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Changing my ways : 14.5 hours LRGB on M63


Catanonia
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Since I began astronomy 2 years ago this month, I have been like any keen amatuer, star hopping around, an image here and an image there trying to bag everything in one night and posting them like crazy on this forum maybe to the annoyance of some.

Now I have decided to calm down a bit and as a subsequence you will not see as many images from me during the clear periods.

I have decided to concentrate some serious hours on a project at a time and give it some serious hours and processing.

To start the ball rolling, I picked M63 as a target to hit for 3 clear nights and managed to get 14.5 hours of LRGB, 6 of which was luminance.

I started 4 days ago when the good weather set in and managed 3 good clear nights with the windy conditions. Observatories are great for protecting you from the wind when imaging.

I really wanted to get as deep as I could and find out what my scopes and mount could give me on a concentrated target.

After seeing Peter Shah's thread about trying to bag the outer loop of M63, that was my target set and I wanted to at least get a glimpse of it on my image.

I have also recently purchased PixInsight (some of you may have heard :D) and so a whole new area of the hobby has opened up to me as well as learning how to do flats properly.

The results are below of M63 and to my relief it seems to have paid off.

For the 1st time I have actually spent long enough on a target to capture the faint browny dust lanes of space as well as the M63 loop and associated areas.

Here is a link to the loops

http://www.redshift-live.com/en/magazine/articles/Astronomy/30752-Spirals_eat_dwarfs-1.html

I really hope you like this image as much as I do, and I would love any ideas / feedback on my image and how to improve it or my new approach to the hobby.

Image details

Telescope : Skywatcher MN190

Camera : QHY9 Mono with 2inch QHY filters

Mount : EQ6 pro

Guide : QHY5 + Skywatcher ED80 pro

Software : PHD, MAximDL for capture, PixInsight and CS5

LRGB : 240:170:170:170 all in 10 minute subs

Seeing : Good but windy.

Full sized image can be downloaded from here

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10801850/Astro%20Pictures/Large%20Files/M63%20Deep%20Field%20MN190%20May%202011.jpg

post-16631-133877597815_thumb.jpg

Edited by Catanonia
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Wow...great picture, really like it! If your patience is leading to pictures like this then

by all means : carry on! Needless to say i have another wallpaper now on my desktop :D

Edited by Chris16373
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Great result,:D nothing like time at the scope to get results.

How long were the L subs, it's nice and deep?

feedback on my image and how to improve it or my new approach to the hobby.

A little less smoothing of the background and a little less sharpening of the galaxy will give a more natural looking result.

Mike.

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Oh Yes! Love it.

I've had the same attitude as you in the first 15 months of my astrophotography, and have come to the same conclusions. Less images with more quality. I am setting myself targets of 10 hours + on my list of objects to cover over the next few months.

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Oh yes!!! Time, time, time. It is the only way. Even at F5 you need lots of it and here is the proof. The detail is excellent as is the depth of colour.

Like Mike I would suggest easing down a tad on the sharpening but with that depth of data it must be very tempting top push really hard. The strange, straight dust lane is amazing.

You will never be satisfied with one night stands again!

Olly

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Wow how i wish I could get images like that, i have been imaging for around 12 months and every time i go out its a different target, i jump around all over the time, planning must be the key and im going to try and be different and put some hours in on particualr targets.

Once again a great image

John B

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Its a stage everyone goes through... I remember the Nebula Frenzies, and crazy nut cluster nights when i would spend roughly an hour on each target and then drag out a noisy image...

Personally I found I have roughly doubled the time I spent on each target every year ...

The Result being - This year ... I got nothing done :D

Peter...

Edited by Psychobilly
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Hi Catanonia - That's a superb M63... I tried it myself a while back (5.5 hrs) but didn't get anywhere near this - Lovely detail...!

I've since come to more or less the same conclusion as you though - With many objects, it's not possible to get over the noise threshold and/or get sufficient detail coming through until you've got sufficient subs. I can still remember my first night imaging about 10 months ago (peak summer :D) and taking 10x60s of about 6 objects... and then wondered why there was virtually nothing there!

(Frustratingly, the wind has beaten me in my garden in the SW over the last few nights :)...)

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I'm in exactly the same place... I thought a couple of hours was good enough!!! Now I'm also running into the DAYS category imaging but without an observatory. That will come later this year when I build my own.

Its a great image with lots of details and colour saturation, the loop is clearly visible around M63, well done will this great capture...

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Thanks all for the kind comments and Olly / Mike for good suggestions.

It has certainly been a journey that I spose everyone takes end eventually ends up with the same conclusion. Time on target gives better results.

I managed to get 4 hours LRGB on M13 last night and have processed it, but will hold off until I get another 6 hours as I can see some faint dust lanes surrounding M13 and might be able to pull that out.

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In the interim process push the data really hard and you will see what else is there...and if there's anything worth pursuing...

Peter...

Stretched luminance after 1 hour in 5 min subs. I need to check as it doesn't look like my vignetting in my flats that have already been applied to this image.

Time will tell

post-16631-133877597899_thumb.jpg

Edited by Catanonia
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Your determination to take more time on each target should be every astrophotographers new-year resolution. Every year!

There is, and never will be, any substitute for exposure.

To make the waiting for sufficient data be less of a pain, plan your night's imaging so you can move from the current target to the next target just by going back to the East (or the meridian if you image to the west) so you don't spend time chasing targets all over the sky and waste time pier flipping.

Dennis

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Oh my....well what can I say....i'm tongue tied......oh damn it.......Wow!!!!

The patience and determination you give to creating masterpieces is inspiring. Many thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing many more of your wonderful images.

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Hi

Well let me say that is a very nice image with great colour and resolution ;)

A couple of comments for you as said the background is lumpy and overstretched ( do this myself all the time :eek:) also there is some collimation problems to sort out:icon_salut:

Lastly I will raise the point of Lrgb is that it is meant to be a time saver like this capture RGB fast in binned mode and then go for detail and depth unbinned lum.

I suggest you need less colour and more lum :D as I bet your lum did not ad a lot to the party and some of the best imagers in the world just go for straight unbinned RGB.

Of course what you are doing works , might just not be the best use of Time :)

Regards Harry

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Thanks Harry, I have been debating with my self whether to go 2xbin for RGB.

Can you point out the colimation issues for me please, I can't see woods cause of the trees :)

Edited by Catanonia
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