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Everything posted by Delboy_Hog

  1. Hi folks, Thanks for dropping in to this post! Having received some very helpful tips on how to get DSS to work (pretty much user error on my part, as I suspected!) I now have 3 separate tiff files of my stacked, widefield data...but no processing software...or knowledge of how to use that processing software even if I had it! I'm sure there's some reasonable (well, useable at least) data in there, so I'd love to know what more experienced hands could do with it. So, would anyone like to have a go for me? Here are brief descriptions and a jpg version of the best I could get out of the data using only the sliders in DSS, so you know roughly what you'd be playing with: File 1: Widefield of Cassiopeia from fairly dark Cornish skies, Canon 1100d, 18-55mm lens @ 18mm. Stack of 70 x 30 second lights, 60 equivalent darks, all at ISO 3200. Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mkhoh3w4bbysrit/1_Untouched_Cornwall_Cassope_tiff.TIF File 2: Widefield of Cassiopeia from not-so-dark Wakefield skies, Canon 1100d, 18-55mm lens @ 18mm. Stack of 30 x 120 second lights, 10 darks, all at ISO 100. Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/96gczdl5mf7l4qb/2_Untouched_wakefield_widefield_cassope_tiff.TIF File 3: Widefield of Andromeda, Canon 1100d, 18-55mm lens @ 55mm. Stack of 50 x 30s lights and around 30 darks, Can't remember the ISO but I think it was 400. Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/f0x4w29m6lojzn4/3_untouched_widefield_M31_tiff.TIF Very grateful to anyone who wants to have a go at these, I'd be fascinated to see what you can create, and whether there is actually anything reasonable in the data, or whether I need to completely rethink how I go about capturing it in the first place! Cheers, Derek
  2. Hi all, Sorry for the slow response, work has taken over again, so I've not had enough spare time. Anyway... Jack, thank you for your very helpful response. That certainly seems like a very sensible folder system, thank you for that! I'm definitely still working on trying to get the right ISO setting for the situation, but hopefully that'll come with experience! GOOD NEWS! I've had some stacking success at last. New version of DSS downloaded and it handles the raw files without a hiccup this time. I've still not been able to get anything useable out of the data that I was talking about further up, (I think the ISO was just too high) but here it is: It's such a shame as I can see LOADS of stars in there, but hey, at least I'll know for next time. Having had the chance to get a bit more data, I have managed to start getting closer to the kinds of results I'm after. Here's an example: Widefield Andromeda, around 30 x 30 second lights and the same number of darks. The jpeg version looks horrific on here, but the tiff file that DSS churned out looks a bit better! So what is that grey dome in this picture? Is it light pollution, or an issue with the camera? Is that kind of thing correctable in processing, or is this data doomed! I think I might try and download GIMP later this week if I get chance, as I hear that's a fairly useful tool for processing. I wonder if I provided a Dropbox link to a couple of widefield tiff files straight out of DSS stacking, whether someone on here might fancy a crack at seeing what they can get out of them?
  3. That's interesting Knight, and good that you can still get that quality of image even with the LP there. And definitely keep us posted on that Andromeda if you put any more data on it! I do like seeing it framed a bit more in widefield. Don't get me wrong, the close-ups where it fills the frame blow my socks off every time, but I do like seeing it with a bit more surrounding sky as you've got it there. Thanks Porky, I hadn't thought about doing that. I must admit I'm still trying to get used to which bits of software can do what with various formats, I must make more of an effort to understand it all! I actually haven't had time to get any further with this yet - work keeps getting in the way. Hopefully I'll get a couple of quiet evenings this week to spend some time on this - it doesn't look like I'll be getting out with scope / camera for a few days, so I should use the time to get more familiar with DSS. Like you say Alan, the processing seems a bit of a dark art - a bit daunting to me at the moment, but I'm sure it'll be ok once I get used to it! I sure hope so anyway... Thanks again all for your helpful responses.
