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M31 - Andromeda Galaxy in HaRGB

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#1 EasyQuest

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 06:19 AM

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For this session, I wanted to shoot the show piece object most observer look at this time of year, M31 - Andromeda Galaxy in the constellation Andromeda. This is a very common object imaged by beginners and experienced imagers. I wanted clean data on a cooled camera so I went with my ZWO ASI2600mm Pro with RGB and HA for the HA regions on the galaxy. I originally wanted to use the L-filter as well but the smoke came from the fires in California sooner than expected. so I only able to image with RGB and HA at a later date. Processing was a challenge for the HA region as I never process like this before. I manage to combine the Red channel with the HA channel by making the HA image a "screen" in Photoshop. I am not sure if this is correct but I was able to apply the HA data on the galaxy with little color corrections. This is my best version of M31 yet! Enjoy~

 

Moon Phase, Location, and Date

  • Moon Phase: 30%, 0%, 8%, 46% (No moon during RGB session while some moon on HA session)  
  • Murfreesboro, TN (Bortle 6)
  • September 01, 06, 09, 13, 2021

Equipment

  • Telescope/Lens: William Optics Fluorostar 91 (540 mm at f/5.9)
  • Flattener/Reducer: FLAT6AIII special edition for Fluorostar 91 (432 mm at f/4.72)
  • Filter: Chroma 36mm HA 3nm Telescope Filter - Unmounted
  • Filters: ZWO Premium LRGB Imaging Filter Set - 36mm Round Unmounted (Used only RGB)
  • Mount: Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro (Rowan Belt Modification doe better tracking and autoguiding)
  • Guide Scope: William Optics 50mm Guiding Scope (Color: Gold)
  • Guider: ZWO ASI120MM-MINI
  • Dew Heater Controller: Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox Micro (Clean up Cables)
  • Dew Heater: Dew Not 4" Dew Heater Strip - DN005
  • Dew Heater: Dew Not 1" Dew Heater Strip - DN002
  • Camera: ZWO ASI2600MM Pro
  • Polar Alignment: QHYCCD Polemaster (Precise polar alignment)
  • Laptop (For imaging, dither, auto guiding, plate solve)

Software

  • PHD2 (For Auto Guiding)
  • QHYCCD PoleMaster Software (Polar Alignment)
  • Astrophotography Tool (APT) (For Dither, plate solve, mount control)
  • EQMOD (Remove Hand Controller and allow pulse guiding)
  • Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox (Control the Pocket Powerbox Micro)
  • Deep Sky Stacker (Stacking Frames)
  • Photoshop (Processing)
  • PixInsight (Processing)
  • Microsoft Image Composite Editor (Processing, mosaic combine)

Acquisition

  • Exposure Total: 23 hrs
  • HA:    72 x 300s (6 hrs)
  • Red:   72 x 300s (6 hrs)
  • Green: 60 x 300s (5 hrs)
  • Blue:  72 x 300s (6 hrs)
  • Temperature: -5°C on all calibration frames as well as light frames
  • 20  Flats per channel
  • 20 Darks (Used Master Dark file)
  • 20 Bias  (Used Master Bias file)
  • Gain: 100 (Unity Gain)
  • Bin: 1x1
  • Offset: Left Default

Processing in Photoshop and PixInsight

  • Stacked in DSS
  • Drizzle 2x
  • Edited in Photoshop
  • Adjusted levels
  • Adjusted Curves
  • Selective Curves Adjustment
  • Color Correction
  • Blacks Correction
  • Vibrance Applied
  • Clarity Applied
  • Dehaze Applied
  • Light Sharpening Applied
  • Noise reduction on all channels
  • Luminance layer for highlights
  • Cropped
  • StarNet in PixInsight
  • Morphological Transformation in PixInsight for Star reduction
  • Star correction
  • Combine Red channel to HA with "Screen" over the Red channel
  • Color balance Red channel with HA data
  • Down size from 12000x8175 to 6500x4428

 

M31   Andromeda Galaxy   Main
IMG 1837

Edited by EasyQuest, 22 September 2021 - 08:26 AM.

  • PrestonE, D_talley, mikewayne3 and 8 others like this

#2 TareqPhoto

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 06:42 AM

Excellent and perfect, Great job

#3 Daveone

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 06:47 AM

Very nice processed, congratulation waytogo.gif



#4 TareqPhoto

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 07:00 AM

I really really like that you posted full details, that is why I said excellent and perfect.

