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Everything posted by MikeODay

  1. Yes you do need to send a few sets of measurements for the MPC to check and make sure your measurements are within certain bounds. Once they qualify you they issue the code. The code to use for the qualifying sets is XXX.
  2. Thanks! Although I'm pretty sure that the Pan-STARRS guys don't pay too much attention to the likes of me with my little setup - now if I find a comet one day, that might be different
  3. Back in March I was granted an observatory code ( Q69 ) by the Minor Planet Center ( MPC ) and since then I have been spending all my available telescope time ( which due the weather has admittedly not been very much ) to capturing images of asteroids, that the MPC is interested in recieving data for, and sending in the positions that I have determined. Mostly I have been focused on asteroids that have not been observed/reported on during their current return to visibility. 2014 LA21 was my first after getting my code ... Here I was the first to report astrometry for 2014 LA21 since 2016 - not like discovering a new comet I imagine but still, a small achievement and a nice feeling You may have noticed that I don't as yet supply any brightness data; this is because I have not figured out how I can do this reliably ( most of the asteroids I am chasing are very dim and so my 4 minute exposures tend to spread them a little making them hard to compare to nearby stars ). I have been getting reasonably good position data though, with a "variation to average path" across the samples of sub 1 arcsec ( typically less than 0.5 and sometimes down as low 0.15 ) .... Anyway, I was just thought I would let people know what I have been up to and why you have not seem me latley over on deep sky imaging forum and also, I was wondering if there is anyone else here on Stargazerslounge doing the same thing ...
  4. The great Barred Spiral Galaxy ( NGC 1365 ) in the constellation Fornax ( details and access to full size image here ) A Cluster of Pearls in the Southern Skies ( NGC 3766 " The Pearl Cluster" ) ( details and access to full size image here ) A deep look at Omega Centauri ( NGC 5139 ) ( details and access to full size image here ) The Cat's Paw Nebula ( NGC 6334 ) in Scorpius ( details and access to full size image here ) ............................................... And my favourite for the year ... Carina Nebula in HDR and full colour ( NGC 3372 ) ( details and access to full size image here )
  5. I'm in the shed capturing some more subs of Eta Carinae and there is a moquito in here with me - I can hear it but I can't see the little blighter; I'm sure it's going to get me  :eek:

