SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M101 (Pinwheel 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: 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: 88 x 4min @ ISO 400 (RGB), 30 x 8min @ ISO 1600 (Hα)
Total Exposure: 9hrs, 52min
Date: 5/25/2006 and 5/29/2006 (RGB); 6/15/2006 (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: 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. Adding 4hrs of Hα to this recent RGB image really brought out the emission nebulae in M101. 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. See that RGB image for more details about M101. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
NGC 7023 (Iris Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 7023 (Iris 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: 42 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 48min
Date: 10/29/2005 9:28:47 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
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is NGC 7023, aka the Iris Nebula, in the constellation of Cepheus. This is my first auto-dithered image, using an adaptation of GADFly, originally written by TG Tan. The transparency was pretty lousy the night this was shot, and removing the background gradient was quite a challenge. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
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 405 (Flaming Star Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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December: Test shots with new scopes/mounts

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IC 405 (Flaming Star 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: 38 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 32min
Date: 1/4/2006 10:44:54 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: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is IC 405, aka the Flaming Star Nebula, in the constellation of Auriga. This was shot on a night of absolutely horrible transparency. To see how bad it was, check out this animation, which shows each of the 38 exposure played back-to-back as a movie. Notice how many of the shots were wiped out by clouds. Surprisingly, stacking all 38 of the images produced a better result than selecting the best images and stacking only them. Perhaps the Kappa-Sigma operation is automatically rejecting "bad" data. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.