Question, do you face issues with your guiding setup like disconnected time to time or no stars or not guiding well? With my setup I never had successfull guiding any night, hardly maybe for 1-2 hours, and I have to keep reconnect all the time to have more time guiding before stop, very headache, I don't think I have to change setup.

#5 PiotrM

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 07:39 AM

Question, do you face issues with your guiding setup like disconnected time to time or no stars or not guiding well? With my setup I never had successfull guiding any night, hardly maybe for 1-2 hours, and I have to keep reconnect all the time to have more time guiding before stop, very headache, I don't think I have to change setup.

What do you mean by disconnect? Does the mount - PC connection gets lost? (check the cable, USB drop-outs). If you are using an OAG then you may have problems finding guide stars - that's when you have to start rotating it around and/or trying bit longer exposures to find a star (also check OAG camera focus). For short focal lengths external guider is way easier to use in terms of star-finding.


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#6 TareqPhoto

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 07:58 AM

What do you mean by disconnect? Does the mount - PC connection gets lost? (check the cable, USB drop-outs). If you are using an OAG then you may have problems finding guide stars - that's when you have to start rotating it around and/or trying bit longer exposures to find a star (also check OAG camera focus). For short focal lengths external guider is way easier to use in terms of star-finding.

Yes, exactly get lost connection, and I don't know why, not because if cable, but because of stars maybe and settings.

 

I tested like 5 cables including the one coming with the camera and the one coming with the imaging camera or filter wheel, all doing the same, I get lost connection, only when something weird going like stars getting lost or seeing changed or mount went too far somehow, so I don't know if that is guiding problem or something else.

 

I will give it a try later with that new feature of multi stars selection, hopefully that can fix it, and I will try to make better focus with guiding scope, that could be another issue but I can't tell for now.



#7 EasyQuest

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 08:46 AM

I really really like that you posted full details, that is why I said excellent and perfect.

Question, do you face issues with your guiding setup like disconnected time to time or no stars or not guiding well? With my setup I never had successful guiding any night, hardly maybe for 1-2 hours, and I have to keep reconnect all the time to have more time guiding before stop, very headache, I don't think I have to change setup.

Yes, exactly get lost connection, and I don't know why, not because if cable, but because of stars maybe and settings.

 

I tested like 5 cables including the one coming with the camera and the one coming with the imaging camera or filter wheel, all doing the same, I get lost connection, only when something weird going like stars getting lost or seeing changed or mount went too far somehow, so I don't know if that is guiding problem or something else.

 

I will give it a try later with that new feature of multi stars selection, hopefully that can fix it, and I will try to make better focus with guiding scope, that could be another issue but I can't tell for now.

 

I do not have any disconnection issues with my setup. I am using a short USB-C cable I purchase on Amazon. it is about 45.7cm or 1.5 feet in length. Which guide camera are you using? I am looking at your equipment list and see "QHY5L-II-M,  ZWO ASI174MM, ASI290MM." The QHY camera uses USB type B connector so I am not sure about the that one. I am not sure if you are using a USB Hub that is actively powered or not. I am not sure if you are using a modern computer with USB 3.0 support through it only needs USB 2.0 so I am thinking you are running into USB resource issues? I am assuming a Windows 10 PC, as you brand of cameras than ZWO so that rules out the ZWO ASI Air Pro.



#8 TareqPhoto

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 08:54 AM

I do not have any disconnection issues with my setup. I am using a short USB-C cable I purchase on Amazon. it is about 45.7cm or 1.5 feet in length. Which guide camera are you using? I am looking at your equipment list and see "QHY5L-II-M,  ZWO ASI174MM, ASI290MM." The QHY camera uses USB type B connector so I am not sure about the that one. I am not sure if you are using a USB Hub that is actively powered or not. I am not sure if you are using a modern computer with USB 3.0 support through it only needs USB 2.0 so I am thinking you are running into USB resource issues? I am assuming a Windows 10 PC, as you brand of cameras than ZWO so that rules out the ZWO ASI Air Pro.

I use only QHY5L camera, so USB2.0 which means any port of my computer.

 

I use Pegasus Power Box advance to power my devices including the guiding camera, and I use different cables brands and length from 1 meter up to 5 meter, they all work but also they all disconnect oftenly in the middle of imaging or in the beginning or after 2 hours, and I am away and don't know it happens so I lost some time of imaging and frames.

 

My imaging cameras and filter wheel never get disconnected unless I do move cables extremely, so I don't believe that only guiding camera is the issue here, I use an old PC with windows 7, and I get guiding for 1 hour or two or even three but not always, so I doubt that if it works once or twice then it has issues, didn't change anything except the cable itself or the port connected from PC directly or from hub to Pegasus.



