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sagramore

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Everything posted by sagramore

  1. I wish my nights of "getting things a bit wrong" still ended in such a lovely image! Usually I just have cold hands and frustration to take to bed with me....
  2. I would add that you can avoid cutting the draw tube if you are willing to modify the scope to move the primary mirror up the tube a little. There are a couple of us in this thread that did it - it's a reversible modification and works perfectly to bring the focal plane out so the draw tube doesn't protrude into the aperture too much. Sorry I can't find the exact posts but if you are able to search (or scroll through!?!) this thread then at least 2 of us have photos and descriptions of how we did it. Just a thought!
  3. I very much like the right-hand image (harder stretch) as the extra detail for me is worth a lot more than the slight changes in colour. They are both lovely though!
  4. So I hope this kind of post is allowed and I'm not seen to be spamming! I have recently done a lot of re-processing of old data using the advice of people in here. The main difference is having obtained Astronomy Tools v1.6 for Photoshop and matt_baker's advice to touch up in Lightroom as a final step. I think it shows quite a leap in the quality of the images and also made me realise just how much skill there is involved in the post-processing of the data (even more so when the data is as dodgy as mine often is... haha). Anyway, these are all taken using the 130PDS and an unmodified Canon 550D DSLR. They are all using 300 s guided subs (with dithering) via APT and PHD. I hope you like them. I'm quietly pleased with myself M31 Before: M31 After (also with a bit more data added, so not perhaps a 100% direct processing comparison): M42 Before: M42 After: M51 Before: M51 After: EDIT TO ADD: I also have some old data of M1 and of M81/M82 however the new processing hasn't been quite as successful yet. I still need some more attempts at those before I share again!
  5. Here you go! I am not an expert at all but once everything's guiding with PHD2 I have these settings in APT and set it to dither every 2 images. It seems to work for me at least. I also use a 60 second gap between exposures in APT because I used to have some problems with the dither step taking a while, but I'm not sure if that's overkill or not. It usually doesn't make too much difference when I'm on 300 second subs though so I've left it that way.
  6. Hi Susaron - I'm at work at the moment but I'll try and get the settings from my laptop when I get home tonight.
  7. So, I added some more time and had about 5 different attempts at stacking & processing various combinations of my data. I also got hold of Astronomy Tools v1.6 for Photoshop and took matt_baker's advice on final tweaks in Lightroom. All in all I'm quite pleased with this considering my inexperience and the (I think) quite poor raw data I had (lots of LP, high cloud, etc.). Thanks for the encouragement and help on this forum guys! Messier 31 (Andromeda Galaxy) with Messiers 32 and 110 2018-10-30 & 2018-11-02, Didcot, England Gear: Skywatcher 130-PDS with 0.9x coma corrector (585 mm, f/4.5) Skywatcher NEQ6-Pro Synscan Canon EOS 550D (unmodified) and Skywatcher 2" LP filter ZWO ASI120-MC guide camera Skywatcher Startravel 80 guide scope Acquisition & Processing: - AstrophotographyTools (APT) and PHD2 guiding with dithering - 34 x 300s = total 170 minutes @ ISO 800 - 2x20 flats, 16 library darks, library bias - Stacked in DeepSkyStacker and post-processed in Photoshop CC 2018 (with Gradient Xterminator + Astronomy Tools v1.6)
  8. Well, I had another try. It seems that my poor framing and high level clouds caused me problems when processing again. I will have to keep persevering. What I will say is that I have at least improved upon the first try! This is now a total of 120 minutes (30 from previously, and 90 from tonight) and the tutorial & tools helped a lot. I think I might've overdone it a bit to try and get more dust though.... I also tried with just 90 minutes from tonight and I think I really overprocessed this one but there is more detail in the extremities. These are both stacked without darks, so I might try again with the darks sometime this weekend and see if it helps or not.
  9. Amazing results! Also, I just watched that tutorial/walkthrough and have immediately bought Noel Carboni's PS actions (can't believe I didn't have them before!) and once I have (hopefully) more data from tonight, I will be giving my data a full reprocessing using the help there. Thanks again!
  10. Thanks, I will take a look! I did a test with this data actually - one stack with darks from my darks library, and one without darks. I actually found little to no difference, and possibly even lower noise (very slightly) in the stack without darks. I do dither quite hard after every second sub though, so that's probably why. I am starting to lean away from worrying much about darks at ISO800, although perhaps they're more important at higher ISOs?
