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About ramdom

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  1. That's a really beautiful and colourful image - it's a piece of art! --Ram
  2. Total integration: 1080 minutes/18 hours (72 x 5m for S2/red + 60 x 5m for Ha/green + 84 x 5m for O3/blue). Camera: QHY163M (16mp mono) CMOS cooled to -15 degrees C. Telescope: Takahashi FC100DF Steinheil fluorite doublet apochromat refractor @ f/4.9. Reducer: Takahashi FC-35 2". Mount: Paramount MyT. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3, 3nm S2. Software: Sharpcap, PixInsight, Nebulosity, Photoshop CC. (Minimal processing.) Image resized to 20% for upload to the forum which results in pixellation artifacts. Full sized image is here: http://ram.org/images/space/scope/ I really wanted to do a widefield image that grouped a bunch of my favourite objects, the beautiful Bubble, the open cluster M52, and the underappreciated nebula NGC7538. Each of these would've been better done in one of my bigger scopes, but I decided to get them all in with my 4" Takahashi in order to better capture the surrounding nebulosity. There's actually even more nebulosity in the bottom---enough to make for a second panel---which someday I hope to get to). The other issue is that this was done over six days, with each filter having two sets of data. I sometimes wonder if less is more since in the livestacked images, one day's session turned out to look better than the other. So if I used the best day for each filter, I'd be using a smaller number of total images but I think the image produced may be slightly better. Something to do on a rainy day I suppose but I really don't like to spend too much time on processing. I'm currently in Thailand with my ETX80 and I'd like to finish my Messiers but it's the monsoon season and it's very cloudy here. --Ram PS: When I put in the link, it seems to embed the image in a better way in the preview than the manually resized version below, but then the link shows up broken. Here's another attempt.
  3. Hi all, these are my narrowband versions of the IC1396 aka Elephant's Trunk Nebula (technically IC1396A). Acquisition details are at the bottom. I couldn't see this image in Stellarium so I didn't realise how large it was with my FC100DF setup but I was itching to image something with this scope and so I decided to go for it. I was able to capture the Elephant's Trunk region in the greater IC1396 nebula but if I had used my SV70T I'd have gotten the whole thing. I'm still looking for some good targets to image with this scope since I find it to be just the right size to take out the whole setup (with EFW and camera attached) and move it in and then put it back. It's the ideal sized scope (the FS128 is too big especially since I won't be around the entire summer and the SV70T has a nice widefield but it's 30mm less aperture). I'm now using dso-browser to plan out all my imaging session and hopefully some nice targets will pop up for the FC100DF. In any event, there are two images of the Elephant's Trunk region. The first is my attempt to creating a Hubble-like palette and the second is close to the original SHO (where the Ha looks very green) but I thought it looked good also as is. I'd appreciate comments on which image you prefer and any other comments/criticisms. Unlike my previous images, I dialed back the gain a lot so the stars don't appear as saturated during imaging (but I did end up choosing some bright colours). Thanks for looking! --Ram ACQUISITION DETAILS Elephant's Trunk Nebula IC1396A (c-sho). Total integration: 660 minutes/11 hours (48 x 5m for S2/red + 36 x 5m for Ha/green + 48 x 5m for O3/blue). Camera: QHY163M (16mp mono) CMOS cooled to -15 degrees C. Telescope: Takahashi FC100DF Steinheil fluorite doublet apochromat refractor @ f/4.9. Reducer: Takahashi FC-35 2". Mount: Paramount MyT. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3, 3nm S2. Software: Sharpcap, PixInsight, Nebulosity, Photoshop CC. Images resized to ~20% - full sized images are at: http://ram.org/images/space/scope/1...._sho.v0221.jpg http://ram.org/images/space/scope/1....96_sho.v01.jpg https://www.astrobin.com/users/ramdom/
  4. Hi David, yeah, the QHY163M sensor is the same as the one in the ASI1600MM and while I've had dew across various pieces of glass during some of my nights, the camera's sensor so far at least has never dewed up. Also the DDR buffer lets me download at the max rate possible without any lag (not sure if that's due to the memory or not but it definitely seems to be working well performance wise). The QHY I believe also has a desiccant tablet and I'll keep the one year time frame in mind but I've never needed to use it. I'm looking to buy a OSC for next year perhaps, if my DSLR continues to give me grief, and I was thinking of one of the ZWO cameras, again mainly just for variety as you state. Also the ZWO cameras appear to be better supported in TheSkyXPro on the Mac but that's a minor quibble I have about this camera (the X2 driver should be coming soon on the Mac). --Ram
