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fatwoul

M51 - First Light with Atik 314L+ Mono

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Took my new camera out for first light last night. I had grand plans of imaging NGC6888 etc, but in the end decided to take baby steps, and just make sure I can operate the thing first. So I pointed it at M51 for a couple of hours. I didn't use my new narrowband filters yet, just a moonglow (excuse the image size - I wanted to leave it in its original dimensions, seeing as its the inaugural image!) :

M51b.jpg

Atik 314L+ Mono on MN190, guided by PHD-run Atik Titan Mono on ED80

x25 300sec subs, x10 dark/flat/bias

Overall I'm really pleased. The star shapes suggest I might need to fiddle with the collimation a little, but other than that I couldn't be happier with my new camera. I'm already convinced it was the right choice for me, so thanks to all of you who helped me arrive at this decision.

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Fatwoul, great image of the Whirlpool Galaxy, lots of detail and I'm glad you kept it's original dimensions. Like you say, you'll have to adjust the collimation judging by those stars; but I think it's an great image with your new camera! Well done. :( Thanks for sharing! :)

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Thanks, guys. This result was really encouraging. What I have discovered is so nice about these cameras compared to a DSLR is that with my D3, at ISO3200, I have to go at least 30 seconds on something like this just to see if the scope is pointed in the right direction. But with the 314, binned to 4x4 or 8x8, objects that are too faint to be seen from my light-polluted location just leap out of the screen when looping 1sec exposures. Add to that the fact that single subs from this thing look great compared to hour-long stacks from my D3, and I know this is going to be a fun experience already.

My interest in my astro imaging has never really waned, but now I suddenly feel excited. :)

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Very nice, i now know who to pester with questions when i get mine :)

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Very nice image :(. All these great images with the 314L+ are certainly making my mind up for me. Only problem is, the old "plastic" is hurting a bit as it is! :)

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Thats a good 1st light, but the backgrounds a tad clipped.

Nadeem

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My interest in my astro imaging has never really waned, but now I suddenly feel excited. :)

Wait until you start using Ha filters :) thats when it starts to get really interesting with the 314 :(

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I believe the 314L uses the same chip as the SX H9 which is also the same chip as in the QHY IMG2Pro which I use.

I bought an MN190 at the start of the year and M51 was a first light image. I didn't have my guiding setup so used lots of short subs to compensate.

So, same scope, similar CCD ...... Stargazers Lounge - New user ..... first and second light

The IMG2Pro cools down to about -45 below ambient which makes it rather quiet (this is made up for by the loud fan on the camera though)

It would be interesting to see 250 30second subs through the 314L

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Fantastic start Fatwoul...! There's some lovely detail in there... Although I know you're probably desperate to get some narrowband stuff, if you could get some similar quality RGB, this would be superb..!

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Great first light and an ideal target for your kit.

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Thanks again everyone. You're right about the clipping, Nadeem and Kevin. Processing is something I am struggling with, probably moreso than the imaging bit itself. Right now I'm only shoving them through DSS because it's what I'm familiar with from the DSLR stuff I've done. I know 314 subs through DSS is pearls on swine, but I didn't want to try to learn everything at the same time. I figured I'd try to get half-decent subs first, then learn the software next. At least that way I can return to these subs later on using other programmes and not waste them. I guess I should be thinking about PixInsight or Maxim? I'll be honest, Maxim intimidates me no end. Does anybody actually use Dawn yet? Is it any good? The workflow thing baffles me a bit at the moment. :)

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A couple of things.

Does your Atik actually need need dark and Bias frames? The 285 chip with decent cooling is usually very quiet. I don't take any on my IMG2Pro (same chip) and I know of a few H9 users (same chip) that don't bother either. You should try processing with and without Darks and Bias to see what the difference actually is. I for one would be interested in what you turn up there.

As for processing, I stated using Pixinsight last winter and despite the initial bewilderment of its workflow I now love it. There is a trial ... give it a go and work at it. It is not an "auto" piece of software but it is very powerful.