  11. Yeah, I basically did similar. Everything was set up and working perfectly and the clouds finally went away. I left it to do it's thing thinking it would auto-meridian flip, I came back after 1hr to find it was just stuck at the maximum of the meridian and hadn't flipped, so I lost bout 1 hr of acquisition! I sorted it out, did like you said - reframed as best I could without taking ages over it (I am still awful at framing, something to improve on) - and then after another few subs my secondary fogged up..... I would say I don't know why we put ourselves through it, but I was still quite happy with what I got out of 60 mins of data.... I will share it actually, but hopefully so I can show the improvements later tonight! EDIT TO ADD: I think my colour balance is totally off, and I think this comes from my stacking settings. So that's something I need to work out. I either end up with something that's got a strong hue across the whole image, or I get something with a lack of any colour at all (like this one above). More practice I guess!
  12. Very nice!! A really nice shot that one, I think you've done it justice. I just saw your post from Wednesday and I was about to post my attempts from the same evening but I was plagued by clouds, a failed meridian flip, and then dew so I only managed 1 hr of exposures. I also think my processing is bad so I will hold off posting my poor attempt for now as it is way worse than yours We have really similar equipment by the looks of it. I am hoping to grab a couple more hours on it tonight if the weather holds out though, so watch this space! EDIT: Can I ask what your stacking parameters in DSS are for this? I am shooting the same length subs with a Canon 550D (T2i) and I think my stacking isn't optimal either. Any advice is appreciated.
  13. I've not needed one for the 130-PDS yet! I am sure it'll happen one day though and I will be unprepared....
  14. Hi everyone. I've not posted in a long time and I hope this is the right subforum for it. I have wanted to capture a solar or lunar ISS transit for about 3 years, since I found out it was possible. Thanks to the great website www.transit-finder.com I finally realised my dream yesterday morning. Having stayed with a friend, I took my kit with me, set up the night before, and took the morning off work. At 08:53 BST I managed to capture the 1.2 second ISS transit of the sun and I was stoked. What I only found out earlier today (thanks to a user on Reddit) was that the SpaceX Dragon CRS-15 resupply ship was *just* behind the ISS and heading for rendezvous. With lots of extra processing I can actually see it following behind the ISS in my video! I hope you like the results, I am really pleased with them. Thanks for looking! Full frame (Photoshop colourised) GIF - Link in case the inserted version doesn't work: http://www.cavaye.com/stuff/astro/iss/Colour-Gif.gif A single frame from the video ("natural" colour). The individual frames with two processing techniques showing the transit path of the ISS. (Colourised in Photoshop) Finally - a GIF heavily processed to help show up the (very faint) Dragon module: Link in case the inserted image above doesn't work: http://www.cavaye.com/stuff/astro/iss/Dragon-Gif-3.gif Equipment details: Skywatcher NEQ6 Pro mount and tripod (controlled via Laptop) Skywatcher Skyliner 200P f/6 reflector (the dobsonian tube but mounted on tube rings for the EQ mount) Skywatcher 0.9x reducing coma corrector to give a final focal length of 1080 mm and f/5.4 Canon 550D (T2i) crop-frame DSLR recording 1920x1080 video at 25 frames per second (unfortunately not RAW, I need to change this in the future!). Processing details: Trimmed and converted the .MOV video output using Avidemux. Manually saved individual frames containing the ISS using Media Player Classic - Home Theatre (MPC-HT). Any shots that are colourised were done by modifying levels for each colour channel in Photoshop. GIFs were generated using Photoshop. For the "more processed" image showing each ISS frame I first took a 1 minute video (1500 frames) of just the sun alone and stacked the best 150 of these frames using Autostakkert!2. I then processed the resulting image in Registax 6 using Wavelets. Finally the individual frames containing the ISS were added to the image in Photoshop as layers and merged down using a "darken" layer type.
  15. I'm afraid it can do, yes! That's why so many in here have modified their scopes to fix it. There's destructive ways (sawing, etc.) and non-destructive ways (extension screws to bring the mirror up the tube) and none of them are too difficult. Lots of guides/advice/photos on earlier pages in this thread if they bother you.
  16. Have you made any modifications to your 130PDS at all? If not, this might be the classic "focuser drawtube" problem that we have all faced There is endless discussion regarding it and ways to "fix" it in this thread.
  17. Is everyone having the same awful awful weather as me - given all the processing of old data going on? I haven't had my scope out in anger much this year AT ALL so far....