#9 EasyQuest

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:07 AM

I use only QHY5L camera, so USB2.0 which means any port of my computer.

 

I use Pegasus Power Box advance to power my devices including the guiding camera, and I use different cables brands and length from 1 meter up to 5 meter, they all work but also they all disconnect oftenly in the middle of imaging or in the beginning or after 2 hours, and I am away and don't know it happens so I lost some time of imaging and frames.

 

My imaging cameras and filter wheel never get disconnected unless I do move cables extremely, so I don't believe that only guiding camera is the issue here, I use an old PC with windows 7, and I get guiding for 1 hour or two or even three but not always, so I doubt that if it works once or twice then it has issues, didn't change anything except the cable itself or the port connected from PC directly or from hub to Pegasus.

I am not familiar with that camera but have you tried your ZWO ASI174MM or ASI290MM with your current setup? This will rules out if the camera is an issue or not since the cables have been swap a few times.



#10 TareqPhoto

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:14 AM

I am not familiar with that camera but have you tried your ZWO ASI174MM or ASI290MM with your current setup? This will rules out if the camera is an issue or not since the cables have been swap a few times.

No I didn't, will give them a try later and see, but if that is working then it means I have to change my guiding setup even a camera only, I bought that camera precisely for guiding.



#11 TareqPhoto

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:18 AM

Amazing that your setup is very very similar to mine, and you are in Bortle 6, my sky here is between Bortle 6 by zenith to Bortle 9 by horizon low degree, I did image the galaxy as the last target maybe last month th or two months ago for Lum signal only, mono camera without any filter, yours turned out amazing, I really want to see how was your stacked one filter but non processed.



#12 EasyQuest

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:25 AM

No I didn't, will give them a try later and see, but if that is working then it means I have to change my guiding setup even a camera only, I bought that camera precisely for guiding.

Sucks if the camera itself is a problem. If it is camera that is the problem I recommend the ZWO ASI 120mm-mini. I have few of them with no problems on my laptop windows 10 machines and Intel NUC PC.

 

Amazing that your setup is very very similar to mine, and you are in Bortle 6, my sky here is between Bortle 6 by zenith to Bortle 9 by horizon low degree, I did image the galaxy as the last target maybe last month th or two months ago for Lum signal only, mono camera without any filter, yours turned out amazing, I really want to see how was your stacked one filter but non processed.

 

I say Bortle 6 but the area when I shoot towards the east is most likely Bortle 5 as it looks darker but I am not sure,towards the south is Bortle 8 or 9 and west is Bortle 6 to 7. I will upload the blue channel non-proceed but stacked later when I am home from work.



#13 imtl

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:38 AM

Well, when I saw the "HaRGB" title along with M31 I was puzzled, since I'm used to "HaRGB" to mean the Ha was used as luminance. But you have an RGB image with R enhanced by Ha which makes more sense with this galaxy of course. I guess I'm used to LRGB that I need to not assume stuff next time tongue2.giftongue2.gif



#14 EasyQuest

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 10:58 AM

Well, when I saw the "HaRGB" title along with M31 I was puzzled, since I'm used to "HaRGB" to mean the Ha was used as luminance. But you have an RGB image with R enhanced by Ha which makes more sense with this galaxy of course. I guess I'm used to LRGB that I need to not assume stuff next time tongue2.giftongue2.gif

I was wondering if I had the name right as I never done this type of processing before so I put "Ha" in front so I can see the confusion. I really process the Ha data into red in a different windows and apply the channel the main image. 



#15 imtl

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 12:58 PM

I was wondering if I had the name right as I never done this type of processing before so I put "Ha" in front so I can see the confusion. I really process the Ha data into red in a different windows and apply the channel the main image. 

I would have put the Ha at the end. i.e. RGBHa but meh. Doesn't matter really.



#16 TareqPhoto

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 02:29 PM

I would have put the Ha at the end. i.e. RGBHa but meh. Doesn't matter really.

It really doesn't matter if putting Ha at he end or in the beginning as long it is mentioned what each filter been used, and most likely RGB is always coming with L or Ha as Lum layer, but i learnt through years that many are using Ha as Ha many times for the galaxies, in fact many are using HaLRGB also, so i assume that Ha is a separate narrowbanding data then, and L filter is the one that either can be added or removed, or if many want just to have only broadbanding then LRGB without Ha for galaxies.




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