  6. The Great Barred Spiral Galaxy in Fornax ( NGC 1365 ) ( image details here ) The Silver Coin or Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) ( image details here ) A Peculiar Galaxy in Centaurus, Centaurus A ( NGC 5128 ) ( image details here ) A Million Stars in the Deep South, The Omega Centauri Cluster ( NGC 5139 ) ( image details here ) ( a version of this image was selected as NASA's APOD for 11th July 2017 ) The Fighting Dragons of Ara ( NGC 6188 ) ( image details here )
  7. Hi Mark please see below links to single dark frames: 5300, 240sec, ISO250 : https://www.dropbox.com/s/fu27b1tx5wbu00c/D5300_dark_240s_250iso__030.nef?dl=0 7500, 240sec, ISO400: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cymscuakzpcu9mp/D7500_240s_400iso__0030.nef?dl=0 Cheers Mike
  8. I have taken the master darks, added an offset, subtracted the master bias files, scaled the gains so that the D7500 @ 400ISO is roughly equiavlent to the D5300 at 250ISO, and shifted them so that the medians line up with the following results. Master Darks ( 100% crops of the centre, identical screen transfer function applied via histogram tool ) D5300: D7500: Histograms @ 1x vertical scale: D5300: D7500: Histograms at 23x vertical scale: D5300: D7500: I have positioned the the tab marks at the bottom of the histograms to encompass 99% of pixels in the relevant master dark. That is, 99% of pixels are in the range: D5300 : -8 to + 16 D7500: -4 to + 97 So, I guess I might say that ( in the range ~ -8 to 8 about the median) the D5300 has more cool and slightly warm pixels than the D7500 but the D500 has way more very warm and hot pixels. For example, in the inital examination ( from the initial post above ) the D5300 had ‘only’ 6000 pixels above 44 whereas the D7500 had 140,000 above 44. ( note that whilst subtracting the bias from the offset D5300 master dark did make a difference, the difference was not as large as I anticipated in a previous post ).
  9. Mark, Perhaps it would be more appropriate to add an offset to the master darks before I subtract the bias frames so as to prevent clipping - would that be a better representation of the non-random signal in the master darks that is due to fixed pattern variations in the thermal response of the pixels across the sensor ( what I have been calling “thermal pattern noise”)? What do you think? Cheers Mike
  10. Hey Mark The problem I have is that with an un-cooled camera, quickly changing night time temperatures and no on-sensor temperature sensor it is practically impossible for me to accurately match darks. So, ideally, I want a camera with very low thermal pattern noise ( as opposed to true random noise that I can reduce somewhat with more subs ). My thinking was that the calibrated master darks show that both cameras have thermal pattern noise but I thought they indicated that the level of that signal in the D5300 is much less (?). So I do not really understand your comment that “ Your bias subtracted darks are an anomaly because of the large number of clipped values”. I thought that the histogram of the bias calibrated master darks shows the uncorrected pattern noise that will be present in the bias corrected lights. That is, in my current workflow, I have not found it necessary to use a master dark with the D5300. So I thought that the bias corrected darks indicate how much worse off I will be if use a D7500 without using a master dark. I guess another way of looking at is this... The D7500 has an almost constant value across the sensor in the master bias frame ( with only a couple of ADU variation along the bottom edge ). So, subtracting the master bias ( other than shifting the peak ) has very little impact on the master dark. However, the D5300 master bias has significant variation of values ( ie. a significant pattern in the bias frame ) and subtracting this from the master dark has significant impact. That is, the histogram of the D5300 master dark is made up of a significant ( mostly temperature independent ) bias component + the temperature dependent thermal pattern noise. Subtracting the master bias leaves a relatively small thermal pattern component. Whereas, the histogram of the D7500 master dark is essentially all thermal pattern noise. That is why I thought the calibrated master darks were a good indication of the relative levels of thermal pattern noise in the two sensors. But I guess I am only focused in my analysis on the fixed position signals showing up in the bias and dark frames ( the former because I can simply remove them and the latter because I can’t ). What do you think, is my approach sound or is there a better way of trying to determine which sensor will have the greater problem with patterns in the thermal noise signals? Thanks Mike
  11. Ok some more histograms ... unfortunately I think I might have deleted some of the files so I these are at different ISO values ( 250 for the D5300, 400 for the D7500 ) These have not been bias corrected. D5300: D7500: D5300: D7500: Note that a significant portion of the left hand part of the histogram for the D5300 is due to bias and is removed by subtracting the master bias ( refer histogram in original post ). This is not so much the case with the D7500. The D7500 histogram clearly shows the very large number of ‘warm pixels’ that, whilst randomly distributed across the sensor, are in fixed positions in each frame and result in significant ‘pattern noise’.
