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Mars and the Seven Sisters - March 5, 2021

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#1 DubbelDerp

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 01:24 PM

I wasn't planning on shooting this conjunction, but when my main target shifted below the trees earlier than I was expecting, I switched over and decided to try to get the Mars/M45 conjunction last Friday. I shot 20 30-second frames for the planet, and then finished with 72 120-second frames for the background with my modded Canon 600D, iEXOS-100 mount, and Rokinon 135mm f/2 lens stopped down to f/2.4. I haven't had much success with an aperture mask with this lens, and find the even diffraction spikes from the aperture blades to be more pleasing. But those spikes are so sharp - you can cut your eyes on them.

 

Mars had drifted enough to be a bit of a smudge in the 120-second stack, so I just used the data from the 30-second subs for the planet. Calibrated in APP with 30 each darks, flats, and dark flats, and then stars removed from the background with Starnet++. I did clone-stamp Mars out of the 120-second background frames, and then composited it from a stack registered to the position of the first 30-second sub. Then stars reduced a bit in Nebulosity4, and recombined in GIMP.

 

I think I made a bit of a mess of M45 with the 120-second subs, but I really like highlighting the dust in the background.

 

C&C welcome and appreciated!

 

Full resolution: https://www.astrobin...mv3c4e/?nc=user

 

Annotation 2021-03-08 132355.jpg


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#2 Stellar1

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 01:33 PM

Sounds like a whole stack of AP work which blows over my head but, all I can say is your final result is BEAUTIFUL!! It’s like magical, really is.



#3 psychwolf

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 01:42 PM

Wow.. well done, at first I was going to congratulate you for going in with a perfect plan to shoot the right data to execute flawlessly, then I realized this was actually your secondary target. Well done, I find this a joy to look at.

Experience goes a long way, to be able to pivot and get this as such a good result.



#4 alvarete

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 01:43 PM

Wow! Spectacular

#5 james7ca

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 01:51 PM

That's a very nice capture. Kind of makes me hope for some clear skies in the next week so I could try something similar (since Mars is now moving away from the Pleiades).

 

You must have fairly dark skies to allow a 120 second exposure at f/2.4. I suspect that I couldn't do more than about 15s from my location (since 40s is about my limit even at f/4.8).



#6 NucleusPhoto

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 02:16 PM

This is absolutely incredible! Now I know why people here tell me not to compare my images too much to others! Beautiful shot! 



#7 Sandy Swede

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 02:17 PM

That's a very nice capture. Kind of makes me hope for some clear skies in the next week so I could try something similar (since Mars is now moving away from the Pleiades).

 

You must have fairly dark skies to allow a 120 second exposure at f/2.4. I suspect that I couldn't do more than about 15s from my location (since 40s is about my limit even at f/4.8).

Yoopers have not far to travel to Bortle 2 skies as long as you don't observe in, say, Marquette or Ishpeming/Palmer areas.  You agree, DoubelDerp?  Only driven through the UP a few times.

 

Very nice image, BTW.


Edited by Sandy Swede, 08 March 2021 - 02:18 PM.


#8 DubbelDerp

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 02:18 PM

Sounds like a whole stack of AP work which blows over my head but, all I can say is your final result is BEAUTIFUL!! It’s like magical, really is.

Thank you!

 

Wow.. well done, at first I was going to congratulate you for going in with a perfect plan to shoot the right data to execute flawlessly, then I realized this was actually your secondary target. Well done, I find this a joy to look at.

Experience goes a long way, to be able to pivot and get this as such a good result.

Thanks! But I'd hardly say experience... more like dumb luck, coupled with dark skies, fast optics, and a wide field of view makes for a very forgiving system.

 

Wow! Spectacular

Thank you!

 

That's a very nice capture. Kind of makes me hope for some clear skies in the next week so I could try something similar (since Mars is now moving away from the Pleiades).

 

You must have fairly dark skies to allow a 120 second exposure at f/2.4. I suspect that I couldn't do more than about 15s from my location (since 40s is about my limit even at f/4.8).

Thanks! And I keep forgetting to post sky darkness.. I'm in Bortle-3 skies, no SQM available. When in doubt, I've been shooting 120-minute subs at ISO 800, which generally works for me as long as the moon isn't too high in the sky. With moonlight, this lens gets some really weird reflection patterns.



#9 DubbelDerp

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 02:20 PM

Yoopers have not far to travel to Bortle 2 skies as long as you don't observe in, say, Marquette or Ishpeming/Palmer areas.  You agree, DoubelDerp?  Only driven through the UP a few times.

 

Very nice image, BTW.

Thank you!

