PM

M78  120 x 60" (2 hours total)

ASI-533MC-Pro Sharpstar 150mm F2.8 Hyper Newt on a AP900GT

Calibrated and sigma combined as mono in Astro Art 7

Captured at Rodeo, NM in October




John Love





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#6 Cfreerksen



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Posted 06 January 2021 - 10:17 PM

A wide field view of M78 and a bit of Barnard's Loop with open cluster NGC2112

I took this 1/5/2012


182 x 90sec

ASI071 gain0 offset 25 -5C

Astromechanics MarkII lens controller

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Lens f2.8




This was a one night capture. It has been so cloudy. I intentionally left out the Horse Head and Flame Nebula as I felt they distracted from the subject M78.

I hope you like it.


Astrobin: https://www.astrobin...xv0nla/?nc=user





Attached Thumbnails

  • M78.jpg

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#7 rbeard47


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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:11 PM

M78 from the local astronomy club dark site.

33x240s lights

Celestron C8 with f/6.3 focal reducer (1280mm)

EQ6-R Pro


Processed in Pixinsight


M78 1920




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#8 jdavis40



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Posted 12 January 2021 - 09:59 AM



These were taken Jan 5 & 6 2021.  One thing that I've struggled with a few times is how my blue color looks when PixInsight converts to JPEG.  When I look at the image in PixInsight, the blue looks natural.  When I save it as a JPEG, I feel like it looks unnatural.  I'm tempted to just take a screenshot and post that instead.  Has anyone else struggled with this?



ASI294mc Pro (-10C, gain 120)

Esprit 100ED

L-Pro filter (briefly tried L-eXtreme but didn't like the results)






Attached Thumbnails

  • Reflection_Nebula.jpg

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#9 Lucas.Maguire


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Posted 12 January 2021 - 01:15 PM


L-Pro filter (briefly tried L-eXtreme but didn't like the results)




May I see the results if you still have them? I'm interested what the l-eXtreme does to this. confused1.gif

#10 jdavis40



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Posted 12 January 2021 - 02:40 PM

May I see the results if you still have them? I'm interested what the l-eXtreme does to this. confused1.gif

I stopped collecting data after a handful of images, so I don't have much to show for it, BUT I would expect that if I had collected enough data, it would look similar to the L-eNhance photo made by Joe above.  I make that statement based on other images I've shot with the L-eXtreme.  The only reason why I swapped to L-Pro for M78 is because I felt like I wanted as much blue as possible, and the L-eXtreme was filtering most of that out.  If I were experienced enough to know how to combine the two, that might be interesting... but I've never tried that.

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#11 DarkMain



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Posted 13 January 2021 - 09:32 AM

This is going to be trickier than I thought... Hopefully I can get enough data before the end of the month.

#12 elmiko


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Posted 13 January 2021 - 12:32 PM


M78 is a beautiful reflection nebula in Orion. It is the brightest reflection nebula in the sky, according to Sky Safari. It lies 1600 ly away. NGC 2071 to its left is also a reflection nebula..It lies 550 ly. A small portion of Barnard's Loop appears in the left portion of the image, emitting its red Ha gas. In the upper right corner you can see the blue rays of light from the nearby star Alnitak, a blue super giant. It is 1 degree outside of the frame!

I had a lot of fun with a couple of my Astronomy friends collecting this data over two evenings from the dark site!

Details at the link

Edited by elmiko, 13 January 2021 - 12:33 PM.

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#13 johnsoda


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Posted 13 January 2021 - 04:01 PM

Click on small image for acquisition details.





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#14 ylin


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Posted 13 January 2021 - 04:53 PM

300 sec X 20, ISO1600 with L-eNhance

AT60EDF6 with 1.0X FF

Pentax K70 non-mod.

Orion Sirius EQ mount



Cropped and re-szied.