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Hi Fatwoul... I'm still using DSS, although I do now have Maxim and have gone through the calibration/registering/stacking/combining process without too many headaches. However, there's some things I haven't quite figured out yet (multi-session imaging?) but it is certainly HUGE... and I did manage to get the Lucy-Richardson Deconvolution working (albeit only the once!) but if you want Decon, then there's also CCDSharp (which is freeware :()

Obviously software choice is a personal thing and it would seem as though a lot of imagers do use PI VERY effectively, but having splashed out on CS5 last year, I personally can't justify it at the moment (and of course it's yet ANOTHER piece of software to learn :)).

I have had a brief play at Dawn, but not gone through the video's yet (and of course there's also an email address for comments/queries and link to a yahoo group) - Its GUI certainly is very different though, but if it turns out as simple as Artemis Capture, then that'll be great!

(And then there's also Astro-Art and Nebulosity, and I suspect there's others out there as well...)

Hi Komet

Does your Atik actually need need dark and Bias frames?
Although I have a dark library, I think I'll probably end up only using bias with my 285 chip. I've also been advised that using both darks AND bias you're effectively subtracting any bias signal twice, so it actually potentially increases noise...

However, as you say, the chip is indeed VERY quiet, but on my 314L+, there is a very slight bias signal. Although it probably has no significant impact on the subs, but my feeling is that it doesn't hurt / take much effort to subtract it.

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A couple of things.

Does your Atik actually need need dark and Bias frames? The 285 chip with decent cooling is usually very quiet. I don't take any on my IMG2Pro (same chip) and I know of a few H9 users (same chip) that don't bother either. You should try processing with and without Darks and Bias to see what the difference actually is. I for one would be interested in what you turn up there...

Funny you should mention that, because that's exactly what I did last night with the Pacman, which seemed to work very well without any calibration at all. I have to say that if I can get away without having to do calibrations, then things will get much easier and quicker for me, and much less time-consuming for DSS.

As for processing, I stated using Pixinsight last winter and despite the initial bewilderment of its workflow I now love it. There is a trial ... give it a go and work at it. It is not an "auto" piece of software but it is very powerful.

Thanks for the tip, Mick. I'll give it a shot. :)

Hi Fatwoul... I'm still using DSS, although I do now have Maxim and have gone through the calibration/registering/stacking/combining process without too many headaches...

I'm going to give it a proper look when the weather turns bad again, but I've found a couple of tutorials that might be helpful. If they are, I'll link them, although I'm sure everyone here already knows about them.

...I did manage to get the Lucy-Richardson Deconvolution working (albeit only the once!)...

OK, I've got no idea what that is! Another thing for me to learn about when it's cloudy!

...I have had a brief play at Dawn, but not gone through the video's yet (and of course there's also an email address for comments/queries and link to a yahoo group) - Its GUI certainly is very different though, but if it turns out as simple as Artemis Capture, then that'll be great!

Agreed. I'm really impressed with Artemis. Between that and PHD, my imaging sessions have so far been pretty smooth.

...Although I have a dark library, I think I'll probably end up only using bias with my 285 chip. I've also been advised that using both darks AND bias you're effectively subtracting any bias signal twice, so it actually potentially increases noise...

I've heard this before, so I'm going to start trimming down my workflow, especially with my new cameras. I'm still learning what the calibration frames do, though, so Mick's suggestion of running them through with and without each type of calibration frame might prove really helpful in showing me what they do.

...However, as you say, the chip is indeed VERY quiet, but on my 314L+, there is a very slight bias signal. Although it probably has no significant impact on the subs, but my feeling is that it doesn't hurt / take much effort to subtract it.

Particularly since bias frames take next-to-no-time to create. Maybe that's what I'll do for now; just shove a dozen bias frames through after each session.

Thanks again, guys

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Great image, and you have captured the supernova as well (a 'plus', I would say) !

Peter

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