  12. Thank you for your reply Mark. I was focused on trying to determine the extent of the differences in the pattern noise and this is why I was looking at the relatively brighter portions of the master darks. I have been less concerned with the true random noise in each sub as I can deal with this by taking more subs but the pattern in that noise is far more difficult to address. I will dig out and post a different view of the histogram with a lower zoom of the Y axis.
  13. I read somewhere that the D7500 uses a two stage amplifier from around 400iso up. In order to see if this was playing a part I repeated the test at 250iso. The result was essentially the same - at around 20deg C, the D5300 has much less thermal pattern noise than the D7500.
  14. In an earlier post I examined the noise in single dark frames over a range of exposure times. My conclusion was that the Nikon D7500 was a lower noise camera than the D5300. This was also backed up by an examination of master bias frames that again strongly favoured the D7500. However ... The first image I attempted to produce with the D7500 exhibited very strong streaks in the noise. I had been in the habit of not using dark subtraction with the D5300 as it has very low thermal pattern noise. Accordingly, I again only used bias and flat frame calibration in the workflow that produced the above images. Whilst the streaks are due to patterns in the noise being spread across the image due to errors in the application of dithering during tracking, it did indicate that the D7500 did have significant thermal pattern noise. I found this surprising because the noise in individual frames ( when looked at in isolation ) seems to be completely random. I thought that perhaps my memory had failed me and maybe the D5300 has the same level of pattern noise but my memory was being tricked. That is, all my recent images with the D5300 were taken at lowish air temperatures ( ~5 deg or so ) whereas the image above was captured on warm nights ( low 20s ) and so maybe the D5300 would be just as bad at higher temperatures. To test this I produced bias corrected master darks for both the D7500 and D5300 from images all taken at around 20 deg or just over. The images below have all been stretched using the same screenTransferFunction applied to the Pixinsight histogram tool. The results are striking ... D5300 master dark ( 47 subs, bias corrected ) - red channel: D7500 master dark ( 281 subs, bias corrected ) - red channel: D5300 master dark 100% centre crop - red channel: D7500 master dark 100% centre crop - red channel: And the histograms of the full size images ( red channels ) ... D5300 master dark ( red channel ) histogram: D7500 master dark ( red channel ) histogram: The Pixinsight statistics tool calculates the following: D5300: mean 2.3, standard deviation 9.3 D7500: mean 7.5, standard deviation 20.8 ------------- Analysis: The images and histograms clearly show that the D7500 has higher pattern noise than the D5300. In particular, from the histograms, 0.1% ( 6,286 ) of D5300 pixels are more than 44 ADU whereas, for the D7500 this figure is 27 times as great at 2.7% ( 141,305 pixels ). Furthermore, the master dark for the D5300 was only produced using 47 images -v- 281 for the D7500 so I would expect that this difference would be even higher with more D5300 frames. On the other hand, whilst not shown in the histograms above, my D5300 does have more 'very hot' pixels than the D7500 ( 579 pixels greater than 400 ADU -v- 10 pixels greater than 400 ADU ). However, these hot pixels are very easily removed via dithering during tracking and sigma clipping when integrating. The very large number of warm pixels however are very difficult to remove as dithering just places different warm pixels on top of each other. I went back and examined the 'random' noise seen in the individual D7500 dark frames ... and yes they do look random when seen individually, however, when flicking between a number of frames it is clear that the 'random' pattern is repeated in each frame! Conclusion: My D7500 has very significant thermal pattern noise, albeit randomly distributed in a fixed pattern. ............ Next steps (?) - I could use in dark subtraction during calibration to reduce the impact of pattern noise - however, as my camera is not cooled and the night's temperatures are constantly changing, any master dark will not closely align to the actual thermal pattern noise and as such dark subtraction may help but will not solve the problem - Using in-camera dark subtraction ( Nikon's long exposure noise reduction feature ) would almost completely remove the pattern noise from each frame. However, due to the extra random noise being introduced by subtracting another noisy dark frame from each light frame, as well as the reduction in total light frames by 2, the resultant images will suffer from higher levels of random noise. So whilst this would be an improvement with respect to the pattern noise, it is not a complete solution. - Third option, sell the D7500 and go back to using the D5300 ...
