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Christopher Davenport

M31 - Post your (DSLR) attempts

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Hello world,

When I first got into Astronomy in August last year, one of the very first DSO that I looked at was M31.

I was a bit disappointed in what I saw at the eyepiece, especially when I compared it to the images that I had of the galaxy.

I decided to take the family on a holiday to a dark sight in Brittany on a holiday, to see if I could get some pictures.

When I  plugged my old 350d onto the back of my 127 Mak at the time and took some exposures,

I was expecting to stack them and see something amazing.

What I saw was not that much better than what I had seen from the eyepiece.

At this point I almost packed in the whole gig and put all my kit on ebay.

I sold my camera, and my alt az mount, so all that I had left was the Mak (which I later used to some good effect on planetary)

Anyway, over the last year, I have given a renewed vigour into Astro and purchased a EQ5 mount and a 80ED.

So when M31 cleared the trees last weekend, I thought that it was time to take on my Nemesis.

Not wanting to take any chances, I did exposures at multiple lengths, from 30sec, 60sec, 120s, 180s and 300s.

This way I had a variety of exposures to play with to control noise versus the luminosity.

The final recipe has been to use the 180s and 300s exposures for the lum and the 60 sec for the stars and the core.

This has been a bit of a processing marathon as the combinations available are numerous.

I have downloaded some new processing actions and been doing research on the net.

This is what I have achieved to date on the processing, with some real noise issues (summer temps still high for the UK.)

2014-08-24_M31_67_ISO800_60%2B180%2B300s

I have seen better, but this is pretty special to me as it has been a massive learning curve over the last year.

Let me know your thoughts, experiences and advice, tips tricks etc.

Or post your images of the subject, especially if you have been through the pain of using a DSLR.

Thanks for looking, dark skies ahead!

Edited by Christopher Davenport
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Hi really nice image!! :)

I'm pretty new to Astrophotography, I have just started my 'project galaxy' with aim to gain the experience of imaging and processing these DSO's as I think they are complex thing to do. My latest 'attemtpt' was M31. My best yet but will still add and add until I get enough data. :)

Taken using my usual stuff:

SW 150 PDS, EQ5 Pro Synscan GOTO.

Guiding: SW ST80 and QHY5.

Modded Canon 600D and coma corrector with CLS clip filter.

Using: BYEOS, PHD, DSS, Photoshop CC.

M31 - 28/08/14

32 x 240s Lights

No Darks - Camera battery ran out and I hadn't plugged in my spare :rolleyes:

Bias and Flats

ISO 800

15071695395_f1561dbcea_n.jpgM31 Andromeda Galaxy ''Project Galaxy'' by VikN46, on Flickr

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Here's an image to make everyone else happier about theirs. This is a quick reprocess of my first ever DSO image, about 20 minutes of data divided into 30sec ISO3200 subs + darks.

Can't wait to try this again for real, with all the stuff I've learned the last seasons.

Another playaround with M31, old data

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Here is one of my attempts.

Nothing special on the processing side.

Canon 60Da 200mm EF L lens....about 2hours of data in 300sec subs ISO 800.

post-30455-0-78871600-1409506948_thumb.j

Edited by wxsatuser
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My first attempt with un-modded 600D and ED80 scope last night, not a patch on others but not a total disaster either.

post-34685-0-99051300-1409507945_thumb.j

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I still think just being in a position to image the wonderful jewels of the universe Hubble grade or amateur, it is a privilege and we should all be proud of what we achieve no matter what the out come. :)

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My attempt last week with the Megrez 72 and Canon 450D on an Astrotrac.

Phil

post-37511-0-79545800-1409508553.jpg

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Thanks guys and gals,

Some really good stuff out their, must say it is not a easy target. 

@VikN46 - Not bad for early days, mine where all at ISO800, but I do reduce to F4.5

@Carl - Very nice Mate,  Personally I would drop the ISO and up the exposure.

@Mike - Always admire what you can get right with a DSLR lens. (Hats off)

@auspom - Good crack at it, but looks like it wants more data.

@davefrance - Nice one, a bit over stretched for me, also needs more data. 

Phillyo - Nice one mate, hats off!

I smell a good season on it's way as it gets darker and colder!

Please keep them coming, plus some processing tips are always welcome.  :)

Edited by Christopher Davenport
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Thanks guys and gals,

@Carl - Very nice Mate,  Personally I would drop the ISO and up the exposure.

Thanks buddy! I'm done at ISO 3200, and will try to find how far I can stretch unguided subs. :)

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Thanks guys and gals,

Some really good stuff out their, must say it is not a easy target. 

@davefrance - Nice one, a bit over stretched for me, also needs more data. 

I smell a good season on it's way as it gets darker and colder!

Please keep them coming, plus some processing tips are always welcome.  :)

Agree, thanks for the comments, was first attempt with telescope so erred on side of very short subs - 30 secs. Will try again tonight slightly longer and see what I get. I guess with more data I might get more colour? or do I need a modded camera for that?

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Agree, thanks for the comments, was first attempt with telescope so erred on side of very short subs - 30 secs. Will try again tonight slightly longer and see what I get. I guess with more data I might get more colour? or do I need a modded camera for that?

