SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M8 (Lagoon Nebula)

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Digital Rebel (300D): Hutech (no filter)
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: 24 x 4min @ ISO 200
Total Exposure: 1hrs, 36min
Date: 8/3/2005 9:52:18 PM PDT (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, registration
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is another Team Saratoga™ image, using Rich's modified 300D and my C8-NGT. This is a pretty spectacular object and one of our better images, in my humble opinion. Compare the current image with the one I captured a year ago with an unmodified camera, and before I knew what I was doing. No camparison. This is the full frame, shrunk for display on the web. A full-resolution image is also availble. North is up.

 
M86 & M84 (Virgo Galaxy Cluster)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M86 & M84 (Virgo Galaxy Cluster)

Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Promaster 72mm UV Filter
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 21 x 2min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 42min
Date: 5/10/2005 11:01:57 PM PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Levels, annotation, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This image is a "do over" of my "first light" image with a new Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens. It's 200mm focal length gives a generous 6°30' x 4°20' field of view in the Digital Rebel (300D). The crop shown above is a portion of the galaxy-rich region in the constellation of Virgo known as Markarian's chain. This version has much more exposure time than the original and shows more detail with less noise. The upper-left to lower-right smearing is the result of guiding error, differential flexure in the adpater plate, the lens being slightly out of collimation, or a combination of these factors. Need to get to the bottom of this. North is up in the above image. Be sure to check out the entire annotated field from which the above image is cropped. (Note: North is right in the full image.)

 
M86 (Part of Markarian's Chain)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M86 (Part of Markarian's Chain)

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: 12 x 60sec @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 12min
Date: 5/13/2004, 1:30am PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: Manual
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat frame, registration and stacking
  • Photoshop: Noise reduction, image scale (1/4 x), JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a portion of a string of galaxies in the constellation of Virgo known as Markarian's Chain. North is up.

 
M4 & IC 4604 (Antares / ρ Ophiuchi / M4)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M4 & IC 4604 (Antares / ρ Ophiuchi / M4)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Hutech Hα Front Filter (HA-FF)
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 57 x 4min @ ISO 200 (RGB), 19 x 8min @ ISO 800 (Hα)
Total Exposure: 6hrs, 20min
Date: 6/20/2006, 6/21/2006 (RGB); 6/22/2006 (Hα)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, HαRGB Combination, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a widefield shot of a region that most astrophotographers refer to as ρ Ophiuchi, a spectacular field at the border of the constellations of Scorpius and Ophiuchus. Move your mouse over the image above to see annotations of the various stars, nebulae, and clusters in this region. The ~2.5 hrs of Hα exposure really helped bring out Siv 9 and Sh 2-9, both of which were very muted in the RGB (normal color) exposures. Note that mousing-over the above image, in addition to displaying the object labels, will switch back-n-forth between the HαRGB image and the standard RGB image, very clearly showing the effect of the additional Hα data. This new image blows the doors off of my old image, which was really just a test shot with the (then) new lens. Thanks to fellow Saratogan Rich Schuppert for letting me borrow his camera platform, which allows orienting the camera/lens combination in a "north is up" configuration. (My platform only supports "north is left".) A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
Moonrise over Los Gatos
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Moonrise over Los Gatos

[Hα+R G B]

Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: None
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 1/60 sec @ ISO 100
Date: 8/8/2006 8:18:06 PM PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: Manual
Focus: Auto
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • Photoshop: RAW Conversion, Image Scale, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is an unprocessed shot of a 99.75% full moon rising over the Los Gatos mountains. The two bright dots in the upper-right are airplanes. A higher-resolution image is also available. Up is up. <smile>

 
M78 (Reflection Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M78 (Reflection Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
Scope: TMB 152/1200 APO Refractor
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Astrodon RGB I-Series Filters
Effective Focal Length: 1200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/7.9
Exposure: {15 R, 13 G, 12 B} × 8min @ -20°C
Total Exposure: 5hrs, 20min
Date: 2/09/2008 10:08 PM PST, 2/10/2008 07:24 PM PST (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: CCDSoft
Focus: FocusMax
Dithering: CCD Commander
Guiding: Self Guided

Processing:

  • IRIS: Registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Dark subtraction, Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Neil's Trick, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is M78, a reflection nebula n the constellation of Orion. This was shot over two really horrible nights, with awful transparency and a bunch of high clouds. This object requires tons of exposure on pristine nights to do it justice. The colors do look pretty cool though, even in this modest attempt. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
B33 (Horsehead Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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B33 (Horsehead Nebula)   [obsolete]

[Hα+R G B]

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.