  15. Sir John Herschel at the Cape of Good Hope Having spent the years 1825 to 1833 cataloguing the double stars, nebulae and clusters of stars visible from Slough, in the south of England, John Herschel, together with his family and telescopes, set sail from Portsmouth on the 13th of November 1833 bound for Cape Town. As detailed below, in an extract from his book, the family enjoyed a pleasant and uneventful voyage and arrived some 5 months later at Table Bay with all family and instruments in good condition. Reading on however, one might very well think that it might not have ended so well had they but left shortly after ... “... (iii.) Accordingly, having- placed the instrument in question, as well as an equatorially mounted achromatic telescope of five inches aperture, and seven feet focal length, by Tulley, which had served me for the measurement of double stars in England; together with such other astronomical apparatus as I possessed, in a fitting condition for the work, and taken every precaution, by secure packing, to insure their safe arrival in an effective state, at their destination, they were conveyed (principally by water carriage) to London, and there shipped on board the Mount Stewart Elpliinstone, an East India Company's ship, Richardson,Esq. Commander, in which, having taken passage for myself and family for the Cape of Good Hope, we joined company at Portsmouth, and sailing thence on the13th November, 1833, arrived, by the blessing of Providence, safely in Table Bay, on the 15th January, 1834, and landed the next morning, after a pleasant voyage, diversified by few nautical incidents, and without seeing land in the interim. It was most fortunate that, availing himself of a very brief opportunity afforded by a favorable change of wind, our captain put to sea when he did, as we subsequently heard that, immediately after our leaving Portsmouth, and getting out to sea, an awful hurricane had occurred from the S. W. (of which we experienced nothing), followed by a series of south-west gales, which prevented any vessel sailing for six weeks. In effect, the first arrival from England, after our own, was that of the Claudine, on the 4th of April, with letters dated January 1st.(iv.) ...” “Result of Astronomical Observations, Made During the Years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8, At the Cape of Good Hope ... “ by Sir John Herschel, 1847 John Herschel rented a property and set up the twenty foot reflector near Table Mountain, at a site, that was then, just outside of Cape Town. The Twenty Feet Reflector at Feldhausen, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, 1834 This telescope was made by Herschel in England and transported, along with his other instruments, by ship to Cape Town and then inland to Feldhausen. The telescope is a Newtonian reflector, built to William Herschel’s design, with a focal length of 20 feet and clear aperture of 18 1/4 inches ( f13 ). The location of the telescope was established by careful survey to be: lat 33d 55’ 56.55”, long 22h 46’ 9.11” W ( or 18.462 deg E ). The site of the great telescope was memorialised by the people of Cape Town by the erection of a granite column that is still there today. ............. Observations of the Sculptor Galaxy Amongst his many thousands of observations made from Cape Town, of nebulae, clusters of stars, double stars, the sun, etc., Sir John Herschel records that he observed V.1 ( CH10 - Caroline’s Nebula - the Sculptor Galaxy ) during two different “sweeps” and gave it the number 2345 in his South African catalogue. Sweeps: 646 - 20th November 1835; 733 - 12th September 1836 At the latitude of Feldhausen, and on these dates, the Sculptor galaxy would have been at an altitude around 80 degrees above the northern horizon when near the meridian ( which was where the telescope was pointed during Herschel’s “sweeps” ). The sight afforded from this location, with the Sculptor Galaxy almost at the zenith, must have been significantly brighter and clearer than the Herschels had thus far been granted from its location way down near the horizon south of Slough. .......... Other Obsevations by John Herschel from Cape Town Also observed by John Herschel in 1835 were the people and animals that inhabit the moon ... The Great Moon Hoax of 1825 - “Lunar Animals and other Objects, Discovered by Sir John Herschel in his Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope ... “
  16. Below is a comparison between single dark frames taken with the Nikon D7500 and D5300 with exposure durations varying from 1 sec to 240 sec ( my usual main light frame exposure ) all at ISO400. Firstly a graph of the standard deviation of the noise in the dark frames versus exposure time: The standard deviation of the noise is a fairly constant 2 ADU less for the D7500 compared to the D5300 ( pretty much the difference in the read noise between the two ) However, the difference is not just in absolute terms but also in the quality of the noise ... Below are the dark frames - ranging from 240 sec exposures at the top to 1 sec at the bottom: D7500 D5300 The D5300 dark frames clearly show the pattern in the read noise ( banding down the bottom ) and also have far more chrominance noise compared to the D7500. At 240 seconds ( the main exposure I have been using ) the difference is starkly different; the D7500 produces images with much lower noise that is significantly more even and random and hence more likely to be reduced during integration.
