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First attempt at NGC2244, feedback welcome

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#1 tita

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:34 AM

This is my first attempt at the Rosette nebula. I am starting with AP and this is my second DSO image so far that turned out reasonably good.

 

My setup for this image:

AT72EDII

RST-135

ZWO533MC pro

L-Xtreme

 

I took 58 subs of 5 minutes each over two nights. I had darks and bias but no flats, will do that tomorrow. Used DSS to stack and processed lightly in Gimp, just used levels and curves.

 

The image is cropped some because I do not have a field flattener and the stars around the edges were getting quite elongated. Besides that, is there anything else I should try during imaging? For processing the image, what workflow to you recommend for someone starting? Should I stick with Gimp or try something else? Thanks in advance.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • NGC2244_Jan2022 (784x800).jpg

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#2 EPinNC

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:46 AM

Wow -- That's a beautiful image!

 

I'm not at your level yet, but from what I understand, yes, a field flattener is good/essential for many small refractors.

 

As for processing... You'll get a lot of opinions here.  My opinion is that if you're getting results this good with DSS and GIMP, then use those.  Your skill is at least as important as what tools you use.

 

Thanks for sharing!  I hope to do as well soon.



#3 tita

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:57 AM

Thanks, EPinNC. I think a lot of the credit goes to the filter. I live under Bortle 7 skies and this was the first time I tried this filter. Actually, the second, the first was with the Triangulum galaxy which I did not process yet. But I learned that I was not supposed to use L-Xtreme with galaxies, so I don't have great hopes for that one.

 

Maybe you are right and I should invest the time to learn GIMP. It seems so full of features that it is a little intimidating. 


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#4 NumNastro

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:04 AM

I am also new to astro so I dont have any advice for imaging but in terms of processing maybe you could revisit the color balance? It looks super green to me.


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#5 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:12 AM

That is a very good start!

 

But i would get some real astro software. That is the biggest mistake i ever made. i thought if i could not get descent images in GIMP it would not be worthwhile to get some dedicated astro software, but that was very wrong.


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#6 tita

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:18 AM

That is a very good start!

 

But i would get some real astro software. That is the biggest mistake i ever made. i thought if i could not get descent images in GIMP it would not be worthwhile to get some dedicated astro software, but that was very wrong.

Which you do you recommend? Should I invest the time to learn PixInsight?



#7 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:25 AM

Which you do you recommend? Should I invest the time to learn PixInsight?

Difficult to say. I like Startools but that is personal. I can only say that it made a huge leap forward for me in processing and get descent pictures.

 

PI is also very good, but complicated ,but then again an all in one program, it stacks, it evaluates subs, and does the processing. i have it too but only to stack, to align stacks or to evaluate my subs. I don't use it for image processing.

 

There are many others, Siril eg , and it is free, stacks also

 

APP seems also good, i don't like it , but again this is personal


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#8 EPinNC

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 01:02 PM

Thanks, EPinNC. I think a lot of the credit goes to the filter. I live under Bortle 7 skies and this was the first time I tried this filter. Actually, the second, the first was with the Triangulum galaxy which I did not process yet. But I learned that I was not supposed to use L-Xtreme with galaxies, so I don't have great hopes for that one.

 

Maybe you are right and I should invest the time to learn GIMP. It seems so full of features that it is a little intimidating. 

As F.Meiresonne indicates, there are a number of software packages developed specifically for astrophotography, either for controlling the telescope or stacking/processing the images.  Some people prefer (and argue for) the more sophisticated tools or ones that are easier to learn for us beginners.  Personally, I like ones that are open source and run on MacOS or Linux, so I've been using Siril, RawTherapee, and GIMP.

 

GIMP and RawTherapee are mainly aimed at editing single images, which makes them useful for putting on the  finishing touches.  (I too use the levels and curves tools in GIMP; they can be very useful.)  They are not designed specifically for astrophotography, but they can certainly handle pixels in many sophisticated ways.

 

I've never used DSS, but if it gives you good results, then use it until you find it is no longer up to the task.  Siril is specifically designed for stacking/processing astrophotography images, and it too can do a lot of things.  Like any software, there is a learning curve, but Siril is free and potentially worth a try.

 

I would guess that many of the people here use multiple tools for doing different things to their images.



#9 terry59

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 01:25 PM

Try lowering the green channel and see what you think. I use PI and think it is a good investment IF you want to learn how to best use it. If not, pick one that does most things behind the scene. APP is ok but limited in processing ability.