  4. I've just seen your M51 image A.G - That's incredible! I've been thinking that my next step might be an equitorial mount, as this will help me with widefield imaging and some longer exposure stuff with the mak 127 until I can add another scope...and I think seeing that picture has made my mind up!
  5. Cheers AstroFrog, yes, I had to double check the subs and there were a couple of bogeys in there! Nothing too drastic, but a couple of shorter exposures I did to test the skies and a couple of different ISO levels. I don't know whether that would mess it up or whether DSS discounts them, but I've tidied up my sub-filing system now, so hopefully I won't get all muddled up any more! I'll definitely be sticking with it, I love the widefield images that you can get, so I'm determined to master it!
  6. Thanks for your help guys! Great, ok so that version of DSS will get downloaded this evening for sure! Like you John, I expected the final version to look a little darker, even with the noise that will have been generated at ISO 3200, but hopefully when I run through the stacking with the proper version I'll get the result that I'm sure must be lurking in there somewhere! I'd had one successful run through back in April stacking a handful of Orion frames (albeit jpegs) so I know it's possible! One I get the hang of the DSS stage I might start looking into some proper processing software. Knight of Clear Skies, your images are coming on really well! Have you got the camera on your EQ3-2? That Cygnus image is excellent - how dark are your skies? You mention the LP from London, do you have to use a filter for it? Loving that Andomeda too - a few more subs in that and it'll really start to shine! I took a whole bunch of almost identical subs the other night, so that's in the DSS queue as well! I'm limited to 30 second (max) subs at the moment, but it still shows up nicely in that time, so it's a definite target for more work over the coming weeks hopefully! Many thanks again for your help guys - it really is appreciated! Hopefully I'll be back here with a reasonable image before too much longer!
  7. Hi All, I'm just trying to get into the wonderful world of widefield, but I'm having a few issues, particularly with DSS. I’ve little doubt that the issues I’m facing here are entirely down to user error, but grateful for you taking a look and pointing me in the right direction! (Apologies for quality of images on here, I've compressed them so that they fit, but hopefully they'll give you an idea of what I'm on about!) Here's a single frame of my widewield attempt at capturing Cassiopeia and the surrounding skies. It was a 30 second exposure taken at ISO 3200 with Mrs_Hog's Canon 1100d camera, which she kindly lent me when we were in Cornwall back in April. (Due to moving house I've only recently had chance to get the computer set up and get playing with my data). Bit of light pollution in the lower left, and transparency actually not great – when I slide through all of the frames, you can actually see a very thin layer of haze moving slowly across the images – so my first question is: how much do you think that’ll affect the final image? Then there’s a question about my ISO setting. I used ISO 3200, though looking back at a couple of trial shots I did at 1600, would this have been a preferable ISO level to use? There are fewer stars at 1600, but a considerably less background haze / noise. Does it not matter too much if you have a good number of darks etc? Having looked at the many wonderful images on here, most people seem to be using much lower iso. Do you reckon I can salvage anything from using this high iso, or is it destined to be too noisy to use? So then the DSS questions: Firstly: stacking images. When taking the photos, I had the camera produce a jpeg and a CR2 file. When I try and stack the jpeg in DSS, I get a message saying that darks won't work because of lossy compression. Understandable, and no problem. However, if you do continue, does it still try and stack the darks, even though it warns that it won't work? This is the file it produces, approx. 70 x 30s lights and 60 darks. If you peer closely at it, you can see there are plenty of stars in there, and I had been warned that this is how files would come out of DSS, but that there was a way of darkening the background at a later point. Now, when I try and stack the CR2 (raw) files , the final image looks very different. Does anyone know why when I use the CR2 files, it create a small vertical (portrait) sliced version of a stacked image, whereas the stack of jpegs produced a more logical, landscape image? I guess this is user error, because clearly hundreds of you run raw data through DSS regularly without issue! Grateful if anyone could point out where I went wrong!? So from my lurking on here, I get that DSS is not a processing tool, though from a couple of youtube tutorials I found, I understand that moving the sliders can bring out a bit of detail from your image, darken the background etc – something I’m keen to try at the moment, given my lack of any processing-type software. My question is, how do you know what to go with, or what is an accurate representation of what's in your images? The images that seems to produce are a bit crazy, and don’t look a lot like the original frame! With the data I captured, my stack image could look like any of these, depending on what I do with the sliders in DSS: From stacking the jpegs: And from stacking the raw files: So finally, are there any DSS tutorials that you folks would recommend? I'd love to get the hang of this, and am determined to do so! Am I doing something wrong, or was the mistake I made in the data gathering, rather than the stacking? Please do say if none of this rambling makes any sense, but many thanks for any light you can shed on all of this for me!
