ProtoJeb21

The Astro-Imaging Thread

Astro-Imaging Questions  

49 members have voted

  1. 1. What's Your Favorite Solar System Body to Image?



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ProtoJeb21    2579

This is a thread for astro-photographers to talk about astro-imaging and share their photographs. Here are some of my best astronomy photos as of September 18th, 2016:

NcgBonR.jpg

Mars only a few weeks after opposition.1IbN4Zd.jpg

M106 and a few other galaxies.

QrFuSzF.jpg

Jupiter and Io in Feb. 2015.

79BcxM5.jpg

A star field in the constellation Cygnus, taken in August 2016.

nymubkx.jpg

My best image of Saturn yet, with the Cassini Division!

o506jpa.jpg

A fantastic view of craters near Mare Fecunditatis.

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Diche Bach    158

Wow, those are all awesome! This is not really the "right" thread for this, but . . . given it is about images, maybe you or someone will be able to answer, and maybe me posting it will generate a little 'legit' traffic by astro-imagers

I was having a look at the wiki page for mars curiousity rover, and I was looking at this photograph

MarsCuriosityRover-Drilling-Sol170++-2.j

 

When I noticed a strange "anomaly" which I show in the yellow circle here. What the heck is going on there?! Capricorn One all over again!? :sticktongue:

oVve-.jpg

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kurja    126

I'd say that the Curiosity pic is a composite panorama, the rover part has moved between images. That's how those rover "selfies" are made.

I answered Moon on the poll, a little boring maybe but I don't really have the magnification for much else - I'm doing extrasolar objects :)

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ProtoJeb21    2579
5 hours ago, _Augustus_ said:

What scope and camera are you using?

Except for the M106 image, the camera I used for taking the images was a Cannon PowerShot A4000-IS HD. M106 was photographed with the CCD camera at the local observatory I do IRVEES observations at.

The images of Mars, Saturn, M106, and Jupiter were taken while using the local observatory's 16" reflector. The others used my 8" SkyWatcher portable Dobsonian telescope.

1 hour ago, kurja said:

I answered Moon on the poll, a little boring maybe but I don't really have the magnification for much else - I'm doing extrasolar objects :)

I like photographing the Moon a lot, too. Easy to see, and you could find some interesting anomalies on the surface---Wait, did you say you were doing something with extrasolar planets? :0.0:

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MaxPeck    469

Here's one I did, Messier 51 with an Orion 120mm f/5 refractor mounted on an iOptron CEM25, taken with a Nikon D5200.  This is about 30mins worth of stacked 2 minute subs.  I think this is one of my best.

get.jpg

Here's another one I did of M42.  Same equipment, but about an hour's worth of subs.

get.jpg

Edited by MaxPeck

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kurja    126
7 hours ago, ProtoJeb21 said:

I like photographing the Moon a lot, too. Easy to see, and you could find some interesting anomalies on the surface---Wait, did you say you were doing something with extrasolar planets? :0.0:

Heh no, extrasolar, deep space objects - galaxies and nebulas. Longer exposures and way less magnification, than what you'd want for imaging planets. Like what I have as my user picture here :)

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Diche Bach    158
20 hours ago, MaxPeck said:

Here's one I did, Messier 51 with an Orion 120mm f/5 refractor mounted on an iOptron CEM25, taken with a Nikon D5200.  This is about 30mins worth of stacked 2 minute subs.  I think this is one of my best.

get.jpg

Here's another one I did of M42.  Same equipment, but about an hour's worth of subs.

get.jpg

Those are very nice Max. Do you live far away from urban areas, or at high elevation or something?

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MaxPeck    469

@Diche Bach

Not particularly.  I'm in a zone 5 on the Bortle scale, just about at sea level.  I'm about 10 miles from the city, so it's country-ish, but largely suburban.  On really obnoxious light pollution nights, the sky to the southwest is always a purplish-amber color.  I've gotten really good at using DSS and GIMP to reduce ambient glow and bring out the details on deep space objects.  

Here's some more... I consider this guy to be my crowning achievement thus far.. this is M101, did this with the same equipment as before, but this is about 1.3 hours of exposure time (out of about 2.5 hours of imaging time).  This guy was a pain to get, and while it's not jaw-dropping, it was a bear to tease the details out.

get.jpg

And then this is the "Witch's broom" part of the Veil Nebula.  This was about 1.2 hours of exposures out of 2 hour session.

get.jpg

Edited by MaxPeck

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Green Baron    956

For those who don't know: DSS is DeepSkyStacker, a freeware program to stack frames onto each other, increasing "pointedness" of stars, filter out camera/chip- errors, etc. .... usually one makes a stack of exposed frames, in case of a monochrome camera with different filters for different wavelengths, these are "added" and then dark frames that may contain chip errors or "unevenness" of the setup are "subtracted". DSS helps with that. Hope that explanation wasn't too impertinent ...

MaxPeck, you're a few steps ahead of me, i'm waiting for reasonable conditions :-) That filament in the "Witch's Broom" is really cool. Do you use any filters like infrared, skyglow, artificial light ?

 

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kurja    126
7 hours ago, MaxPeck said:

@Diche BachI've gotten really good at using DSS and GIMP to reduce ambient glow and bring out the details on deep space objects.  

Have you tried PI for calibration and integration & post? I got better results with it than dss/gimp, I didn't really study dss though (doesn't run too smoothly in linux). Do you use gimp beta for >8bit?

