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Space Ranger

Winter Favourites from Dark Skies - First Real Test of New Equipment

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I've been (im)patiently awaiting the darker winter nights returning so I could see what my new equipment could achieve in terms of astrophotography.

Last weekend saw a clear night where I could take a short trip to a dark location and image a few objects. Below are a few of the images obtained.

All were taken with a Canon 650D DSLR on a SW 80ED refractor. Due to this being my first real chance in really dark skies to try out the kit I wanted to image several objects to assess the capabilities rather than concentrate on getting lots of subs on just one target object. The end results are from a stack of about a handful of unguided exposures, each of 2 minutes or less.

I'm quite pleased with what could be achieved in such a short period of time with these brighter winter favourites - they are certainly miles better than I've ever managed before with previously owned more modest equipment. Hope you like them too :smiley:

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they are all really good i think but i think all of them could do with the red channel bringing in a bit to make the background more neutral

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It never occurred to me that someone living in Caithness would have to travel to a dark site ! Do you have barking street lights too ?

I just love that M42. It's plainly obvious that there's so much more for you to tease out around the bright stuff. It looks like you've caught a whole raft of dust. If you wander out there again soon, have another go perhaps and build up some detail. A touch of colour balance should make that pop.

Dave.

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Thanks for the feedback guys - all hints and tips gratefully received. Image processing is not my strong point - I'm finding it to be the bigger learning curve than the imaging part.

they are all really good i think but i think all of them could do with the red channel bringing in a bit to make the background more neutral

You're right - now I look at it again the Horsehead image in particular is way too red.

It never occurred to me that someone living in Caithness would have to travel to a dark site ! Do you have barking street lights too ?

I just love that M42. It's plainly obvious that there's so much more for you to tease out around the bright stuff. It looks like you've caught a whole raft of dust. If you wander out there again soon, have another go perhaps and build up some detail. A touch of colour balance should make that pop.

Dave.

I don't really have to travel to a darkish site as although I live in Thurso my back garden has an overhead NELM of around 6 on good nights - I expect this would be the envy of many on this forum. However, when you think a 20 minute drive takes me to somewhere that camera noise is more the limiting factor than light pollution, it's well worth the trip. Having been in the area before Dave, I'm sure you remember the stunningly dark skies in the more remote parts of the county :smiley: .

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