60 to 90 seconds are good if you not guiding. Don't need mod for colour, rather a star mask.  (saturation  & vibrance)

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60 to 90 seconds are good if you not guiding. Don't need mod for colour, rather a star mask.  (saturation  & vibrance)

Thanks for info, trying at 45 and 60 seconds see how it goes. Sky incredibly dark and clear in direction of M31.

West not good, Moon and close friend Saturn taking forever to go) :grin:

Edited by davefrance

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Thanks for info, trying at 45 and 60 seconds see how it goes. 

If you are using a HEQ5, you should be able to go up to 120s easy with good polar alignment.

Just give it a crack nothing to lose really.

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If you are using a HEQ5, you should be able to go up to 120s easy with good polar alignment.

Just give it a crack nothing to lose really.

Only a nights sleep  :laugh:

Forecast good here for rest of week so will pay particular attention to PA and give it a try. Thanks again 

P.S.

Just sampled at 90 secs no star trails visible in live view so set to roll................

Edited by davefrance

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two attempts last night, one at 45 secs and another a 90 secs. Polar alignment slightly off so a little star movement in the 90 secs but still pleased with both.

Thanks to all especially Christopher Davenport for their advice.  

30 x 45 secs

post-34685-0-37003800-1409583329_thumb.j

30 x 90 secs

post-34685-0-41911300-1409583327_thumb.j

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two attempts last night, one at 45 secs and another a 90 secs. Polar alignment slightly off so a little star movement in the 90 secs but still pleased with both.

Thanks to all especially Christopher Davenport for their advice.  

30 x 45 secs

30 x 90 secs

Thanks, my advice is really just learnings from others on this forum. (Standing on the shoulders of Giants ...)

If you have some time to reprocess this, I would stack both sets together (still using Kappa). - More data the better.

I would try to clip some of the noise off the back ground just by reducing the black point or using curves.

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This M31 was taken very early on in my imaging life - Probably within the first couple of months. This was taken with a 300mm lens and a 5D2 - Totalled under 3 hours.

5316446619_2f3f2d7e31_z.jpgM31 Andromeda Galaxy by swag72 (www.swagastro.weebly.com), on Flickr

This one was taken with my 120ED and a 1000D - I'm not sure if it was modded at the time. I've never gone back and reprocessed it, so this really is the extent of my skills back then.

6123084293_620fbaf5c6_z.jpgM31 Andromeda Galaxy by swag72 (www.swagastro.weebly.com), on Flickr

With any luck these will both give people the impetus to improve!!! 

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This M31 was taken very early on in my imaging life - Probably within the first couple of months. This was taken with a 300mm lens and a 5D2 - Totalled under 3 hours.

This one was taken with my 120ED and a 1000D - I'm not sure if it was modded at the time. I've never gone back and reprocessed it, so this really is the extent of my skills back then.

With any luck these will both give people the impetus to improve!!! 

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for popping in, I am an admirer of your work ... 

If you want to give us impetus to improve, then please give us some guidance to.

It is interesting as your first version is a similar style to all of ours.

The second, which I prefer has a almost artistic quality about it, with a lot more detail in it.

Out of curiosity was the second processed through Photoshop or some other software?

Edited by Christopher Davenport

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I'll gladly give guidance Chris, but regarding M31 I was so put off by these two images that I've never been back - Too scared!!! DSLR imaging I found very difficult for processing and so fairly quickly moved onto a mono CCD - I can not process OSC data for toffee!!!

Regarding the second M31 - I *think* it was probably processed in Pixinsight. I had some mad idea at the time that I liked the software - How quickly that changed after this attempt!!! :grin:

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I'll gladly give guidance Chris, but regarding M31 I was so put off by these two images that I've never been back - Too scared!!! DSLR imaging I found very difficult for processing and so fairly quickly moved onto a mono CCD - I can not process OSC data for toffee!!!

Regarding the second M31 - I *think* it was probably processed in Pixinsight. I had some mad idea at the time that I liked the software - How quickly that changed after this attempt!!! :grin:

Thanks Sarah, if we ever meet I will swap you some toffee for advice on processing :)

Unfortunately for most of us we are stuck with our DSLR, due to the budget needed to move off them.

The noise that a DSLR creates on a hot summer night is very challenging. 

I am glad to hear that this was a frustrating target for you, as it give me some sense of relief!

Keep up your good work.

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To me every image on this thread is superb. I tried to get star images in the old days of high speed colour film. Longish one shot exposures. They were absolute rubbish. These digital, stacked images knock film into a cocked hat.

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Thanks, my advice is really just learnings from others on this forum. (Standing on the shoulders of Giants ...)

If you have some time to reprocess this, I would stack both sets together (still using Kappa). - More data the better.

I would try to clip some of the noise off the back ground just by reducing the black point or using curves.

Reprocessed with 30 x 30 secs, 30 x 45 secs and 30 x 90 secs (the 90 secs were retaken last night with better care of A and no star trails)

Still not perfect but I think it is much better than my first effort. Thanks again everyone.

post-34685-0-64816900-1409677285_thumb.j

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