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I was wondering whether it's possible to image a DSO and capture any depth. Every 3D astro image online is faked so at the start of the year, I decided to image M42 six months apart.
Back in March I posted a image of M42 imaged at f10, 2032mm FL through my 8SE on 28th February 2019. Than on 3rd September (setup and captured 15 second subs on 1 September) I captured M42 at the same focal length, same orientation and very similar subs for a total exposure of 1 hr 24 minutes. This was almost to the day exactly 6 months between the two images, so the earth was 300 million km away from the original position on the other side of the sun, furthest I could hope for imaging a 3D stereo pair.
First attached is the image from September...
I color matched the above image with the image from February, aligned them and below is the end result....
As you can see there is no detectable 3D effect... There was a 3Dish effect but this was most likely due to the differences in processing of the two stacks and when I SCALE and rotate the two images to align them, and hence no 3D effect.
Of course the stars and nebula are certainly not on a flat plain so I believe that the reason for the lack of any discernable depth is simply due to the distance of M42 resulting in a very small angular shift in the stars, so small in fact, that it’s beyond the sensitivity of my 8” SCT, camera pixel resolution and tracking accuracy of the CGEM.
Calculation of the expected motion of any parallax shift when the Orion Nebula is 1344 lightyears away and the distance of Earth being 149,600,000km from the Sun:
1344LY = 1.2715e+16km
Θ° = Tan-1(149.6e+6/1.2715e+16)
Parallax Shift Θ” = 2 x 3600 x Θ
Parallax Shift Θ” = 0.0048536712567150
An angular motion of 0.005” was not picked up by my system that tracks with an average accuracy of about 1” RMS, with a camera sensor that has a resolution of 1.16”/pixel at 2032mm focal length with a 8” SCT. Even if I could get consistent tracking at the best accuracy that I have ever seen with my gear, 0.38” RMS, this is still well above 0.005” and well beyond the 40D sensor pixel resolution, and all this is without considering atmospheric distortion, obviously my setup is not even close to sensitive enough.
This was a good project but unfortunately the distances of objects in the universe are too great, even objects classed as in our celestial “backyard”. If I didn’t try this experiment than I would be always wondering and curiosity would most likely make me try it eventually.
This exposure of the Orion Nebula region is really just a quick and lazy session since I didn't want to waste a clear night by doing nothing and the scope was already setup and focused so I wouldn't be spending much time on setup. I also didn't have a plan for imaging another object it seemed like a good idea being a bright and easy object to image.
I already imaged this object in the past, but by comparing the setup, procedure and improved tracking accuracy of the past together with the now cooled 40D, I know that the result would have been an improvement if I would have dedicated the necessary exposure time, through the necessary NB filters.
This image all consists of RGB/OSC, IRCut filtered, 31x15s, 32x30s, 16x60s, 10x90s, 11x120s ISO1600 subs.