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Posts posted by alaskacam

  1. Hello.. I recently went through a divorce and move that found me selling off all my astronomy gear.  I'd like to get a setup again for mainly backyard visual observing and some astrophotography.  I'm looking at a tripod, mount, scope combo, so things are matched up.  I had several scopes in the past, all the way up to a Takahashi TOA-150B, on a pier, in a fixed observatory.  I understand a lot about astrophotography, but this new scope will be 80%-90% visual.  I'm looking at 9-11" SCTs and maybe around a 4" refractor.  I'd be interested in constructive guidance as a lot of the blogs I see are mainly flaming on one company or another for various issues.  Pros and cons on portability, field of view, mount quality, contrast, sharpness, distortions, collimation issues, etc.   As I want to do some photography and don't want to mess with a wedge, I'll likely stick to a GEM style mount.  Thanks in advance...


  2. My first DSLR I used in astro (4 years ago) was an un-modded 350D. As a couple of the others said, the Horsehead is a bad target for that setup. I had similar results. Try some other objects that aren't dim emission nebula. I agree with Olly, the Pleiades would be great. Maybe try M42 to get things sorted out as the Pleiades is a challenge at our latitude (I'm in Oz as well). Clear skies.. :p

  3. Thanks for all the comments. Attached is the color version. I need some advice with the Ha in RGB shots. If I use the Ha subs as the Red channel it makes the Flame nebula look redder than it should be as that nebula has a more orange or yellowish tint in natural RGB colors. What I did here is just stack the Ha and Red subs together for a slightly improved red master frame. The Flame is still a bit red and the dusty details in the Ha are somewhat lost or muted. Should I be using a more sophisticated process like I did for this shot of the SMC?

    Stargazers Lounge - alaskacam's Album: Galaxies - Picture

    In that one I used pixel math in PixInsight to help Ha pull out the nebulosity in the red channel. It worked well, but I was afraid that it wouldn't with such a Ha dominated area like the Horsehead. Thanks.. Rob


  4. Dave.. It's the standard Ha filter that comes with the Baader filter set sold with the SBIG STL. I'm not sure how wide the band pass is on this filter. When I finally make the leap to the full narrowband set I'll probably get the Astrodon filters, but still reading up as they can be quite pricy. I'm going to get the remote guide head set up on a second scope before I get the new filters.

  5. Thanks guys for all the responses. I had my Tak mount in a dome and it is well aligned. A 30 minute guided sub is crisp, at least with the internal guider. That may change a bit with a separate scope/guider. I'm leaning towards the 5nm Astrodons, but still looking around. I have a Baader Ha that came with the filter set and can see the challenges with using the internal auto guider with anything other than very bright stars in the field. In decent seeing conditions, I prefer most of my subs are unbinned. With my scope / ccd combination, I can take advantage of the unbinned resolution, most of the time. If I'm adding to Lum subs then 2x2 is usually ok. Thanks again....

  6. Hello. I'm exploring getting into narrowband photography. In looking at the various Astrodon filters available there seems to be 3nm and 5nm filters to choose from. I'm assuming that this is the width of the wavelength band that gets passed through. Any pros or cons between the two would be appreciated. Thanks.. Rob

  7. First clear night in 18 days and my first try with the Ha filter. I have an auto guiding CCD, so keeping the guide star visible through the Ha filter is tricky. This is from 5 x 10 min subs in each L, R, G, B, Ha. Used PixInsight to help with the Ha channel.


  8. Thanks guys.. Appreciate all the feedback. As for the black clipping, I need to save separate images just for the jpgs, I guess. You can see a hint of light in the full sized jpg and the background in the fts and tiff files are noticeably not black. For some reason, converting to a small jpg on this site the background always goes black.. :)

  9. Thanks guys.. @RAC, I have a Tak TOA-150B. Overkill for living in light pollution at sea level, but I love it.. I'm finding the mountain of lights, darks, flats, etc. for the LRGB process a bit overwhelming so I'm trying to standardize a bit. This shot had 8 x 10 min Lums at 1x1 binning and the RGB were all 8 x 5 minute 2x2 subs each. I did all the reduction, aligning and stacking with Nebulosity and the final tweaks in PixInsight. For some reason my reduction and stacking in PixInsight generates far worse shots than using Nebulosity. I'm guessing that there is something wrong with the settings or my workflow in PixInsight as I'm just getting familiar with it.

  10. Using this object to get used to shooting in LRGB, vs my old one-shot color ccd. Plus, I'm just starting to use PixInsight. Ouch.. 9 x 10 min L, 9 x 5 min RGB. It seems a bit over saturated and I'm not that happy with the color blooms on some of the stars. That's just lots of newbie mistakes in processing. I am happy with the detail however.


  11. My previous imaging was with a ST-4000XCM and I used Lumicon's Deep Sky Filter in the optical train. I live in a medium sized city and it helped me pull out some of the fainter details in some of the shots. I'm now starting to use a STL-11000M with the Bader set of RGB,L (w/ IR and UV block) and Ha. Obviously, shots with the Ha filter are so narrowband that light pollution is not likely an issue. Should I have the Deep Sky filter in the optical train with the LRGB shots? The way it's rigged up, the Deep Sky filter will be in front of all shots or not there at all. Looking for some advice if the Deep Sky filter is still needed, like it was with my one-shot color camera and if there are any downsides of having it in. Thanks in advance.. Rob

  12. Thanks for the responses. I have a trial version of PixInsight. Note it took them 10 days to send me the trial download after I applied online, so be patient if you are going this route. I spent six hours today (wife not impressed) working through my first image with the PixInsight tutorials. I must say that I'm quite impressed, but feel like I know 1% of what it can do.... I saw enough to convince me to muddle my way through more. Lots of features and processing that I didn't have with Nebulosity.

  13. I like this one a little better than the last one I posted. This time I used the Takahashi TOA Reducer and the Lumicon Deep Sky Filter to help with the light pollution. The reducer helped frame this big nebula better and the filter helped bring out some of the detail on the edges. It's a stack of 6 x 20 minute color subs.

    Clouds drifted through the shot a few times but this nebula is so bright I couldn't see much (if any) impact on them.


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