 
NGC 6960 (Cirrus Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6960 (Cirrus Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
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: Hutech Hα Front Filter (HA-FF)
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 30 x 8min @ ISO 400 (RGB), 30 x 8min @ ISO 1600 (Hα)
Total Exposure: 8hrs, 0min
Date: 9/17/2006 (RGB); 9/19/2006 (Hα)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, HαRGB combination, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, sharpening, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is NGC 6960, aka the Cirrus/Filamentary/Lace-work Nebula and the Western portion of the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant in the constellation of Cygnus. This image consists of 4hrs of RGB exposure and 4hrs of Hα exposure over two nights.

Unlike my previous Hα+R G B images, in this one I used Hα for Luminance, and the RGB data for color after first blending a smidgeon of Hα into the Red channel. I suppose that makes this technically an Hα:Hα+R:G:B image. Using Hα for Luminance gives a very high contrast result, with added benefit of attenuating the star field which otherwise tends to overwhelm the rather faint nebula. And blending a bit of Hα into the Red channel prevents the salmon-i-zation (salmonella!? <g>) — i.e., the washout — of the red region that results from simple luminance layering in Photoshop. Robert Gendler has an explanation of this technique at his web site. Mousing-over the image shows the RGB stack, without any of the Hα data. Notice how the Veil tends to get lost in the Milky Way star field in that RGB-only image.

A higher-resolution image is also available. North is left.

 
B33 (Horsehead Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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B33 (Horsehead Nebula)   [obsolete]

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Orion ED80 (80mm f/7.5 APO Refractor)
Configuration: Focal Reduced
Additional Optics: William Optics 2" APO 0.8x Reducer/Field Flattener
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 480mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/6
Exposure: 21 x 8min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 48min
Date: 2/21/2006 7:35:35 PM PST (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Compositing, Levels, Desumdging, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is B33, aka the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation of Orion. Photos of this stunning object captivated me as a kid, and were among the many things that kindled my interest in astronomy. In that sense, capturing this image is satisfying at a number of levels, even though it could probably use another several hours of exposure. There was a nasty internal reflection from Alnitak that I had to de-smudge-i-fy in Photoshop in order to remove. Not sure what caused it, but it most certainly involves interactions among the Hutech Type I UV/IR block filter, the WO reducer, and the ED80 objective. Time for some science to figure out the culprit.

This is my second attempt at the Horsehead. My previous attempt from last year just ain't all that great. This one is much better. Funny what happens when you triple the effective exposure time. <grin> Mouse-over the image above to see the annotations, and see the link to last year's image for more information about this target. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is left.

 
M101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)   [obsolete]

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
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: 88 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 5hrs, 52min
Date: 5/25/2006 11:02:17 PM PDT (start) and 5/29/2006 10:31:17 PM PDT (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Sharpening, Levels, cropping, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is M101, aka, the Pinwheel Galaxy, a stunning spiral galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major. For some strange reason, this version — with just shy of 6 total hours of expsoure over two nights — came out better than this old version with 32min of exposure time. <grin> I may go back and add some Hα data to this RGB image in order to bring out some of the features; namely, the areas with NGC designations which can be seen by mousing-over the image above. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
IC 5146 (Cocoon Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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IC 5146 (Cocoon Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
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: 23 x 8min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 3hrs, 4min
Date: 10/31/2005 7:33:51 PST (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is IC 5146, aka the Cocoon Nebula, in the constellation of Cygnus. The transparency was quite awful the night this was shot, but the combination of auto-dithering and tons of exposure time made for a decent shot. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
M31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M31 (Andromeda Galaxy)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Orion ED80 (80mm f/7.5 APO Refractor)
Configuration: Focal Reduced
Additional Optics: Celestron F/6.3 Reducer/Corrector (0.63x)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 420mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5.2
Exposure: 25 x 8min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 3hrs, 20min
Date: 10/11/2005 12:42:47 AM PDT (start)
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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: Noise removal
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is my second attempt at M31, this time with a focal-reduced ED80 and the Modified 350D. This was a test to see if I could run the equipment overnight while I slept. Seems to have worked pretty well, but without dithering (which I still do manually), there was a large amount of residual pattern noise after calibration, registration, and stacking. While Neat Image did a decent job of removing that pattern noise, I really need to look into something like GADfly (see the Files section of Digital_Astro) to automate inter-exposure dithering. This is the full frame, shrunk for display on the web. A higher-resolution version of this image is also available, as is my previous attempt from last year with an unmodified camera. North is right.