#10 acrh2

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 01:33 PM

 

My setup for this image:

AT72EDII

RST-135

ZWO533MC pro

L-Xtreme

 

 

 

What kind of RMS total error do you get in PHD2 with that mount?



#11 flyiniowan

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 02:55 PM

This was my first attempt at ngc2244. "Link below" Is shot this target with my orion ed80 doublet. To be honest yours looks pretty amazing. I used my modded cannon 450d. "I just removed the lp2 filter in front of the sensor". Didn't get a dac until about 9 months ago "altair hypercam 183c" can't remember exactly what my subs were. Maybe 90 to 120 seconds for my full color subs using a svbony cls filter. I shot some more data using a 12nm ha filter "much longer like 4 mins or so" and combined the two data sets in ps. It took me awhile to really figure out the snafus of taking proper supporting frames "darks, flats etc" I got really lucky on this one because of the low temps with it being winter in the midwest. But again mad props on your first attempt. It looks amazing especially since you didn't used a flattner. I shot without one at first as well but I hated the stretched out stars, my opinion I won't shoot any meaningful ap unless I'm using corrective optics but that's purely my opinion:)

https://linksharing....om/pXzLURdSNByL

Edited by flyiniowan, 23 January 2022 - 03:29 PM.


#12 tita

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:16 PM

What kind of RMS total error do you get in PHD2 with that mount?

I do not know how to look at the log, there must be one right? I use ASIair pro and just watching the graph, total RMS was not great. I would say most of the time it fluctuated between 0.6" and 1.5", but sometimes it would go as high as 2". I am still learning and trying different guide settings. Seeing was below average for both nights, so that might have had an impact on guiding. I don't recall if I used dithering for the first night, but I am sure I did on the second night.

 

Polar aligning the RST-135 is not fun. When you go lock the mount, it moves. For the first night I got it pretty close, 13' from NP. I left the mount outside hoping the next night it would be polar aligned. It was on Az but not Alt. Alt was 5" above, so I assume I did not tighten the Alt knobs enough.


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#13 flyiniowan

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:34 PM

I do not know how to look at the log, there must be one right? I use ASIair pro and just watching the graph, total RMS was not great. I would say most of the time it fluctuated between 0.6" and 1.5", but sometimes it would go as high as 2". I am still learning and trying different guide settings. Seeing was below average for both nights, so that might have had an impact on guiding. I don't recall if I used dithering for the first night, but I am sure I did on the second night.

Polar aligning the RST-135 is not fun. When you go lock the mount, it moves. For the first night I got it pretty close, 13' from NP. I left the mount outside hoping the next night it would be polar aligned. It was on Az but not Alt. Alt was 5" above, so I assume I did not tighten the Alt knobs enough.



#14 flyiniowan

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:35 PM

Does the RST-135 have a polar alignment scope? Sorry if my replies look wierd, I'm new to this;)
In PhD when I'm looking at the numbers on the left side of the screen I always pay attention to the total rms error. I'm not sure if I am looking at it right but I've noticed that if it's anything less than 2.00 total my guiding is typically pretty good. It's its a little more or fluctuates I don't really notice any star trails.but I usually average about 1.15 to 0.75 total rms. I always align my mount with just my scope, have never used a camera. Hope that helps.

Edited by flyiniowan, 23 January 2022 - 04:47 PM.

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#15 Look at the sky 101

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:36 PM

I am not à AP my self , it is nice maybe a bit dark .



#16 tita

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:45 PM

Does the RST-135 have a polar alignment scope? Sorry if my replies look wierd, I'm new to this;)

No, it has a place to install a Polemaster if you want. But since you can't use the mount without guiding, you can use Sharpcap or, like me, use ASIair pro to polar align. I have not tried to track without guiding, so I really do not know how bad it can be. So far I always used it with ASIair pro, my experienced is very limited to this setup.

 

I know they have a model with absolute encoders, but it adds like $2K to an already expensive mount. The only reason to get this mount is if you want a light mount or if balancing is one of your major pet peeves. This mount can also be used in Alt-Az, I have never tried.



#17 flyiniowan

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:50 PM

Bummer on the no polar scope, looks like you would need the polemaster then to get a good polar. But I still think your image looks fantastic for what you are working with, I apologize about my multi edits. I keep forgetting to ad good info until after the fact he he. If I were you for now I would control the factors that you can as tightly as possible like getting the mount perfectly level, im a stickler on that portion of it. But I tear down and set up every night because for different targets at different times of the years I move my mount all around the yard. It's no fun to do that with an already 50 pound mount "orion sirius" and a 8 inch newtonian astrograph.

Edited by flyiniowan, 23 January 2022 - 04:54 PM.