Attached Thumbnails

  • M78_K70_60F6_Lenh-6017-2.jpg

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#15 enigmaintx


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Posted 14 January 2021 - 12:18 PM

M78 captured January 11th - 14th, 2021

Total integration time 10 hrs

William Optics GT71 + Flat 6AIII FF/FR + ZWO ASI EAF + Optolong LeNhance
ZWO ASI183MC Pro cooled to -15C
iOptron GEM45 driven by KStars/Ekos on RPi4 running Astroberry distro


Software Used on Mac:

Astro Pixel Processor for stacking
Preview for minor calibration
Topaz DeNoise AI for noise removal




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#16 kwpickett


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Posted 15 January 2021 - 12:25 PM

Here's my M78.  This was my first successful test of my 8" SCT for imaging.  I usually image with my WO Z73, but last year during galaxy season, I purchased a Meade LX 80.  I was still very new to imaging, and I couldn't get it set up correctly.  Now, after a year of imaging, I was much better able to set up the bigger scope.  


Link to full resolution: https://astrob.in/ym3s3i/0/


Meade LX 80 SC

Meade f/6.3 focal reducer/field flattener

ASI 1600MM  Pro with ZWO RGB filters optimized for the 1600

ZWO EAF with custom 3d printed bracket for Meade main focuser

ZWO OAG with ASI 120mini guide cam


Shot on December 13 and 14, 2020 in my back yard in Springfield, MO (Bortle 7)

70 each - RGB x 90 seconds - Gain 76, Offset 50

Darks, flats, dark-flats


Shot with APT, guided with PHD2

Processed in Astropixel Processor and Photoshop

Attached Thumbnails

  • M78 resize.jpg

Edited by kwpickett, 15 January 2021 - 12:26 PM.

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#17 KClark036


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Posted 15 January 2021 - 04:34 PM

My attempt at M78, captured over two nights on 1/7/21 and 1/10/21. Used PixInisght's WBPP script for pre-processing and processed in both PixInsight and Photoshop. Additional details can be found in the link.





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#18 johrich


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Posted 15 January 2021 - 05:48 PM

My submission of M78 in RGBHOO


Stellarvue SV102 Access

ASI294MC Pro

Ioptron CEM25P

50mm Guidescope

ASI120mm mini guide camera


Imaged on the evening of January 13, 2021 with 45 Subs @240 Sec with the Optolong LeNhance filter, and on the evening of January 14, 2021 with 44 subs @ 180 Sec with the Optolong Lpro Filter.  

Acquisition Software PHD2, APT

Processing Software Astro Pixel Processor and Pixinsight



Attached Thumbnails

  • 01132021 01142021 M78 SV102 ASI294MC 45L 240SEC LeNhance 44L180 Sec Lpro RGBHOO SMALL.jpg

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#19 logandc99


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Posted 15 January 2021 - 06:39 PM

Imaged over 4 nights from 4th to 9th Jan 2021

Location: Lang's Beach, Northland New Zealand


Telescope :SkyWatcher Esprit 120ED
Camera: ASI294mcPro
Filter: Baader Neomydium

Guide Camera: Orion 60mm with ASI290mono mini
Mount: iOptron CEM60

Imaging: 13 x 1200s
               29 x 600s
Total integration 9.1 hours

Calibration with 30 each of Darks, Flats and DarkFlats


Processing:  APP (calibration and stacking), Pixinsight (majority of processing ) and Photoshop (final touches)



Attached Thumbnails

  • M78_Allnights2_RGB_Final.jpg

Edited by logandc99, 15 January 2021 - 06:40 PM.

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#20 birddog99


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Posted 16 January 2021 - 08:23 PM

Skywatcher Esprit120mm APO

ZWO ASI533MC Pro (Gain 100 Offset 70)

Astronomic IR/UV Cut filter


20 darks

40 flats w/flats darks

No Bias

Attached Thumbnails

  • cloudynights.jpg

Edited by birddog99, 16 January 2021 - 08:31 PM.

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#21 pbmazda32


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Posted 17 January 2021 - 09:18 AM

Here's my Take on it. Imaged on the 15th & 16th of Jan 2021.


I used the equipment listed in my signature.


Red- 180s x 40

Green- 180s x 40

Blues- 180s x 40

Lum- 120s x 40

Gain 126

Offset 21


M 78 16JAN2021

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#22 NightBear


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Posted 17 January 2021 - 01:11 PM


Stellarvue SV80A w/ 0.8X Flattener/Reducer (f/5.6, 448mm)

ASI183MM / ASI290MM-mini / ZWO OAG / ZWO 7 Pos. 36mm FW

Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro / Pegasus Astro Pocket Power Box Adv.