 
NGC 7129 (Reflection Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 7129 (Reflection Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
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: 30 x 4min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 0min
Date: 10/3/2005 10:12:08 PM PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is an interesting field in the constellation of Cepheus. In the upper right are a handful of reflection nebulae: NGC 7129, NGC 7133, and IC 5133. In the lower left is the open cluster NGC 7142. This needed more exposure time to bring out the faint portions of the reflection nebulae. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
NGC 7000 & IC 5070 (North American & Pelican Nebulae Widefield)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 7000 & IC 5070 (North American & Pelican Nebulae Widefield)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 46 x 4min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 3hrs, 4min
Date: 9/29/2005 PM 9:01:03 PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a widefield shot of the North American Nebula (NGC 7000, left) and the Pelican Nebula (IC 5070, right), two emission nebulae in the constellation of Cygnus. This is one of my best widefield images to date. Lots of exposure time and really nailing the focus (always a challange at f/2.8) certainly helped. Mouse over the image to see the annotations. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
IC 1318 (γ Cygni Widefield)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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IC 1318 (γ Cygni Widefield)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 30 x 4min @ ISO 200
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 0min
Date: 9/4/2005 10:34:49 PM PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a widefield shot of the γ Cygni (aka, Sadr) region in the constellation of Cygnus. I blew the focus on this, but the shot isn't too bad nonetheless. Of course, it's hard to tell that the focus is blown at the image scale displayed herein. <grin> A higher resolution image of this widefield shot is also available, as is a closeup of the immediate Sadr Region from last year. North is right.

 
NGC 6820 & NGC 6823 (Emission Nebula & Open Cluster)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6820 & NGC 6823 (Emission Nebula & Open Cluster)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
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: 40 x 4min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 40min
Date: 8/30/2005 9:41:31 PM PDT (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, registration
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a "do over" of NGC 6820, an Emission Nebula in the constellation of Vulpecula. In my previous attempt with an unmodified camera, I was unable to capture the faint Hα emission nebula, and was only able to capture the open cluster NGC 6823. The modified camera excels in shots like this. A high-resolution image is also availble. North is up.

 
M16 (Eagle Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M16 (Eagle Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
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: 28 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 1hrs, 52min
Date: 8/28/2005 9:01:59 PM PDT (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, registration
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, sharpening, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a "do over" of M16, the Eagle Nebula, in the constellation of Serpens. M16 (NGC 6611) actually refers to the open cluster of bright, white, stars just above and to the right of the center of this photo. IC 4703 is the catalog name given to the nebula in which these bright, young stars continue to be born. The Modified camera did an excellent job at capturing the Hα (deep red) color in the nebula, while not obscuring the greenish tones in the upper-right regions. My previous attempt at M16 is still available, that one with an unmodified camera. This is the full frame, shrunk for display on the web. A full-resolution image is also availble. North is up.

 
SH 2-27 (Emission Nebula West)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SH 2-27 (Emission Nebula West)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Digital Rebel (300D): Hutech (no filter)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 33 x 4min @ ISO 200
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 12min
Date: 7/6/2005 10:33:03 PM PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, image scale, cropping, clone tool, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is the Western portion of SH 2-27, a very large but very faint emission nebula in the constellation of Ophiuchus. Thanks much to Rich S. for bringing over his Modified 300D and 200mm lens.

Move your mouse over the image above to see annotations of the various dark-nebula regions, or click on the image for a higher-resolution version. The image above is the full frame, shrunk for display on the web. Check out the Eastern portion of SH 2-27 as well. North is right.