#18 flyiniowan

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:08 PM

Bummer on the no polar scope, looks like you would need the polemaster then to get a good polar. But I still think your image looks fantastic for what you are working with, I apologize about my multi edits. I keep forgetting to ad good info until after the fact he he. If I were you for now I would control the factors that you can as tightly as possible like getting the mount perfectly level, im a stickler on that portion of it. But I tear down and set up every night because for different targets at different times of the years I move my mount all around the yard. It's no fun to do that with an already 50 pound mount "orion sirius" and a 8 inch newtonian astrograph.


I just briefly looked at the rst-135... quite the impressive piece of machinery, looks very capable. Would definately be worth getting the polemaster.

#19 tita

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:14 PM

I am also new to astro so I dont have any advice for imaging but in terms of processing maybe you could revisit the color balance? It looks super green to me.

 

 

Try lowering the green channel and see what you think. I use PI and think it is a good investment IF you want to learn how to best use it. If not, pick one that does most things behind the scene. APP is ok but limited in processing ability.

I might try PI, I think I do want to invest the time to learn it properly. It is one of those things, you don't know what you don't know. I am just worried that I know so little about getting the image in the first place that PI will be lost on me.

 

I tweaked my processing to cut down on green and increase the red a little bit. For the image in post #1 I aimed at having the peaks of red, green, and blue coincide. Maybe that is not the right approach? 

 

How does it look now? 

Attached Thumbnails

  • NGC2244_Jan2022_v2.jpg


#20 napkin03

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:23 PM

Beautiful image! I don't think you have to learn PI straight away, you can get amazing results with Gimp or Photoshop. These two programs also take some time to learn if you have never used them before but it's well worth the effort. I get what you mean with the filter. I recently upgraded from a cheap kit lens + svbony CLS filter to a proper refractor and an l-enhance. Here's my progress on the rosette: https://www.cloudyni...-new-telescope/ At a beginner stage it does sometimes really come down to what equipment you have. I was honestly getting a bit discouraged with the kit lens until I upgraded. Don't get me wrong, experience is also important. But with the same amount of knowledge in AP, I was able to improve my images by a factor of 10 ;) Just by upgrading my equipment in the right departments.

 

Would you mind sharing the tif file of the stack? Would love to have a go at this.

 

Ben



#21 napkin03

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:24 PM

Oh and take this with a grain of salt. Also a beginner here. That's just my experience



#22 flyiniowan

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:47 PM

Beautiful image! I don't think you have to learn PI straight away, you can get amazing results with Gimp or Photoshop. These two programs also take some time to learn if you have never used them before but it's well worth the effort. I get what you mean with the filter. I recently upgraded from a cheap kit lens + svbony CLS filter to a proper refractor and an l-enhance. Here's my progress on the rosette: https://www.cloudyni...-new-telescope/ At a beginner stage it does sometimes really come down to what equipment you have. I was honestly getting a bit discouraged with the kit lens until I upgraded. Don't get me wrong, experience is also important. But with the same amount of knowledge in AP, I was able to improve my images by a factor of 10 ;) Just by upgrading my equipment in the right departments.

Would you mind sharing the tif file of the stack? Would love to have a go at this.

Ben

I started with gimp but ended up going to ps for the astro plugins, with my setup I had alot of vignette and gradient to work with and I didn't have the patience to learn to deal with properly in gimp. Not saying it can't be done but for someone who doesn't have any prior experience in image editing I feel that ps really improved my images for the above stated reasons.

Edited by flyiniowan, 23 January 2022 - 06:32 PM.


#23 tita

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 07:49 PM

Would you mind sharing the tif file of the stack? Would love to have a go at this.

Ben, I placed the tiff file here:

https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

It does not have flats yet. It is also not centered, I initially did not know how to center the image using the ASIair.

 

I checked your post and it is amazing the difference between your two attempts at the Rosette and Horsehead!



#24 72Nova

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 08:01 PM

You are off to good start.  As a beginner like myself I recommend Astro Pixel Processor (APP) but there a a few other astro specific software packages that are popular.

 

Most have a free trial period so you can find what works best for you.  I really struggled when I tried to process images with DeepSkyStacker and GIMP.


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#25 rj144

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 09:08 PM

Here;s a quick edit with Siril and Affinity:

 

NGS2244-noflatssiraff.png

 

A little bit noisy and I could probalby clean it up, but your picture was huge and slowing down my computer.  ;)  My stacks from DSS are seldom more than 50 MB.  Are you individual subs huge?  Why is your stack 350 MB?


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