Saturday, 21 October 2017

IC 1396 Elephant Trunk Nebula - Unprocessed data discovered

I used my new ASI1600MM mono camera for the first time back in November of 2016.

The whole point of moving from my QHY8 colour camera to the mono was so that I could do narrow band imaging.

IC 1396, the Elephant trunk nebula was a perfect first target and remains the best astro image I've taken to date.

Here's the Hubble palette version followed by the Ha image I captured on my first outing with this great new CMOS camera

After processing my data from my imaging session on M31 recently I found a folder of LRGB data on IC 1396 that I shot a couple of days before I received my narrow band filters.

It seems that in the excitement of attempting my first nb image I completely forgot about the LRGB data I had captured.

Today I processed that data and, while it doesn't compare in the slightest with the quality of the nb results, it did highlight a few things.

Here's the result of the LRGB 4 hrs of data.

Now, compare this to my best effort on the QHY8 colour image (I know others probably could've done better, this isn't a contest between the two camera's, it's a contest between my imaging expertise)

My first reaction was I like the colour of the QHY8 image more - but - the only reason it's that colour is because, if  you look closely at all the orange stars etc., it is clear I hammered the red channel to make it look that way - so I effectively "painted" the image - which is not good.....

Here they are side by side and scaled

Open that image up and have a good look at the one on the right - the QHY8 example - it's almost comical how much I pushed the red channel to make it look red...whereas the one on the left has a more "natural" feel to it with actual white stars haha.

The other message I took home from this is that there are objects in the deep sky that are more suited to narrow band imaging - I could capture LRGB for weeks and not match the nb results on this object.

So although the forgotten data has been processed, and I believe it's better than the QHY8 effort, it seems that the reason it was unprocessed is that I saw the results from nb and canned the LRGB lol! 

Nothing lost today, as Captain Mainwaring said when asked why he learned to play the bagpipes on his honeymoon in Scotland, " was cold...dark, there was nothing better to do..." LOLOL!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy

This imaging session, occurring over 2 nights was not without its mistakes and confusion! 

Setting up the first night I seemed to spend most my time trying to remember how to configure the capture software correctly.

The second night I decided not to connect the guide camera to the PhD Guiding 2 correctly and spent 30 minutes establishing that fact.

However, out of the jaws of chaos (which extended to the processing of the image) came one of my better efforts on this object. It’s also the largest amount of data I’ve collected with almost 5hrs going into the can for processing.

I’m having fun zooming in to the different parts of the galaxy to view the H2 regions (star forming) that I was quite surprised to have caught in such numbers. These regions, swimming amongst the sea of big, hot blue stars destined to burn out quickly, are similar to our own Orion Nebula. Moving to the core of the galaxy and it super massive black hole the cooler, longer lived red stars dominate.

Up to the left M110, another galaxy bound to Andromeda has resolved quite well – it can off look very pixelated – and nearby the big blue star who’s name I cannot find 

This galaxy is 220,000 light years across and contains a trillion stars which is twice as many as in our Milky Way galaxy.

I think I need to capture a lot more colour data but this is a good start.