 
SH 2-27 (Emission Nebula East)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SH 2-27 (Emission Nebula East)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Digital Rebel (300D): Hutech (no filter)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 33 x 4min @ ISO 200
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 12min
Date: Date: 7/2/2005 9:44:35 PM PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, image scale, cropping, clone tool, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is the Eastern portion of SH 2-27, a very large but very faint emission nebula in the constellation of Ophiuchus. Thanks much to Rich S. for letting me borrow his Modified 300D, without which I would not have been able to capture any of the red Hα nebulosity. Unfortunately, only after the fact, did I discover that there was a pretty obnoxious globber on the camera's sensor that moved (!) between the time I captured the Lights and Flats, so I had to do some unholy clone-tool operations in Photoshop to clean it up. There, I feel much better for coming clean on this. <grin>

Move your mouse over the image above to see annotations of the various dark-nebula regions, or click on the image for a higher-resolution version. The image above is the full frame, shrunk for display on the web. North is right.

 
IC 4592 (Reflection Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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IC 4592 (Reflection Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Digital Rebel (300D): Hutech (no filter)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 30 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 0min
Date: 6/29/2005 10:00:38 PM PDT
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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, image scale, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a Team Saratoga™ image <grin>, using Rich's Modified 300D and my 200mm lens. The large reflection nebula in the middle-right portion of the image is IC 4592 in the constellation of Scorpius, which surrounds the bright star ν Scorpii. Mouse-over the above image to see further annotations. This is the full frame shrunk for display on the web. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is right.

 
NGC 5746 (Spiral Galaxy)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 5746 (Spiral Galaxy)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

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: 33 x 4min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 12min
Date: 6/28/2005 10:12:14 PM PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, image scale, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is NGC 5746 (center) and NGC 5740 (lower right), two spiral galaxies in the constellation of Virgo. The bright star on the left is 109 Virginis. The image above is the full frame, shrunk for display on the web. The full size image is also available. North is up.

 
M104 (Sombrero Galaxy)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M104 (Sombrero Galaxy)

[Hα+R G B]

Click to see high-res version.

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: 14 x 4min @ ISO 200
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 56min
Date: 5/26/2005 10:02:00 PM PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is M104, aka the Sombrero Galaxy, in the constellation of Virgo. From our vantage point, M104 is a nearly edge-on spiral, with an obvious dust lane obscuring our view at its equator.

The conditions were downright awful the night this was shot. The seeing was so bad I had no idea whether I was truly in focus or not, and the transparency went from decent to horrid over the time period I was collecting frames. I'm amazed I got anything at all, frankly. The image above is a crop of the full-resolution frame. The full size image is also available. North is up.

 
M4 & IC 4604 (Antares / ρ Ophiuchi / M4)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M4 & IC 4604 (Antares / ρ Ophiuchi / M4)   [obsolete]

[Hα+R G B]

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 16 x 2min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 32min
Date: 5/11/2005 1:31:15 AM PDT (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, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Levels, annotation, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is my second "test photo" with my new Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens. This is a spectacular field at the border of the constellations of Scorpius and Ophiuchus; one that I need to revisit when it's better placed. (It was low to the horizon, in a light-polluted portion of the sky, at the time this was shot.) This image also could use much more exposure time.

Here are the highlights of this colorful region of the Milky Way:

  • Starting in the lower right-hand corner is the red-giant star Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius. The yellow reflection nebula surrounding Antares is IC 4606, and the small globular cluster within that nebula (toward the center of the frame from Antares) is NGC 6144.
  • Directly above Antares is the large, globular cluster, M4.
  • Above and to the left of M4 is another bright star, σ Scorpii. Surrounding σ Scorpii is the blue reflection nebula Ced 130 and red emission nebula Sh 2-9.
  • Continuing counter-clockwise, on the middle-left side of the frame, is the triple star ρ Ophiuchi. Surrounding ρ Ophiuchi is the blue reflection nebula IC 4604. To its right is the blue reflection nebula IC 4603.
  • Below and to the right of IC 4603 is 22 Scorpii and the blue reflection nebula IC 4605.
  • Finally, the dark regions throughout the left half of the image are various and sundry dark nebulae; i.e., clouds of dust which block our view of the stars and other objects behind them.

North is to the right in this image.

 
NGC 2841 (Spiral Galaxy)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 2841 (Spiral Galaxy)

[Hα+R G B]

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: 26 x 5min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 10min
Date: 4/11/2005 9:35:31 PM PDT (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, gradient removal
  • JimP: Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise attenuation

Image Description:

This is NGC 2841, a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major. This came out surprisingly well given the awful transparency, and considering that no less than 6 of the 26 frames had airplane trails in them! Amazingly, I was guiding on a double-star and it worked extremely well. Go figure. This is a crop of the full-size frame. North is up.