  17. The Nikon D5300 has a well-earned reputation as one of the lowest noise DSLR cameras used for Astrophotography. Now that I have a new Nikon D7500, I was keen to see how it compared to the D5300 in terms of the level of read noise and the extent to which that read noise is non-random ( and thus needs to be removed using a Master Bias frame to prevent it summing up during image integration). So here goes ... ......... A single bias frame Nikon D5300: ISO400, 1/4000th second: This may look pretty bad but really the extreme stretch is bringing out the very small variations across the frame: Standard Deviation: 3.53 ADU ( note: in this context, 3.53 ADU means 3.53 "units" on a real number scale ranging from 0 to 16,383 ( ie. a real conversion of a 14 bit digital scale )) The master bias frame looks like this: Nikon D5300: ISO400, 1000 x 1/4000th sec frames Standard deviation: 0.48 ADU The bands at the bottom are each 1 ADU brighter than the one above. Now for the D7500 ... A single bias frame from the Nikon D7500: ISO400, 1/4000th second: It is immediately clear that the single bias frame is cleaner. The statistics confirm this: Standard Deviation: 1.37 ADU And the master bias ... Nikon D7500: ISO400, 1000 x 1/4000th sec frame Standard deviation: 0.07 ADU The band at the bottom is 1 ADU brighter than the background. The improvement is very obvious Std. Deviation single bias frame: 1.37 versus 3.53 Std. Deviation master bias ( 1000 frames ): 0.07 versus 0.48 In graphical form ... Conclusion: The read noise in a single frame from the D7500 is around 40% of that in one from the D5300. This should give me greater flexibility to reduce exposure times and still ensure that the read noise is only an insignificant component of the overall noise. I will need to consider further the impact of the very low level of pattern noise in the Master Bias; it is so low that I will think about whether or not I still need to calibrate my lights with a Master Bias ( particularly for long exposures when the noise is dominated by light pollution and thermal noise ).
  18. It was love at first sight when I first laid eyes on the gorgeous noise curves of my dear Nikon D5300; young and beautiful with a great body and a large sensor, I was smitten. Now, well, what can I say... my roving eye has spied a new beauty; younger with heaps of energy that should go all night and , whilst I do prefer larger sensors, I can’t stop thinking about the noise curves hidden beneath that lovely new body... I struggled with my guilt for ages, I really did, but the time has come - I’m dumping the D5300 for the new love of my life; the Nikon D7500.
  19. Observations of the Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) by William and John Herschel ......... Part 2. Observations of "Caroline's Galaxy" by Sir John Herschel, 1830's Sir John Herschel, the only child of Mary Baldwin and Sir William Herschel, was born in 1792 when his father was in middle age and already famous as one of world's leading astronomers. Having excelled in school, and no doubt inspired by his famous elders, John Herschel decided upon a career as a 'man of science' and set out to pursue a wide range of interests; with one particular focus being a continuation of the study of the heavens commenced by his father and aunt, Caroline Herschel. In 1820, with the assistance of his father, John Herschel supervised the construction of a new telescope at Slough in England. As described in the extract below ( from a paper presented to the Royal Society in 1826, titled "Account of some observations made with a 20-feet reflecting telescope ... " ), the telescope had a polished metal mirror with clear aperture of 18 inches, focal length of 20 feet and was modelled on the same design created by his father. It is this telescope, in the 1820’s and early 30’s, following the death of his father and the return of his aunt Caroline to Hanover, that John Herschel used to 'sweep' the night sky and extend the catalogue of nebulae and clusters of stars that was published by his father ( see W. Herschel's Catalogue of One Thousand new Nebulae and Clusters of Stars ). On the 1st of July 1833, having complied sufficient observations, John Herschel presented to the Royal Society an updated list of the positions and descriptions of the Nebulae and Clusters of Stars that he had thus far observed. As noted in the introduction to the paper published in the Philosophical Transactions, he had planned to wait before publishing until he had complied a fully comprehensive general catalogue of objects visible from the south of England. However, due to his expectation of “several more more years additional work” needed to complete the task and his assessment that he now was in a position to address, at least in part, the then current “... want of an extensive list of nebulae arranged in order of right ascension ...”, he elected to present his list, “ ... simply stating the individual results of such observations as I have hitherto made ... “. It was not until October 16, 1863, some thirty years later, that Sir John would deliver to the Royal Society his