Backyard / Bortle ~7

L: 205x60

R: 31x120

G: 27x120

B: 39x120

Total: 6.6 hrs


Processing: PixInsight


Full size



Edited by NightBear, 17 January 2021 - 01:22 PM.

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#23 TelescopeGreg



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Posted 17 January 2021 - 10:28 PM

Hi folks,


Interesting target.  Not too many surprises, other than the issue with some blue patches, which Ivo (StarTools) helped me fix with a simple Wipe adjustment.  See: https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10808549


This was also the first imaging after the Great Conjunction, which itself is not newsworthy.  It's that, having done the imaging, I was "driving" the trolley back to the garage and {ahem} the camera fell off.  Bang, clatter, clatter.  3 foot drop to the concrete, the fall perhaps slowed a little by the cables.  I had been imaging the Conjunction with an added 2X Barlow, and the single thumb screw holding the camera on wasn't quite tight enough.  To be fair, the Barlow was designed to hold an eyepiece, not a 0.7kg astro camera, but there it was on the ground.  Picked it up, re-attached it, and proceeded back to the garage, expecting to lick my proverbial wounds (if not the credit card) in the morning.  Other than the USB socket being a bit looser than I remember, to my delight nothing seemed obviously wrong. 


The important parts certainly seem none the less for wear.  See for yourself:


Imaged January 13 & 16, 2021

Telescope:  Stellarvue SVA130EDT (130mm f/7; no reducer or flatenner)

Camera:  ASI2600MC-Pro, Gain 300, Offset 50

Mount:  Celestron AVX on DIY 3-wheel trolley

Guider:  ZWO 60mm f/4.6 scope, ASI174mm Mini camera

At-mount compute:  Raspberry Pi 4B, Astroberry distro.  CCDciel + ASTAP for acquisition, plate solving, PHD2 for guiding


36 x 240 seconds Lights (2hrs 24 min), 20 Darks, 40 Flats & Dark-flats (20 each night)

Stacked in DSS, processed in StarTools


Enjoy!  (And tighten those thumb screws!)

Attached Thumbnails

  • M78 2 nights 2hrs 24min 240sec subs 2x2 gain 300 high entropy DSS old process-b.jpeg

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#24 laiapv


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Posted 19 January 2021 - 04:47 AM

M78_17min_lq.jpg Cannot compare with the great pics posted, but starting and learning the way through!


Contributing with a 17min total stack done with Celestron Evolution 8 (Altz mount), with DLSR camera in Bortle 5. Used ISO 12800, combination of 10sec and 13sec exposures; and darks-bias-flats x30. From 190 images had to discard half of them (due to star trial).

Processed both with Siril and Nebulosity. Reason is couldn't manage good flats-bias subtract with nebulosity, but couldn't manage proper stacking with Siril (as I need to recenter image every 10 min, the different position of stars is not well understood by the program). So I ended pre-processing with Siril and stacking manually with nebulosity. Then processed with darktable (levels/curves/noise). 

I may revisit when clouds are gone to add more data in future. smile.gif


Any recommendations for my learning path welcome!



Edited by laiapv, 19 January 2021 - 05:01 AM.

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#25 Omeganon


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Posted 19 January 2021 - 01:45 PM

Esprit 100 ED Telescope
QHY268c Camera (Photographic mode, Gain 30, Offset 30)
EQ6-R Pro Mount

QHY OAG-M + ASI120mm-mini Guiding

Pegasus Astro Focuscube 2

Pegasus Astro Ultimate Powerbox

Kindel Mini PC + RealVNC Home for remote control


Sharpcap Pro for polar alignment

NINA for acquisition

PHD2 for guiding

iCloud for syncing images


Sub Exposures
60 x 60 second exposures

20 Darks
100 Bias

PixInsight Processing
Dynamic Crop
Dynamic Background Extraction
Color Calibration

EZ Denoise
EZ Soft Stretch

Extract Lightness

LRGB Combination (L only, against lightness)


Range Selection, apply as mask
Invert mask, Curves to tone down background

Invert mask, Curves to bring out foreground 


Photoshop Processing

Camera Raw Filter

Increase clarity +33

Dehaze +12


Astrobin: get.jpg?insecure

Attached Thumbnails

  • Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 12.29.58 PM.png

Edited by Omeganon, 19 January 2021 - 01:56 PM.

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