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MaxPeck    469

@kurja I haven't done much with PI because I use a Nikon and it's partial to Canon. I use Sequence Generator Pro for capture because it works really well with most equipment and plays very nice with PHD2.  I stack, integrate flats and darks, and do rough processing in DSS and then use GIMP if needed mainly for editing curves and manipulating the histogram to tease out more detail. I've also messed around with Star Tools, but haven't really gotten far enough into it's learning curve to be useful. 

@Green Baron I don't really mess with filters because I'm using a DSLR. I tried using a sky glow filter once and got horrible vignetting and weird artifacts so I sent it back.  Because of the bayer matrix DSLR cameras use (and Nikon in particular), filters can produce some weird effects. 

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ProtoJeb21    2579
16 hours ago, MaxPeck said:

GIMP to reduce ambient glow and bring out the details on deep space objects.

Can you explain to me how to do that? If you notice with a lot of my images, they're sort of...fuzzy. Some reasons include ambient glow from the objects, the camera I'm using, and occasional "Attack Clouds." I've been trying to edit them with GIMP to get them looking sharper.

Speaking of sharp images, I have a plan to get a really good image of Saturn. I recently figured out that adjusting the focus of the telescope while holding the camera up to the lens enables me to see what focus levels produce sharper image qualities. I did that with the Moon image up in the OP. If the weather prevails, I'm going to test this out on Saturn tonight. Maybe I'll get a few images, crop them to the same size, and stack them with something like DSS and see what I get. You know, the good old fashioned procedure of throwing science at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Also, here are some astro-images I recently edited: http://imgur.com/gallery/Mopgs

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_Augustus_    1244

I have some Mercury transit photos I took with a borrowed 4.5" reflector in May, I'll upload 'em tomorrow.

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MaxPeck    469

@ProtoJeb21 DSS isn't a good tool for planetary work. Also, there's a trick to planetary that doesn't work with DSOs. DSOs are faint, so you need long exposures, but planetary objects are bright (the moon obnoxiously so). For planetary, the answer is quantity. There's an easy way to capture a ton of images. See if your camera can capture video. Use VLC or some other video editing software to convert each frame to an image, and for each minute of video you capture, that's 1464 images (assuming 24FPS). Even 5 minutes of imaging can yield an absurd about of imagery. 

Forget DSS for planetary work, the program you want is called Registax. 5,000 stacked images can produce surprisingly clear images of just about any planetary body you care to point your rig at. Just be aware that you'll need to adjust your camera every so often to keep your target in frame, which will mess up some of your exposures. Still, with such a high image count, you can afford to discard lots of bad images and be discriminating. Registax will actually do that for you. 

There are a ton of Registax tutorials out there, Google some and I think you'll be astounded at what you can produce from a thousand or so fuzzy images. 

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ProtoJeb21    2579
8 minutes ago, MaxPeck said:

@ProtoJeb21 DSS isn't a good tool for planetary work. Also, there's a trick to planetary that doesn't work with DSOs. DSOs are faint, so you need long exposures, but planetary objects are bright (the moon obnoxiously so). For planetary, the answer is quantity. There's an easy way to capture a ton of images. See if your camera can capture video. Use VLC or some other video editing software to convert each frame to an image, and for each minute of video you capture, that's 1464 images (assuming 24FPS). Even 5 minutes of imaging can yield an absurd about of imagery. 

Forget DSS for planetary work, the program you want is called Registax. 5,000 stacked images can produce surprisingly clear images of just about any planetary body you care to point your rig at. Just be aware that you'll need to adjust your camera every so often to keep your target in frame, which will mess up some of your exposures. Still, with such a high image count, you can afford to discard lots of bad images and be discriminating. Registax will actually do that for you. 

There are a ton of Registax tutorials out there, Google some and I think you'll be astounded at what you can produce from a thousand or so fuzzy images. 

I'll probably try the video-edit technique. The one setback I'll have is that my telescope doesn't have any tracking technology, so videos will have to be short. First test of this will be on the Moon, for obvious reasons.

Another thing I'll try to is take a bunch of images at one time with my IPhone, upload them to my computer, and use Registax to try and make a good image. Thanks for the help. :)

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MaxPeck    469

What mount are you using?  Can you manually guide it?  You don't have to keep the target dead center when shooting video, just close-ish. I've had planets wander around the screen a bit and never had any problem getting Registax to register the images. 

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MaxPeck    469

@ProtoJeb21 Just to give you an idea about planetary stacking... here is a lunar shot I did.  This is a mere 250 stacked frames, taken at 15FPS.  Stacked this in Registax, and did some prep work in a program called PIPP, which I forgot about but which is great for doing image alignment prior to stacking.

get.jpg

 

Edited by MaxPeck

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NSEP    2909

The Moon got to be my absolute favourite, it is easy to track, and it is not a tiny blurry ball thing. I have no idea how i zoom with my big telescope, so i actually like my mini telescope better.

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Matuchkin    1082

Oh my god! More amateur astronomers like me! :)

Are any of you Cloudynights members?

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_Augustus_    1244
19 minutes ago, Matuchkin said:

Oh my god! More amateur astronomers like me! :)

Are any of you Cloudynights members?

Yep!

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MaxPeck    469

I'm on CN, Stargazers Lounge and AstronomyForum.net. 

Edited by MaxPeck

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Robotengineer    1486
On September 22, 2016 at 5:09 PM, Matuchkin said:

Are any of you Cloudynights members?

I'm on CN, not active right now though. Mostly in the ATM sub, I'm crazy enough to grind my own mirror. 

Edited by Robotengineer

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MaxPeck    469
2 hours ago, Robotengineer said:

I'm on CN, not active right now though. Mostly in the ATM sub, I'm crazy enough to grind my own mirror. 

I respect this.  You sir are hard core.

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