SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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B33 (Horsehead Nebula)   [obsolete]

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: Celestron/Baader Multi Purpose Coma Corrector (MPCC)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 7 x 5min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 35min
Date: 12/18/2004, 2:47am PST (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: Manual
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat field, registration, normalized Kappa-Sigma stacking, background fit, cropping
  • Photoshop: Levels, image size, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is B33, the famous Horsehead Nebula, in the constellation of Orion. The very bright star in the middle-left of the frame is Alnitak, which is the "leftmost" (Eastern) belt star in the constellation of Orion. The nebula just below and to the left of Alnitak is NGC 2024, the Flame Nebula. To the right of the Flame is the reflection nebula NGC 2023. The reddish emission nebula seen streaming out of Alnitak to the right (South) in this picture is IC 434. The Horsehead Nebula itself is a dark cloud "between" us and IC 434 which blocks some of the light coming from IC 434. This is my first attempt at this object, and this picture needs much more exposure time (perhaps as much as 4x). But I got such a late start that it set behind my neighbor's house after only 35min total exposure. Probably a good thing. <grin> North is to the left in this picture; West is up.

 
Jupiter closeup
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Jupiter closeup

Image Details:

Camera: Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k)
Mount: None
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Eyepiece Projection
Additional Optics: University Optics 7mm HD Ortho
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 6000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/30
Exposure: 200 of 850 frames @ 1/25s, 5fps, gain=0%
Date: 4/26/2005, 1:08 AM PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: Philips VRecord
Focus: Manual
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Registration, best-frame selection, stacking, color alignment, wavelet processing
  • Photoshop: Levels, white balance, image size, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a passable webcam image of Jupiter on a night of lousy seeing. This webcam image blows away this old one taken with a Digital Rebel. The not-so-great, not-so-red spot <grin> is just left of center. Jupiter's moon Ganymede is that faint red blob just to the left of the top of Jupiter. Jupiter's North is up.

 
M20 (Trifid Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M20 (Trifid Nebula)   [obsolete]

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 24 x 1min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 24min
Date: 7/11/2004, ~1:30am PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat frame, registration, and Kappa-Sigma stacking
  • Photoshop: Noise reduction, crop (1/2 x), image scale (1/2 x), JPG conversion

Image Description:

Another stunning object in the "summer" Milky Way. This is the Trifid Nebula, yet another gem in the constellation of Sagittarius. This is a Sigma stack of the best 24 of the 30 frames (the remaining 6 showed trailing/smearing due to tracking error). Interestingly, "dark subtraction" yielded a worse image than just stacking the un-dark-subtracted frames. I need to look into this. North is up.

 
IC 1287 (Reflection Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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IC 1287 (Reflection Nebula)

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 10 x 4min @ ISO 200
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 40min
Date: 8/4/2004, ~11:40 PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat frame, registration, Kappa-Sigma stacking, and noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Color mixing, cropping, image scale, JPG conversion

Image Description:

IC 1287 is a very faint reflection nebula in Scutum. This is my second guided image. Thanks much to Jim Shuder for bringing his guiding apparatus over to my house for a fun evening of imaging. (See the comments in the B86 Image for details on the guiding infrastructure.) This is approximately 2/3's of the full frame, scaled for display on the web. North is up.

It's interesting to compare this version with my original unguided version. This one shows much tighter stars and much more of the faint, blue nebulosity. Now, to be fair, the guided version has twice the effective exposure length as the unguided version. But that was because nearly 2/3's of the unguided exposures were unuseable messes, due to smearing and poor tracking. Seen another way, in the unguided version I collected 60min of frames, of which only 20min were useable. In the guided version, Jim and I collected 40min of frames, of which all were useable. Bottom line: I'm convinced; I need to begin guiding.