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, "....it was cold...dark, there was nothing better to do..." LOLOL!