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About Spongey

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  1. Hi everyone! After researching and reading up on all things astro for the last 12 months, I have finally taken the plunge and upgraded my modest setup from a Skytracker Pro to a SkyGuider Pro! Portability is key for me at this time in my life and that's why I've gone down this route rather than jumping in with an HEQ5 or EQ6-R and a larger scope. I will be able to fit this all in a backpack when it's dismantled, and take it on holidays via aircraft. After playing with the setup for many hours (plus a few trips to screwfix), I have finally figured out a way to mount both my main 'scope' and guide scope at the same time, whilst maintaining balance. The finder-guider is connected to a 200mm arca-swiss plate via a lightweight ballhead, and the main camera is mounted using a rubber-lined pipe clip, as I don't have the tripod collar for this lens, and attaching it straight to the camera has induced some tilt in the past. Both of these sit on a fluid panorama head, which I bought as I have heard about a lot of people have difficulties when using the included declination bracket with this mount. In order to find balance, I have attached a spare ballhead that I had lying around (~350g) to the end of the counterweight shaft, as the shaft is just too short to get balanced without it. In total, the camera end of the setup weighs 3.16kg, which is well under the rated load of 5kg for this mount, so I am hopeful that the results will be good! Of course, since I got all the gear on Monday it has been cloudy every night, but I am eager to get out under the stars to give the new setup a whirl! Any tips for a first time guided astrophotography run would be much appreciated Main specs are: Mount - iOptron SkyGuider Pro Main imaging camera - Canon 6D Main lens / 'scope' - Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Guide scope - Skywatcher 9x50 finder scope Guide camera - ASI 224MC
  2. Thanks for the tip, I'll check them out With difficulty! A lot of the edge data had to be cropped as a result but I'm still pleased with the framing
  3. Thanks for the kind comments How would you suggest getting a shot like this printed? I have had a similar photo printed before on metallic paper and frankly, it looks far too dark in a normal room to fully appreciate! All the detail is there, it just looks very bland under regular light...
  4. This is easily the biggest project I've ever undertaken in my few years of (very) amateur astrophotography! This image is a 10 panel panorama of the Rho Ophiuchi region taken from ~2/3rds of the way up Mauna Loa Observatory road, Hawaii. I carried all my gear around the whole world with me but it was definitely worth it! Aquisition: Canon 6D (unmodified) on an iOptron Skytracker Pro Tamron 100-400mm @ 135mm f/4.5 125x 90s light frames - 3 hours and 7.5 minutes integration time 26x bias frames 30x 90s dark frames 25x flat frames Preprocessing (Pixinsight): Stack bias frames + superbias Calibrate + stack dark frames Calibrate + stack flat frames Calibrate light frames Cosmetic correction Register light frames Subframe Selector Stack light frames Preprocessing (AstroPixelProcessor): Mosaic registration and integration (this took a long time) Processing (Pixinsight): DBE (x2) Background neutralisation Colour calibration SCNR - green Multiscale Linear Transform - Luminance Multiscale Linear Transform - Chrominance Histogram transformation based on a modified STF to go non-linear Morphological Transformation for star reduction Multiple iterations of masked curves transformation Processing (Lightroom): Final touches - mainly local contrast and saturation adjustments Export @50% resolution for web posting This image is definitely my favourite that I have ever done, and I'm pretty impressed at what is achievable with such a small star tracker, DSLR and lens combo! Can't wait to see what I can do with a proper mount and telescope in the years to come (although maybe not under such good skies)! As always, constructive criticism is appreciated
  5. Hi Simon, I am a total noob at narrowband; this is literally the first NB image I have attempted to process! Thanks so much for posting your data, I am looking to get into narrowband at some point in the future so it is great to have some data to play with until I can capture my own! Here is my rendition of your crescent nebula I am interested to know how @GiorgioF has managed to get such clear structure out of the shell, perhaps this comes from adding Ha as a luminance layer? My processing flow was as follows (PixInsight): Crop of clipped edges DBE x2 on each channel Masked MLT noise reduction on each channel Histogram transformation to stretch to non-linear on each channel LHE + curves transform on Ha Linear fit of OIII and SII to Ha Pixelmath R = Ha, B = 0.7*OIII + 0.3*SII, G = OIII Background neutralisation Curves transform to adjust colour palette SCNR green Star reduction using starmask and Morphological Transformation Some masked curves transformations to work on background + nebulosity separately Exported as 16 bit TIFF Imported into Lightroom and adjusted saturation and local contrast adjustments Any feedback is very welcome, as I said this is my first narrowband processing attempt so I'm sure there are plenty of ways to improve! Thanks again for the great data, Spongey
  6. Thanks for all your feedback everyone. I think I will first be looking into getting a solid mount and guiding system setup before going for a scope based on what I have read. The lenses that I used for the above photos are a Canon 24-105 IS STM and a Tamron 100-400 respectively. I have attached another image of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex that I reprocessed recently with some new techniques that I have learnt over the last few months Olly, you raise a good point regarding field illumination and it is one that I will need to think about going forward; it does seem that not many scopes will cover such a wide imaging circle. I think I will be sticking with the 6D for now, and might have to live with cropping the edges of my frames before upgrading to a dedicated astrophotography camera in the future. I am currently leaning towards the 100ED for it's larger focal length despite it's comparatively slower optics, although this may change after I get a mount and guiding setup sorted. On this point, does anyone have any recommended guiding setups for an HEQ5-pro that will be future-proof when upgrading to a ~900mm scope in the future? Thanks again, Sponge
  7. Hello all! I have been interested in astrophotography for many years now, and have taken the seemingly standard route of DSLR + wide angle lens -> upgraded DSLR -> DSLR + small tracking mount (iOptron skytracker pro)-> DSLR + telephoto lens + small tracking mount. This has allowed me to capture some pretty good wide field images, and I have recently started imaging some larger DSOs such as M31 and M42. However, I am now looking to get more into the hobby and was wondering what focal length telescope I should go for. I have decided on a refractor for their relative simplicity and optical quality compared to a fast newt, however I am not made of money... The two scopes I have been looking at are the SW 80ED and the SW 100ED, most likely on an HEQ5 pro mount. Considering that my telephoto lens maxes out at 400mm f/6.3, I am unsure that the 80ED (with flattener) at 510mm f/6.37 would be much of a step up. The 100ED has a more generous 765mm focal length (with flattener), but is much larger. I find the 400mm lens to be quite sharp even wide open with only some slight coma at the edges of the frame. For reference I am shooting on an unmodified Canon 6D, and intend to do so for a few years at least, before perhaps upgrading to a dedicated astrophotography camera such as an OSC. My main interests are shooting nebulae and galaxies. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance. I have attached a few images of some of my results so far that I have achieved with my current setup for those interested.
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