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First actual attempt at "astrophotography"


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I've been doing live digital viewing "EAA" of DSO for a while now, and perhaps inevitably this is leading into thinking about saving subframes and wanting to mess around with them later.  It's a slippery slope.  So, the below is my first official attempt to post-process and create an "astrophoto".  This was created from 40 x 10sec exposures shot with an AT72 doublet refractor (430mm FL) and Starlight Xpress Ultrastar guidecam (mono ICX285 chip, uncooled), using a 6nm Astronomik Ha filter.  "Processed", if you can call my first attempt such, using Nebulosity 4.  Ten dark frames were stacked and subtracted, the lights stacked, then I fooled around with the Curves function quite a bit to try and balance the core versus extended nebula.  Finally set black point to zero and tweaked white point and power just a tiny bit.  This is the outcome:


Any comments or feedback is welcome.

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Here's another attempt at the same subs, drizzle-stacked and spent quite a bit more time playing with curves in Nebulosity.  I'm starting to see how much time I'm going to sink into this activity...M42-Halpha-doubleCurve.thumb.jpg.541df58


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52 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

Lots to admire and it could be even better with a bit more post processing. If you did a softer stretch just for the Trapezium (and ignoring the rest) you could use this method to blend them. It's the business. http://www.astropix.com/HTML/J_DIGIT/LAYMASK.HTM


Thanks for the hint - I'll have a look.


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So here's a final cut at this, having figured out how to implement the "blend heavy and light stretch" method that Olly pointed out using GIMP.  If we get clear skies next weekend I'm going to try and run some longer subs on this and see what that does for the visibility of the fainter parts of the nebula.  Without guiding I think I can easily go up to 30 sec (versus the 10sec subs here) at this focal length with a halfway decent polar alignment.  Thanks all for your advice on this first try.



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