 
M1 (Crab Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M1 (Crab Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Digital Rebel (300D): Hutech (no filter)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Negative Projection (Barlowed)
Additional Optics: TeleVue 2x Barlow
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 2250mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/11.1
Exposure: 39 x 8min @ ISO 800 (total over 2 nights)
Total Exposure: 5hrs, 12min
Date: : 3/2/2005 7:57:06 PM PST (start) and 3/5/2005 7:39:22 PM 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, cropping, Kappa-Sigma stacking
  • JimP: White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, image scale, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is M1, a Supernova Remnant in the constellation of Taurus. This was a rather ambitious project to shoot a relatively small object at a high focal length (and, unfortunately, a correspondingly slow f/ratio). This is two nights worth of imaging, a total of 5.2 hours of exposure. But due to the "square law" of focal ratios, this is equivalent to only 1 hour at f/4.9, which is the focal ratio of most of the shots I've taken.

The first night's frames (19 of the 39) were taken with my Unmodified 300D. The second night's frames (20 of the 39) were taken with fellow Saratogan Rich S.'s Modified 300D. No filters in either case, just the TeleVue 2x Barlow. The first night had better seeing, the second night had much better transparency.

Given the tracking ability of my mount (well over 1 arc-second of guiding error, RMS, in both axes), and the blurring effect of lousy seeing, I wonder if shooting at this higher focal length really increased the resolution over shooting at f/4.9. It certainly accomplished a quintupling of the required exposure time, but to what avail is the question -- and I'm too sick of shooting this object to try it again at f/4.9 for comparison. It'll have to wait til next year.

The image above is a 50% shrink of the full-size image, then cropped to 768x512 for display on the web. North is up.

 
M45 (The Pleiades)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M45 (The Pleiades)

[Hα+R G B]

Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Orion ED80 (80mm f/7.5 APO Refractor)
Configuration: Focal Reduced
Additional Optics: Celestron F/6.3 Reducer/Corrector (0.63x)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 420mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5.2
Exposure: 22 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 1hrs, 28min
Date: 1/29/2005, 8:11pm (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
  • Photoshop: Levels, image size, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is the famous open cluster M45 (The Pleiades) in the constellation of Taurus. M45 is very visible to the naked eye and looks spectacular in binoculars. The blue reflection nebula is NGC 1432, aka, the Maia Nebula. This is my first image with the Orion ED80 and I'm pretty pleased with it. Unlike the ST80, the ED80 is an apochromatic refractor and doesn't suffer from "ugly purple halo around bright stars" syndrome. Transparency was only average when this was shot but the seeing was quite good. North is up.

 
NGC 7331 (Deer Lick Group and Stephan's Quintet)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 7331 (Deer Lick Group and Stephan's Quintet)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

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: 15 x 8min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 0min
Date: 9/22/2004, ~12:40am PDT (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 a rich field of galaxies in the constellation of Pegasus. The two major groupings are the Deer Lick Group, in the upper-left, and Stephan's Quintet in the lower-right. NGC 7331 is the largest and most obvious galaxy in this picture, and is the "showcase piece" in the Deer Lick Group. The tracking seemed a bit better in the frames of this image versus previous ones, perhaps due to the insertion of the barlow lens in the guide scope, doubling its effective focal length. This is a composite crop of both galaxy groups at roughly 75% size. A full-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
M11 (Wild Duck Cluster)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M11 (Wild Duck Cluster)

[Hα+R G B]

Click to see high-res version.

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: 26 x 20sec @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 8min
Date: 7/21/2004, 12:10am
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat frame, registration, and Kappa-Sigma stacking
  • Photoshop: Sligth crop, image scale (1/4 x), JPG conversion

Image Description:

The Wild Duck Cluster is a fairly interesting Open Cluster (as opposed to a Globular Cluster) in the constellation of Scutum. It makes for a very nice view through the eyepiece of a decent telescope, where, apparently, the stars take on the "V Shape" of a flock of flying ducks. Ummm, yeah.