  5. Hi Gorann, no, there was no diagonal used - the camera with nosepiece was inserted into the 1.25" diagonal adapter at the rear of the SCT. This way I can remove my camera and insert it back without screwing and unscrewing via a t-adapter (which I agree is more secure - I just didn't do it because I didn't have faith that an SCT could produce a nice image). So because I did this, my distance wasn't the required 146mm between the field flattener and the camera's sensor and so my focus looks off. Olly, I think that's a good idea - do the stretches separately and I've been able to use masks on this target to make the stars look nice and round (and tight) but then I loose parts of the galaxy so doing this separately is probably a good idea. When I do this I can see that my focus isn't perfect but I can remove out the offending bits. I have a Bahtinov mask for a couple of my refractors but not for the SCT and I agree I need to get one. Thanks to all who commented. --Ram
  6. I was inspired by Photogav's colour image of this target and decided to reprocess the data I had after learning that there are these little filaments in this galaxy that are one of its highlights. I learnt a little about Multiscale Median Transform in PI to make the middle band and the filaments stand out more. I probably overdid it a bit (the ideal image may be a mix of the two) but given various self-imposed handicaps, to me this illustrates the power of the SCT to produce more detailed images (which until now I didn't think was possible). So the data to produce detail with an SCT is there but it requires some processing to bring it out. This is just the cropped version focussing only on the galaxy. The full image is at: http://www.astrobin.com/319519/C/ --Ram
  7. wimvb, cfpendock, thanks. Yes, the artifact on the right is due to a reflection caused by the flat field lens on back of the EdgeHD. I was being lazy and didn't have the right distance between that lens and the camera's sensor (146 mm) and I just inserted a 1.25" nosepiece into the 1.25" diagonal adapter. The reflection is barely perceptible when the data was being collected and only showed up when I stretched the image. I tried to remove it using masks in PI which also enabled me to reduce the stars (I still have the project going) and while that image does look a bit better, it looks a bit too even/clean in that region so you can still see it but it's just not as visible. So I decided to be honest about its presentation. The other problem I have is that I don't have a microfocusser on the EdgeHD so getting the precise focus relative to my refractors has been a challenge for me. I would like to add RGB or even narrowband data to it if it is there. I'm currently working on an M33 mono image overlaid with Ha, S2, and O3 data (which it does have a fair amount of) and that was taken with my FS128. Eventually when I get the microfocusser for the EdgeHD I think it'd be worth coming back here and doing it in full colour and perhaps visit this with the FS128. --Ram
  8. Edge-on spiral galaxy C23/NGC891 (m). Total integration: 180 minutes/3 hours (30 x 2m + 24 x 5m). Camera: QHY163M (16mp mono) CMOS cooled to -20 degrees C. Telescope: Celestron 9.25 EdgeHD @ f/10. Mount: Paramount MyT. Software: Sharpcap, PixInsight, Nebulosity.
  9. I've had a C925 XLT (and now EdgeHD) on an AVX for a couple of years for visual and EAA and I've always found it reliable and robust for any given session. So my guess is that your AVX might not be working as well as it could. Some issues could be due to firmware. Also, I use StarSense for autoalignment and it has worked well for me: I'm up and running within 5 minutes and I don't have to do anything in terms of alignments, etc. So if StarSense could work for you, that may be a better solution even if you do lose alignment---within 3-5 minutes, you'll be fully aligned again. Right now I have to set the clock manually every time I use the AVX since it drifts a bit and is not exact so that's an inconvenience I put up with (whereas if I had SkySync, the would be automatic for me too) but I'd rather not do the alignments manually if I can help it. If you do get a StarSense, it will continue to work on any Celestron mount I believe. A CGX or a better mount would be better of course, though you may lose the portability of the AVX, but in all cases there's always the possibility of something going wrong or the mount not working as well as it should normally. I own a Paramount MyT also and it has performed flawlessly for me but on the message boards for the mount, there are many new owners posting complaints constantly. And this is supposed to be a premium mount. This is all just MHO: my preference usually in situations like is to try and figure out why something isn't working to spec and fix it and if I exhaust my options doing that then I'd consider upgrade. --Ram
  10. This is actually my first "real" AP image that didn't involve any live stacking. These are based on stacking the 8 bit PNGs of the individual exposures I saved (the 8 vs. 16 bit was a mistake and I should've gone with FITS but I know better now). I did manage to get the golden/blue hues in the Hubble Palette in one image. Anyway, here are the acquisition details: Total integration: 480 minutes/8 hours (31 x 5m for S2/red + 34 x 5m for Ha/green + 31 x 5m for O3/blue).Camera: QHY163M (16mp mono) CMOS cooled to -20 degrees C.Telescope: Takahashi FS128 fluorite doublet @ f/5.7. Mount: Paramount MyT. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3, 3nm S2. Software: Sharpcap, PixInsight, Nebulosity, Photoshop CC.
