SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M33 (Triangulum Galaxy)

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: 19 x 5min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 1hrs, 35min
Date: 11/13/2004, ~10:30pm 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 was the first decent night of weather we've had here in the Bay Area in a long time, so it was nice to get out again and capture this image. The seeing and transparency were good, not great, but far better than they've been in quite some time. M33 is a spiral galaxy, sometimes referred to as the Pinwheel Galaxy, in the constellation of Triangulum -- a constellation which is shaped like ... drum roll please ... a triangle. <grin> This is a crop of the full-size frame. North is to the left.

 
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.

 
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.

 
M65 (Part of the Leo Triplet)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M65 (Part of the Leo Triplet)

[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: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 100mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: ~14min @ ISO 800 and 1600
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 14min
Date: 5/8/2004 11:20:54 PM PDT (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: Manual
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, and stacking
  • JimP: White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, scale, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This was an attempt at capturing the Leo Triplet. By confusing my directions I managed to frame this wrong and capture only M65 (right) and M66 (left). NGC 3628, the third in the Triplet, will have to wait for another day. North is up, though I really wish I would have realized this simple fact at the time. D'oh!!!!

Update 3/18/2005: This is a reprocessed stack of a hodgepodge of frames and exposures ranging from 30sec to 2min at ISO 800 and 1600. Amazingly, IRIS was able to scale, translate, and rotate all of these frames in order to align them, even though their intersection was only a tiny fraction of the entire sensor's range. Way to go IRIS! Obviously, this image needs much more exposure to bring out the faint spiral arms of these galaxies. And, since the framing was all messed up, most of the frames were captured in the "severe coma" portion of the field, which is why the stars show significant signs of coma. But as my first DSO image with the 300D, this ain't too shabby!