 

Absolutely... I'm near Harvey, so have a bit of light pollution to the north, but generally it's very dark. 30 minutes to Bortle-2, and about 90 to Bortle-1. But near the larger towns or around the mines, the light pollution can be pretty bad.



#10 deansjc

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 02:58 PM

An image to be proud of!
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#11 jon.s

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 06:15 PM

A lovely image of the conjunction. The dust is so well captured and it's a good idea to capture Mars with shorter exposures!



#12 DubbelDerp

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 06:43 PM

A lovely image of the conjunction. The dust is so well captured and it's a good idea to capture Mars with shorter exposures!


Thank you! I was inspired by your image to give it a try, although I don’t think I captured quite the rich colors you did in yours.

#13 Desertanimal

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 07:40 PM

That is a very nice image. Gotta love when plan b results in something like this!!
Except... Mars is on the wrong side!😉😉

#14 DubbelDerp

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 07:57 PM

Thanks! That’s why I provided the date I shot the subs, as it’s moving quite rapidly with respect to m45. Tonight it is on the other side of m45.

#15 gpsfool

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 01:06 AM

Well done! 


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#16 vidrazor

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 01:19 AM

Great work as usual!

 

I took your full res shot and ran it through Topaz DeNoise, then took it into Affinity Photo and used some of it's new astro tools. Apparently it can process in 32 bit, even tho it was interpolating from 8-bit data. As usual, I prefer black skies, but I processed to maintain the dust, and it snaps it out against the black skies more I think. What do you think?

Attached Thumbnails

  • m45-mars compare2.jpg

Edited by vidrazor, 09 March 2021 - 01:24 AM.


#17 DubbelDerp

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 09:00 AM

Great work as usual!

 

I took your full res shot and ran it through Topaz DeNoise, then took it into Affinity Photo and used some of it's new astro tools. Apparently it can process in 32 bit, even tho it was interpolating from 8-bit data. As usual, I prefer black skies, but I processed to maintain the dust, and it snaps it out against the black skies more I think. What do you think?

Thanks, I think that looks great! It really helps bring out the contrast with the dust. Looks like you fixed the cyan cast as well - nice processing!



#18 DubbelDerp

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 09:04 AM

Just in case anyone else thinks I fabricated this image, here's one of the 30-second subs straight from the camera. Notice which side Mars is on, on March 5.fingertap.gif

 

This is the framing I had from the previous target. I then rotated the camera for the background to position M45 the way I wanted.

 

 

 

Annotation 2021-03-09 090149.jpg



#19 Alen K

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 09:57 AM

Just in case anyone else thinks I fabricated this image, here's one of the 30-second subs straight from the camera. Notice which side Mars is on, on March 5.fingertap.gif

What can you say, right? Anyway, I notice you caught some of the nebulosity in the Pleiades in just 30 seconds. That's the power of dark skies!


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#20 asanmax

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Posted 11 March 2021 - 01:07 AM

This is totally amazing! You are really getting your mount work for you 100%. What a great piece of equipment and the imager combination!



#21 DubbelDerp

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Posted 11 March 2021 - 09:16 AM

Thanks asanmax! I think the iEXOS-100 and a medium telephoto lens really is a nice pairing. One of these days I'll have to get my 60mm refractor back on it, though.


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#22 Hypoxic

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 09:55 AM

How did you keep StarNet from creating donut artefacts around the stars in M45? Just curious. I've been trying to use StarNet on my larger stack and I get some pretty bad artefacts.



#23 Tim J Fowler

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 11:07 AM

I think this photo is simply amazing! Well done!



#24 DubbelDerp

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 11:24 AM

It can take a lot of manual cleanup. Two things that work well for me is to take a less-stretched version of the image and place it on the top layer with a “lighten only” blending mode in GIMP. Then play with the stretch to focus on the dim stars, to where they’re minimized but still there enough to fill in some of the artifacts. This keeps the image from being overwhelmed by stars.

But this leaves bad artifacts around the bright stars. To try to fill in the bright stars, I’ll take the original image that I ran through Starnet++, place it on the bottom layer, and then use that image to make a luminance mask for the stars-removed version. Invert the mask so that it’s letting the stars show through from the bottom layer. Then it’s a matter of using a combination of applying a slight Gaussian blur to the mask, then curves to lighten the dimmest stars until they’re all white, and darkening the brighter stars so they show through more of the bottom layer. Repeat in small increments until the stars from the bottom layer fill in the artifacts from the starless image.

And when that doesn’t work or you get sick of messing with the mask, a highly feathered paint brush on the mask does the trick by showing the star in the bottom layer.
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#25 DubbelDerp

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 11:24 AM

I think this photo is simply amazing! Well done!


Thanks Tim!


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