  11. Hi Carole, Michael, thanks for your comments! Michael, I agree it's unusual and normally when that occurs it is by design but this time I didn't have seem to have much of a choice. Generally I am able to convert a greenish SHO image produced to the golden blue of the Hubble palette images using a web-based guide in Photoshop CC. But this time when I do a PhotometricColourCalibration in PixInsight I get a completely green image similar to the blue images above and when I do just a ColourCalibration I do get the yellow core but one of the first steps in converting a greenish SHO image initially generated to a golden blue image involves converting the green to yellow, so everything ends up being the same colour anyway. I've tried to change the yellow first to a blue or a gold but it renders the image flat. Maybe the problem is doing it in Photoshop and I should try to do it in PI using masks but I still need to learn a bit about that. The other option is the HOS scheme which results in a red Flaming Star but I decided to go with a blue flame instead. I attach both the HOS image as well as the SHO image with ColourCalibration applied (which highlights the yellow more, unlike the PCC which makes it all green). As you can see in the HOS scheme, the darker (purer) red signifies the Ha contribution and the lighter red/magenta signifies the S2 contribution. There is a bit of O2 signal in there as well. --Ram
  12. Hi all, it has been a while since I posted here. I used to post my Lodestar X2 images regularly but I've started getting into full on AP (in fact, this below is my second "real" AP image that didn't involve live stacking, and my sixth high resolution one) with a QHY163M camera and a bunch of refractors for different FOVs. I've been meaning to post my images here but it's only now after starting to use PI that I've gotten comfortable with my technique (not even close to being that great at PI yet but definitely getting the hang of it). I always struggle with colour choices. In this particular target, for which I posted the mono Ha image in the imaging challenge, I got a small amount of O2 signal (after two hours) but I did get a decent amount of S2 signal. What I found is that the S2 signal overlaps a lot with the Ha signal so trying to distinguish it using the blue/gold tones of traditional Hubble Palette (which is something I've only learnt to do as you can see from my Astrobin page here: http://www.astrobin.com/users/ramdom/) proved to be difficult so I decided to go with shades of one colour. In the first image (uncropped - you can see the framing not lining up perfectly at the left), I did manage to push the S2 signal more towards white and grey/magenta (it's there if you look closely). In the second image, the darker blue indicates Ha only signal and lighter blue indicates overlap with S2 signal. My question is which of these two images you prefer (or the mono version, posted separately here and current on my Astrobin page). I'd appreciate any comments and criticisms and I'm glad to be back on here again! --Ram Flaming Star nebula C31/IC405/Sh2-279 (c-sho). Total integration: 540 minutes/9 hours (42 x 5m for S2/red + 42 x 5m for Ha/green + 24 x 5m for O3/blue). Camera: QHY163M (16mp mono) CMOS cooled to -20 degrees C. Telescope: Stellarvue SV70T triplet apochromat refractor @ f/4.8 Mount: Paramount MyT. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3, 3nm S2. Software: Sharpcap, PixInsight, Nebulosity, Photoshop CC.
  13. I can't decide between the colour versions of these in SHO so I decided to try my hand here with the mono Ha image and ask for comments on a separate non-contest thread. Total integration: 210 minutes/3.5 hours (42 x 5m subs) on October 19, 2017. Camera: QHY163M (16mp mono) CMOS cooled to -20 degrees C. Telescope: Stellarvue SV70T triplet apochromat refractor @ f/4.8 Mount: Paramount MyT. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3, 3nm S2. Software: Sharpcap, PixInsight, Nebulosity, Photoshop CC.
  14. N3ptune and nightfisher, thanks. nightfisher, I'm curious as to any specific reasons you'd recommend the 18" ($7649) instead of the 20" ($7995)? I think the 18" would be more manageable, but at f/4.2, a parcorr coma corrector ($495) is highly recommended, and with that, the price is more than what it would be the 20" (classic version) which doesn't need the coma corrector. That said, with the 18", most my observation can be done while on the ground (5'11" eyepiece height at zenith) whereas I'll require a ladder for the 20" (8' eyepiece height at zenith). For people who own these types of large scopes that use a ladder/stool to, how much of an inconvenience is it? I'll be using it with the GoTo system. My location is in a rural area, so there's little light pollution but between the cold and the clouds, I probably can't observe that much in the winter. If I get this scope, then I can put it in my garage and wheel it around my home as needed and if I really need to transport it, I have an SUV that it should fit in. They also offer ultra compact versions of these scopes that are more portable with some tradeoffs, but the 18" UC is $6995 and the 22" UC is $10,495. --Ram
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