  8. Great work Jonas. An incredible amount of effort and dedication must have gone into this, and you've created a truly remarkable outcome, so congratulations and thanks for sharing! Dare I ask...what's your next project going to be?!
  9. Ah , thanks all. No Stephen, no bias frames yet, just a single 30s sub. I did take some darks etc so might throw them all together and see what DSS makes of it all! Proflight, I think I'm going to have a crack at that this evening. Even with the ground light here you can see a whole-load of feint stars over there, so I think it might be a good part of the sky to experiment! Can't wait to have a crack at imaging it from dark skies too. Thanks again for your thoughts. I feel like this is the start of a long, very enjoyable, very expensive hobby!
  10. Doh, just realised you can't actually see the other 2 I framed...they're basically the same as the one I enlarged, maybe just a little less bright...
  11. Hi Folks, I've been trying to get to grips with my wife's Canon 1100d, and I've been taking some random shots of the sky with different settings (exposure / iso etc) to get familiar with it all. I'm heading down to the South West in a few days, and figure it would be good to do a few comparison shots between Leeds and the middle of deepest, darkest Cornwall!! My setup is a little unorthodox. It's an 1100d mounted on the back of a Mak 127, tracking the sky on an Alt-Az mount using a gorilla pod to secure it! It's a little sturdier than it looks in the photos, as long you prop it up snuggly against the finderscope, and as long you don't want to image anything too high in the sky, otherwise you risk testing your catching skills when the camera slips of the scope! Last night I was looking at Cassiopeia, and I think by chance I got a very feint double-cluster in the frame too. Might have another crack at this patch of sky and see if I can stack enough subs to pull out a reasonable image. When zooming in to see how round my stars are (or aren't! ) I noticed three insanely blue stars in the frame. They appear in each of the ten or so shots I took of this part of the sky. Looking back over previous images of other parts of the sky, they don't appear. Much as I would love it if there were stars this colour up there, I've not seen any like this before. So is this a trick / fault of the camera, or something else?
  12. Nice image Jake! I'd agree with that James, I think I said somewhere before that I thought I remembered things being a bit more 'crisp' last time around.
  13. It's a very interesting question. I'd always believed you could get away with around 3 or 4 minutes, maybe even a touch more, but then an article in Astronomy Now this month said 90 seconds, if I remember correctly. I think the article was assuming high focal length, fast frame-rate camera and RGB imaging, (though I don't have it to hand to confirm that), so I believe you'd get away with a bit longer to maximise your frame-count. It's top of my list to experiment with this on my next night out. I plan to start with 60 seconds and work my way up to 5 mins or so, and see how they compare.
  14. Lovely images Ralph, there's some really nice detail there!
  15. Great images, lovely detail! We've had some lovely pics on here recently from the bigger scopes, but those must be some of the best from the 9.25 so far this year, well done!
  16. Thanks Amra, that's really helpful to know. Good to know also that they have some data on there to practice with too, as well as my own slightly questionable data bank! . Like you say, getting stuck in and using tutorials is going to be the best way I think - total immersion is probably the best way to go!