  18. I have an NEQ6 and with really good polar alignment I could push up to 120-180 s without guiding. I don't think you'll get much better than that without guiding, but with guiding the sky is the limit! This is my setup and you definitely don't have any focus issues. One issue you can face though is that the focus draw tube protrudes a long way into the aperture, which can give your stars a slightly funny shape with a "bite" taken out of them. I performed a relatively simple and reversible (non-destructive) mod to move the primary a little way up the tube and this fixed it for me. This wasn't my idea though, so I take no credit for it - there is a guide on how to do it by one of the other users in this thread a (large) number of pages back. TL;DR - Focus will be fine, but it can be improved even further with a small mod!
  19. Thanks for all the comments and info in this thread - I wasted about an hour of imaging time last night taking pictures of a bit of "empty" sky and scratching my head thinking "darn, this is one faint comet!!" only to find out I was MILES AWAY because Stellarium (PC, Windows) was completely wrong. Found the update button and now it's in the right place (according to other online live sources) so I will try again tonight! Thank the heavens for imaging multiple targets in one night otherwise I'd be one angry comet-gazer this morning!
  20. I had actually never considered that, so thanks for the warning! While I do dismantle the setup between sessions, I generally don't take the scope out of the rings (or remove the guide scope from the rings that are also attached) - tends to be stored as one unit. However there is a chance I'd be moving to use the 200P and forget that this is a problem, so thanks again
  21. Same here! I feel like the focal length of the 130-PDS is more comparable to the ED80 than the 150-PDS is. Especially if you use the Skywatcher 0.9x coma corrector, bringing the FL to 585 mm. In my (biased) opinion it's a nice focal length. I can fit M31 in it nicely with a crop-sensor DSLR but I can still use the same setup to get a half-decent image of something a lot smaller, like M1 or M57. I have had a 130-PDS for over a year now and I have collimated it maybe once or twice? It's a small scope and as such it is held together very firmly and can take some gentle knocks. If you're particularly rough with it then you may need to check collimation more often. The other thing to note is that once you learn how to collimate (30 minutes reading online?) it is a simple process that takes 5 minutes in the future. A lot of people worry about collimating more than they should do I find it a lot more difficult to align the scope/mount and get the guiding working than I do to collimate, and those problems will be the same with any scope! All in all, I am biased, because I have the 130-PDS and I love it. When I weighed up the cost difference between that and the ED80 (even after you pay for the collimator, coma corrector, etc.) it was a no-brainer for me. I like diffraction spikes, although I understand why others don't. I also really dislike chromatic aberration, which you will get some of with the ED80. Those are both personal preferences though and you might completely disagree! I highly recommend you consider the 130-PDS rather than the 150-PDS, it's shorter, lighter, and cheaper. And head over to the 130-PDS showcase thread (link below)! There's hundreds (literally, and 48 PAGES of comments) of examples of images from people who are practically professional with extremely expensive cameras, down to complete noobs (my end of the spectrum) with an unmodified DSLR. It can give some amazing results.
  22. Thanks for the tip - I'm actually moderately red/green colourblind so sometimes those "slight colours" across the whole image are completely invisible to me I will have a play and get my g/f to check it! Haha. EDIT: What about now? I used the "HLVG" plugin for Photoshop. Hasta la vista, green!
  23. Hi all. Some of you may have noticed that I just posted a thread with M45 in it. Well, once M45 went behind my house I didn't want to waste all the time I spent setting the scope up and aligning it for the night so I managed to grab 1 hour on the double cluster, Caldwell 14. I know it's "just" a star cluster, but it's always one of my favourite observing targets and I think it's just simply beautiful to look at and, having learned some new processing techniques, I think it's got some gorgeous colours to it too! Thanks for looking Hamish / sagramore CLICK HERE for a Flickr high resolution version Caldwell 14 - The Double Cluster 2016-11-29, near Swindon, England Gear: * Skywatcher 130-PDS with 0.9x coma corrector (585 mm, f/4.5) * Skywatcher NEQ6-Pro Synscan * Canon EOS 550D (unmodified) and Skywatcher 2" LP filter * ZWO ASI120-MC guide camera * Skywatcher Startravel 80 guide scope Acquisition & Processing: * AstrophotographyTools (APT) and PHD2 guiding with dithering * 12 x 300s = total 60 minutes @ ISO 800 * Flats, library darks (7-12 C), library bias * Stacked in DeepSkyStacker and post-processed in Photoshop CC 2015 with Gradient Xterminator
  24. Thanks, I will take a look! My biggest problem really is that I have to completely dismantle my kit between sessions as well so setting up requires full alignment again so I often can't rely on the goto until it's properly configured!
  25. A plate solver to ensure I frame it correctly each time? If so, no, just eyeballing it I use some harsh dithering anyway so a small amount of movement is actually helpful really. If that's not what you meant, then I am intrigued to know more!
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