Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pacman Nebula in Ha

This is the the first image I have ever taken in Ha with my new Astronomik Ha 12 mm clip-filter. I decided on the Pacman Nebula (NGC 281) since it was high up and visible from the Happy Frog astronomy shed). It twas really neat imaging when the moon was out and 80%. Normally I would never image a nebula under those circumstances. I hoped to get over an hour of exposure but only manged to get 12 usable 3 minute exposures. This is my first processing attempt and am not sure if I am doing well. The curve stretching seems to work opposite after I hit the red channel to make it black and white. I got some additional data last night but the guiding was not that great. I will process them when I get a chance. Hopefully, they will to the quality but will see if it does or not.


NGC 281 - Pacman Nebula
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 11-06-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Astronomik Ha Clip-filter
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 12 x 180s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 10 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Cassiopeia Plus

For the past couple months I have been concentrating in the region around Perseus and Cassiopeia.  Three recent image appear in this wide field image.  They are: 1) the Heart Nebula, 2) the Soul Nebula, and 3) the Double Cluster.  All of these are located on the left side of the image.  As you can see, there are still plenty of other objects within Cassiopeia's reign.

I captured this around the same time I did the Soul Nebula but wanted to process that first.  I tried to use flats for this image however I must have done something wrong as they made the image much worse.  I successfully used flats with the telescope but this was taken using a Canan 50 mm camera lens (Nifty Fifty).

Cassiopeia Region Wide Field


Cassiopeia Region
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 10-18-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Lens: Canon 50mm f/2.8 (Nifty Fifty)
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 50mm
f/4.0
Focal Reducer: None
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 60 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 15 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Monday, October 30, 2017

IC 1848 - Soul Nebula

The Soul Nebula (a.k.a. IC 1848) can be found in the direction of the constellation Cassiopeia.  According to Greek mythology Cassiopeia is the vain wife of a King who ruled the region around the upper Nile river. Located about 6,500 light years away, the Soul Nebula spans about 100 light years and is a neighbor to the Heart Nebula (IC 1805). The image appears mostly red due to the emission of a specific color of light emitted by excited hydrogen gas (Source APOD Feb 28, 2016).

I imaged the Soul Nebula for three consecutive nights last week.  The first night was excellent seeing conditions but I had autoguiding problems in the beginning of the evening so I used up a lot of imaging time.  Still I was able to use 33 x 180 second exposures.  In addition, I used flats after the imaging session using the light box as described in the previous post.  I had over 3 hrs worth of data on the second night, unfortunately very high thin clouds made all of the data useless.  I collected over an hour of data on the 3rd night after our regular open astronomy session with Boothe Memorial Astronomical Society at Boothe Park.  The conditions were good, for Stratford, however, I was unable to take flats because I forgot the light box controller.  I thought about driving back with the camera attached but decided that was a bad idea.  Oh well!


IC 1848 - The Soul Nebula
Location: Home Monroe, CT and Boothe Park, Stratford, CT
Date: 10-18-17, 10-20-2017
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Astronomik UHC
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 33 x 180s, 23 x 180
ISO: 1600
Temp: 15 C, 15 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Using Flats in Astrophotography

So now I am a believer.  I know most are already using flats so this for those that are not.  They are pretty easy to take if you have a DSLR. After doing astrophotography for a couple years I have finally started using flats.  Not coming from a photography background they were always something of a mystery to of me.  I have read many directions on how to take them and tried them unsuccessfully last year.  For me what was missing was a video of someone actually doing it in the field.  That all changed a couple of weeks ago thanks to Trevor Jones from Astrobackyard.com.  His YouTube tutorial (How to take Flat Frames), as usual, was excellent especially since I was able to follow it.  Setting the DSLR on Av-mode and putting a T-shirt over the objective as he described worked o.k. on the Double Cluster image I took a few week back, however I don't think the sky was optimal.  He suggested getting a light box.  As luck would have it, Scott (https://www.astrobin.com/users/BigScott_27/) a user on Astrobin who happens to live really close to me saw my post and said he had a really nice light box (http://spike-a.com/flatfielders/) that is collecting dust.

The top image of the Soul Nebula is stacked without using flats and the bottom image is stacked with flats (taken using the light box).  I did about 5 minutes of the same processing on each for comparison, thus the only processing that was done after stacking was RGB set to 35, curve stretch, levels (except I used Gradient Exterminator on the image without flats).   The image is not done yet I still have much more processing left, however, it will be a lot easier to get a good image.



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

M34

And then there was one!  M34 (or NGC 1039) represents the 109th Messier object I have captured with my setup. It  is an open cluster in the constellation Perseus and is about 1,500 light years from Earth.  Viewing conditions were very good and I imaged this right aft after I finished with the Double Cluster.  I have really become a fan of imaging star clusters especially when some star colors show up.


M34
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 10-12-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 39 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 16 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

M76 - Little Dumbbell Nebula

I captured the Little Dumbbell Nebula (M76) the other night which makes this the 108th Messier object I have imaged, just two more to go. This object lives up to its name as being little and is much smaller than the Dumbell Nebula (M27) . The Little Dumbbell is a planetary nebula that is estimated to be 2,500 light years from us and about 1.23 ly across (source: wikipedia).

I have seen some really spectacular images of the Little Dumbbell using very large telescopes. I was using my little ED80 so I was not counting on getting any fine detail so I focused more on getting a pleasant star field.  That being said, the Dumbbell turned out better than I expected and am very happy with the outcome.

M76 - Little Dumbbell Nebula
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 10-12-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 69 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 16 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Saturday, October 14, 2017

NGC 869-884 - Double Cluster Revisited

I was not planning on imaging the Double Cluster but M34, my target, was still behind some trees some I had a little time. I imaged this almost two years ago (link) but I modified my equipment since then so I decided to revisit it.  The Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884, often designated h Persei and χ Persei, respectively or Caldwell 14) are close together in the constellation Perseus and lie at a distance of 7500 light years.  They are very close to the Heart Nebula (last target) and the Soul Nebula.

This was also the first time I ever used flats in my processing. I took them the following day using a method described by Trevor Jones from Astrobackyard.com (link).  It definitely made a difference and have posted images with and without the flat frames for comparison.  The flats removed some of the vignetting but not all and seemed to have removed some of the smaller stars so I think I need to experiment with taking these.

Autosave

Autosave with Flats

Color Balance

Color Balance with Flats

Final

Final with Flats

NGC 869 and 884 - The Double Cluster
Location: Home Monroe, CT and CSP27, Goshen, CT
Date: 10-12-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 40 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 16 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/