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Grant

Observatory First Light! M27, M57, M31

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We put the finishing touches to the observatory yesterday (except some shelves which I need to build! Damn flatpack!) and luckily, last night was the best, darkest, clearest night for absolutely ages! So I made the most of it, first off took a look at Jupiter, could see 3 moons, its pretty low where I am so surface detail wasn't to great but my 18mm Orthoscopic gave some great views, especially when barlowed... Next up I had a look visually at M31 which was looking huge last night! Difficult to make too much out as I was using my ED80 but it was spectacular none the less. Also took a look visually at M57.

Next up, I switched to imaging, last night was the first time I used my camera connected to my laptop and used DSLR Focus to control everything, this worked alot better than I expected, the only downside was my camera battery ran out early otherwise I would've kept going all night!

M57 10x45s, ISO800, ED80, Canon 350D

788_normal.jpeg

(click to enlarge)

Cropped Version of Above

789_normal.jpeg

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M27 10x45s, ISO800, ED80, Canon 350D

784_normal.jpeg

(click to enlarge)

Cropped Version of Above

785_normal.jpeg

(click to enlarge)

M31

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(click to enlarge)

Cropped M31

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(click to enlarge)

I find some dust bunnies on my camera so had a go at cleaning the sensor last night, didn't go so well (used alcohol that isn't pure I think!) so had to order a kit but going to have to get used to cleaning the sensor I think because it seems to get pretty grubby!

I'm really, really pleased with how the observatory worked, it made things so much easier, warmer and everything I needed was right there next to me! Theres some slight vibration when we walk around so we need to fix this somehow but its not a major issue!

Can't wait for the next clear night now!!

As always, if you would like to have a play with my raws (pretty please :D ) I've uploaded them to: http://iseestars.net/astro_raws/24-07-07/ The upload is still in progress so it might take awhile until its all there...

Cheers,

Grant

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Looking good Grant, nice to see you up and running :D.

Tony..

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A great opening session for the newly finished observatory, well done!!.

Dave

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M31 from your RAWs... really, honest!! (maybe a touch over processed, but....)

grant_20070724_m31.jpg

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Steve!! Is that really mine! WOW!!!

How the heck did you do that!!!???!!

Steve, you really are a processing genius! Your going to have to write some tutorials at some point so I can learn how you manage it!

Many many thanks for taking the time to do it Steve :D

One very happy Grant!

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yes, honestly, they are your RAWs.... load a RAW up and check it against my finished version if you still cant believe it :D I love M31, and am happy to process them for the moment because I am unable to image it from my back yard site for at least another 2-4 weeks I guess (got my first visual look last night as the sky was lightening)

I honestly dont know how I go about my processing... i just kind of look at an image for a few seconds then... WHAM... off I go...

I`ll try to redo the image (think I can remove the LP too), and note down what I did. It will be quite helpful for me too :lol:

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They are lovely images Grant. I hope, as does everyone else, that the new Ob. serves you well. You have got off to a flyer with those pics.

A liitle upsetting about the vibration. Is the mount not seperate from the Ob. floor then?.

Ron.

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Cheers Ron :D

The floor is completely independent from the pier but we have an adapted bucket sealing around the pier to stop red ants getting in (our gardens full of them) we think this is carry vibrations from the floor to the pier so we need to possibly replace the bucket with some flexible material that has some excess so it still seals but doesn't transfer the movement....

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Your going to have to write some tutorials at some point so I can learn how you manage it!

Very quick cheat list, and this is how I do it...

** DISCLAIMER ** it might not be right, or correct, or anywhere close to the best way, but i`m still learning

-load all the ISO1600 lights into DSS

-check all

-register checked pics

-"select the best -> 80%"

-click OK and OK again

-wait for PC to grind to halt, go away, make coffee, read a book, grow a beard, etc

-save image to file (16 bit TIFF!!!)

-close dss

-open Photoshop and load the image

-levels

-move black point up, but DO NOT actually clip the base of the peak

-move white point down until you are happy with the size of the M31 core (120-150 ish)

-curves

-move the lower left placement point across 1/10th of the way across (or how you like it)

-then click/add point on a curve that goes up steeply and levels out across the top

-Noels AstroTools (NAT)-> Light Pollution removal (read the readme file!).

-NAT -> "as layer on top" (just so you can "blink" between changes)

-NAT -> Local Contrast Enhancement

-NAT -> "as layer on top" (just so you can "blink" between changes)

-Resize 25%

-Save image

I think I pushed this one too far again. Its a bit noisey, and the core is too large in this version. That would be the initial levels value, maybe 120 was too low and it should have been 150 or higher... but experiment :D Taking 10 darks for each exposure and ISO combination would certainly help with the image noise. Taking more lights will also help with the image noise.

By the way, thats M110 on the left, and M32 is the larger of the two bright areas on the right at the 2 o'clock position

grant_20070724_m31_2.jpg

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Wow Grant!

What a first light. Well done to Steve for the processing tips as well.

Grant you must be chuffed my friend. I would be.

JV! :D

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Hi Grant,

Some wonderful images there, very well done. I'd have to agree with the others that the widefield M27 is my favourite, very sharp. However, the processed M31 is really wonderful too. It's amazing what power software has to enhance our images but having said that you need the operater to run it so great work from Steve too.

Regards,

Chris.

p.s. Any images of your new observatory?

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Cheers Ron :D

The floor is completely independent from the pier but we have an adapted bucket sealing around the pier to stop red ants getting in (our gardens full of them) we think this is carry vibrations from the floor to the pier so we need to possibly replace the bucket with some flexible material that has some excess so it still seals but doesn't transfer the movement....

Grant

'Pipe Wrap' does an excellent job. Tight seal, and no vibration transferred from floor to Pier.

Have a look on my 'web-site' on the 'Observatory' page.

Dave

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