  17. That is spectacular Amra! 122 images, wow! How did you find PixInsight to use? I've been tempted to take the plunge myself, but I always end up getting torn between that and other options! I'm just getting started out on this whole deep-space imaging thing, and trying to figure out the best next step to take now that I'm a little more comfortable with DSS. Fantastic image, and look forward to seeing more of your images in the future!
  18. Thanks Richard! I just wish the detail was a little more 'crisp' and less fuzzy! Hopefully some better seeing will help with that!
  19. Yes that's right, exposure, gain (and brightness too I think) were all at maximum, which doesn't usually end well! I think the low altitude of Saturn, the nearby streetlamps and the quality of my 3x barlow means that's pretty much always going to happen unfortunately. You're right about the other camera too, there's plenty more to come from the DMK21. The settings can go significantly higher to enable a brighter image (hopefully without introducing too much noise), so I'll certainly be giving that a go next time out!
  20. Thanks James, I was hoping it was some kind of cloud formation, once I'd seen it on both images, but really wasn't sure. I'm getting there, improving each time which is pleasing, just desperate to have a night over the next few weeks where the conditions are reasonable at least. You're right, I do need to get the hang of Winjupos! The derotation sounds like a really handy tool so I might download it this week and see if I can have a play with it! Many thanks Ralph, I've just taken a look at your pics. The Jupiter you got on the evening before was lovely, you got detail in Ganymede! Fantastic! It's really interesting to see our shots taken at different times to get an impression of how Mars rotates. I still don't know as much about the features of Mars as I'd like to, so I'm grateful for your description, thank you!
  21. Hi folks, I captured a few shots of Mars and Saturn in the early hours of Monday morning. Unfortunately the Saturn images were waaaay too dark and dim to be useable. Even though they looked bright enough on my laptop screen when I play the avis back now, I realise I needed to bump up the settings significantly before I’d be able to create an image recognisable as Saturn! So anyway, boosted by my attempt earlier in the month with the 2x barlow, I thought I’d have a crack with the 3x. Truthfully I was pushing my luck as the seeing was pretty poor, and very few frames actually captured the round disk of Mars. I believe this explains the ‘mist’ of noise around the planet in the images from both cameras! When I ran the DMK21 version through Registax, I noticed a white splodge on the upper right section of the planet itself. Bit frustrating I thought, but then there’s streetlamps everywhere here and I’m using a £9.99 3x barlow of no known brand, so these things happen. But when I processed the SPC900 version taken about 10 minutes later, it cropped up again, and appeared to have moved a distance relative to the other features on the images, in line with Mars’ rotation. Any ideas? In comparing the cameras, I think these confirm the suspicions I’d formed from the Jupiter images I'd managed earlier in the year, that this camera is very strong in good seeing conditions, and picks up a lot more detail in good seeing than the SPC900 does. However, in poor – average seeing, the SPC900 actually does just as good a job really. I guess ultimately any equipment we have is going to be limited by the atmosphere we have to look through... Can't wait to have another crack at these two fascinating targets, hopefully in better seeing, and when I get my settings right!
  22. Hi Mike, Welcome to SGL! I was utterly lost those first few times I tried to align, I have a similar mount to you by the looks of things. I was fortunate that my handset gave me compass directions and an elevation for the object I was looking for in degrees, so with a compass and some markings on my mount, I was able to find things. That was before I found Stellarium though, and as people have already said, I'd highly recommend downloading it, especially as it's free! That'll give you an idea of where the big bright stars are, then it's just a case of pointing the scope at them, and working through the alignment process. Once you've mastered that you'll be fine - stick with it, you'll soon get the hang of it. And if you don't, just shout on here - plenty of helpful folks to share advice. Let us know how you get on?
  23. Very nice! I've been trying to learn how to do this - took a load of images for one at the weekend and need to get it into a video like this. Unfortunately where I am the light pollution is pretty bad, so you can really only see a couple of stars! I like the idea of showing what your other bits of kit were imaging at the end, nice touch!
  24. Holy Moly! Incredible! <low bow>
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