General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars. As well as introducing many objects that had not previously been recorded, Sir John’s list of 1833 included a re-examination of, and in some cases a small correction to, the positions of many of the deep sky objects observed by his father and noted down by his aunt. One of these re-visited objects was, unsurprisingly, the large and bright nebula discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783 and recorded in Sir Williams’s catalogue as V.1 / CH 10 ( object number one, of class five ( very large nebulae ) / Caroline Herschel #10 ). In total, John Herschel records around 2500 observations of nebulae and clusters of stars in his 1833 paper; with observation #61 being V.1, the “ Sculptor Galaxy “ . The measured position of V.1is given in RA and the angle from the north celestial pole ( all reduced to epoch 1830.0 ). The description can be interpreted by reference to the legend in the paper. Thus, “ A vL mE vB neb “ becomes “ A very large, much extended, elliptic or elongated, very bright nebula “. He also notes that in addition to this observation, #61, noted down from sweep #306, V.1 was also observed in sweep #292, “but no place was taken”. The figure to which he refers , figure 52, is included towards the back of his paper and is a sketch he made of the Sculptor Galaxy. to be continued ...
  20. Observations of the Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) by William and John Herschel The very large and bright 'nebula' discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783, that we now know as the Sculptor Galaxy, was observed a number of times by her 'dear brother' Sir William Herschel and by her 'beloved nephew' Sir John Herschel, Baronet. Some of these observations were recorded and published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and, with respect to those by Sir John in South Africa, in the book of Astronomical Observations at the Cape of Good Hope. ......... Part 1. Observation of the 'class V nebula', H V.1, by Sir William Herschel, 1783 In 1782, with the fresh patronage of King George III, William Herschel, together with his sister Caroline, undertook the not inconsiderable task of transferring his astronomical equipment from Bath to Datchet ( near Windsor ) in England. Shortly afterwards, in 1983, Sir William began a "sweep of the heavens" with the very large Newtonian telescope of his design and construction. With this mighty telescope's twenty foot focal length and clear aperture of a little over eighteen and half inches, William was able to see fainter objects and smaller detail than any other astronomer of that time. ( source: The Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel, Vol.1 ) ...... On the 30th of October, 1783, in the course of one of his "sweeps" with the twenty-foot telescope, Sir William Herschel observed Caroline's 'nebula' and noted down ( or perhaps more likely, dictated to Caroline ) a description of what he saw and a reference to its position relative to a 4th magnitude star in the Piscis Austrainus constellation, #18 Pis. Aust. ( with reference to Flamsteed's Catalogue ( or HD 214748 , HIP 111954 as we might call it )). Over the course of the next three years, Sir William would go on to view the Sculptor Galaxy a total of seven more times; as recorded in his paper "Catalogue of One Thousand New Nebulae and Clusters of Stars", presented to the Royal Society on the 27th of April 1786. ( Source ) Sir William's somewhat cryptic notes can be translated by reference to the key provide in his paper and doing so reveals the following: Class: V. ( very large nebula ) Number: 1 Observed ( by WH ): 30 Oct 1784 Reference star: 18 Piscis Austrainus ( Flamsteed's Catalogue; the best reference for the time - we might use epsilon Pis. Aust. or HD 214748 / HIP 111954 ) Sidereal direction rel. to star ( following or leading ): following star Sidereal time rel. to star: 128 min 17 sec Declination direction rel. to star: north of star Declination amount rel. to star: 1deg 39min Observed: 8 times ( up until April 1786, the date of the paper ) Description: - cB: "confidently bright" - mE: "much extended" - sp: "south preceding" - nf: "north following" - mbM: "much brighter middle" - size: 50' x 7 or 8' " CH" denotes that it was discovered by his sister Caroline Herschel The note he refers to expands on details of Caroline's discovery ... ...............................................
  21. New update to blog entry:

    Discovery by Caroline Herschel 1783 - Sculptor Galaxy

    Added a text introduction and a sketch of the 'nebula' as observed in the 20' telescope at Slough by Sir John Herschel around 1825-33

  22. Defn: First World Problem

    16GB of memory is not enough to integrate 273 x 6016x4016 32bit images in PixInsight without thrashing the hard drive :hmh:

    1. Uranium235


      You could try stacking them in groups of 10 - and then stacking those groups?

    2. MikeODay


      Cheers, yes, I think I will have to split them up next time.  Eventually it finished -although it took a while :) 

    3. Uranium235


      S'alright, just push the button and go have your dinner :) Thats what I did when trying to run actions on a 1.5gb 100mpx image...lol.

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