I was careful in the aquisition and processing chain not to clip (saturate) any of the stars in order to preserve their color. This is a crop of the full size frame. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
NGC 6369 (Little Ghost)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6369 (Little Ghost)

[Hα+R G B]

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Negative Projection (Barlowed)
Additional Optics: TeleVue 2x Barlow
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 2844mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/14.2
Exposure: 53 x 1min @ ISO 3200
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 53min
Date: 7/6/2004, ~11:00pm PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat field, registration, Kappa-Sigma stacking
  • Photoshop: Noise reduction, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

NGC 6369, the Little Ghost, is a planetary nebula in the constellation of Ophiuchus. It's a fairly dim target, having a mean surface brightness of only 10.5 (Mag per square arc-second). As with the other images shot at this focal length, this magnification pushes the limits of my mount, especially without [auto]-guiding. I used Kappa-Sigma combining to create this image, which automatically rejects the "bad" data from smeared frames. This is a crop of the full-size image. North is up.

 
Saturn and Moons
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Saturn and Moons

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k): Color RAW Hack
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
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: 1024 x 1/50th sec @ Gain = 48% (Saturn), 512 x 1/25th sec @ Gain = 79% (Moons)
Date: 2/9/2006, 10:35 PM PST
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: QCFocus
Focus: Manual
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: AVI conversion, CFA conversion, Registration, Best-frame selection, Stacking, Wavelet processing
  • Photoshop: Compositing, Levels

Image Description:

This is my most recent attempt at Saturn, with the notable addition of four of its brightest moons. The drizzle operation was used in IRIS to increase the image scale of the moons to be similar to that of Saturn, and then masks, levels, etc., were used in Photoshop to combine the two images. (The moons were captured with a Televue 2x Barlow at 2000mm f/10.) A higher resolution image is also availble. The images are shown with Saturn's South pole pointing up. Earth's North is as indicated with the mouseover annotation.

 
Mars
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Mars

[Hα+R G B]

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k): Color RAW Hack
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
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: 256 @ 1/25s, 5fps, gain=0%
Date: 10/30/05, 1:05 AM PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: QCFocus
Focus: Manual
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: AVI conversion, CFA conversion, Registration, Best-frame selection, Stacking, Wavelet processing
  • Photoshop: Levels
  • ImageReady: Animated GIF conversion

Image Description:

This is a passable webcam image of Mars on a night of lousy seeing. This webcam image blows away this old one taken with a Digital Rebel.

The above image isn't an image at all — it's actually an animation. Each frame of the animation is the result of stacking the best 256 of 1000 frames from an AVI (with wavelet and levels processing, of course). Then each such frame is assembled into an animation using ImageReady. The individual frames of the animation are sperated in time by about 11min. Yes, Mars rotates about its axis very quickly. Mars's North is up and to the right in this animation. (I think. <grin>)

 
Moon, Saturn, and The Twins
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Moon, Saturn, and The Twins

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Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: None
Scope: Canon EF 28mm - 80mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 IV USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 80mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5.6
Exposure: 8 x 1 sec @ ISO 100; 3 x 1/125 sec @ ISO 100
Date: 1/23/2005, 7:36pm PST
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: Manual
Focus: Manual
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: RAW Conversion, Registration, Stacking
  • Photoshop: Compositing, Levels, Image Size

Image Description:

This is a widefield shot of a 98.33% full Moon near Castor (upper left), Pollux (lower left), and Saturn (lower-right). Castor and Pollux are the two brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini, The Twins. Mouse-over the image above to see annotations and to see the outline of the Gemini constellation. This is a composite of a stack of 1" exposures for the background stars and Saturn, and a stack of 1/125" exposures of the Moon. Compositing was done in Photoshop. Zenith is up (North is roughly in the direction of the line connecting the Moon to Castor).

 
NGC 6210 (Planetary Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6210 (Planetary Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Negative Projection (Barlowed)
Additional Optics: TeleVue 2x Barlow
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 2844mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/14.2
Exposure: 88 x 60sec @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 1hrs, 28min
Date: 7/14/2004, 11:30pm PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat field, registration, Kappa-Sigma stacking, Wavelet processing
  • Photoshop: Compositing, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

NGC 6210 is a planetary nebula in the constellation of Hercules. I used IRIS's Wavelet Processing capabilities to bring out details in the nebula. However, that made the surrounding stars and the sky background look icky, a technical term. So I used Photoshop to composite the wavelet-processed nebula with a non-wavelet-processed background using layer masks. There, I feel much better for coming clean. <g> Also, I was very careful at every step of the aquisition and processing chain not to clip any of the nebula or its central star, in order to preserve the color and appearance of the nebula. This is a crop of the full-size image. North is up.