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MikeODay

Alnitak and Horsehead nebula in Orion (re-processed)

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Re-processed to try to bring increase the brightness of the various nebulae and increase the contrast a little without futher blowing out the stars and adding too much noise ...

 

image.jpeg

 

orignial:

 

image.jpeg

 

Orion's Belt - centred on "Alnitak", is a 1.7 magnitude triple star 740 light years from Earth and appears at one end of the belt.

The Flame nebula ( cat: NGC 2024 or Sharpless 2-277 ) ( lower centre left of the image) glows yellow-pink due to the ionising radiation that comes from Alnitak. Seen from Earth, the Flame nebula is behind Alnitak and around 80 light years further away from Earth.

The Horsehead nebula ( cat: Barnard 33 ) ( centre right of the image ) is a dark dust and gas cloud that is only visible from Earth due to the backlight illumination and silhouetting caused by the bright pink glow from the ionised hydrogen gas in the emission nebula IC 434. The bright blue reflection nebula below and to the left of the Horsehead is NGC 2023.

Details:

Combination of two sessions over a year apart.

Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian.
Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount
Orion 80mm f5 guide scope and auto guider - PHD2.
Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, no filter.
Nikon D5300 (unmodified).
14bit NEF, Long Exp. NR on. 18 Dec 2015.
21 x 20 sec ISO 800.
165 x 30 sec ISO 800.
13 x 60 sec ISO 800 .
Baader UHC-S , 12bit NEF, Long Exp. NR on. 5 Oct 2014.
19 x 2min ISO400
Pixinsight

Links:.

https://500px.com/mikeoday

http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay

 

Edited by mike005
re-processed image added
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I too like your image. Better than my efforts so far. For so little imaging time exceptional. More data will bring out a lot more detail and possibly you could tone down the blue a wee bit.

Very nice image all the same.

Derek

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Alnitak looks amazing, and so under control compared to most images I have seen! Your framing is so bang on in terms of diffraction spikes it borders on the scary.

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7 hours ago, laudropb said:

Very nice image and presentation.

Cheers.

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7 hours ago, Physopto said:

I too like your image. Better than my efforts so far. For so little imaging time exceptional. More data will bring out a lot more detail and possibly you could tone down the blue a wee bit.

Very nice image all the same.

Derek

Thanks Derek.

I will try to grab more data but will have to wait until the end of the year now.. I think most of the blue around Alnitak is atmospheric glow caused by the bright light of Alnitak passing through the large amount of moisture in the air we have down here late in the year.. It seems Sydney is heading towards a sub-tropical future.

Cheers

Mike

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Re-processed to try to increase the brightness of the various nebulae and tweak the contrast a little without further blowing out the stars or adding too much noise ...

 

image.jpeg

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On 22 June 2016 at 05:51, MarsG76 said:

Beautiful image...

Thanks, much appreciated.

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On ‎18‎/‎06‎/‎2016 at 03:22, mike005 said:

Re-processed to try to increase the brightness of the various nebulae and tweak the contrast a little without further blowing out the stars or adding too much noise ...

 

image.jpeg

A small but perceptible difference. The colours now pop more. There is a wee bit more contrast and shadow detail in the horses main and surrounding area. The red of the curtain now pops and shows more detail. I still think there is a tiny bit too much blue and the flame needs more yellow as it would appear in a fire or candle flame. All in all, a very nice image and something to be proud of. I only hope I can get near to it some day, (been trying for six years whilst learning to image :) ). All  of mine come with a  blown out Alnitak I'm awful at processing! I have yet to try my Astrodons, we will see.

I would be ecstatic with that photo. Excellent!

Derek

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7 minutes ago, Physopto said:

A small but perceptible difference. The colours now pop more. There is a wee bit more contrast and shadow detail in the horses main and surrounding area. The red of the curtain now pops and shows more detail. I still think there is a tiny bit too much blue and the flame needs more yellow as it would appear in a fire or candle flame. All in all, a very nice image and something to be proud of. I only hope I can get near to it some day, (been trying for six years whilst learning to image :) ). All  of mine come with a  blown out Alnitak I'm awful at processing! I have yet to try my Astrodons, we will see.

I would be ecstatic with that photo. Excellent!

Derek

Thanks Derek for your kind words.

It is perhaps a little over done but I am nonetheless quite pleased with the result.  Yes I agree about the yellow - I really struggle with colour balance.  I think i have probably exhausted my skills at adjusting the colours in the whole image in such a way as to keep the overall balance whilst at the same time  boosting the yellow in the Flame nebula.. I guess I could try extracting just the nebula as a separate layer and tweaking that - I'll give it some more thought..  To try to keep Alnitak from blowing up too much I combined a range of exposures and used repeated application of the Marked Stretch function in Pixinsight which boosts the lower levels without too much impact to the higher brightness areas.

All the best.

Mike

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17 minutes ago, mike005 said:

Thanks Derek for your kind words.

It is perhaps a little over done but I am nonetheless quite pleased with the result.  Yes I agree about the yellow - I really struggle with colour balance.  I think i have probably exhausted my skills at adjusting the colours in the whole image in such a way as to keep the overall balance whilst at the same time  boosting the yellow in the Flame nebula.. I guess I could try extracting just the nebula as a separate layer and tweaking that - I'll give it some more thought..  To try to keep Alnitak from blowing up too much I combined a range of exposures and used repeated application of the Marked Stretch function in Pixinsight which boosts the lower levels without too much impact to the higher brightness areas.

All the best.

Mike

It is a heck of a lot better than anything I can do so sorry for maybe seeming a bit picky. As I say my skills with processing are really non existent. I just do not enjoy that side of it at all. But I love trying to get the data. Horsehead_LRGBHaHbOIIISII_19_5_2015a_Reduced.jpg

Best I ever got and not a patch on yours.

Derek

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24 minutes ago, Physopto said:

It is a heck of a lot better than anything I can do so sorry for maybe seeming a bit picky. As I say my skills with processing are really non existent. I just do not enjoy that side of it at all. But I love trying to get the data. Horsehead_LRGBHaHbOIIISII_19_5_2015a_Reduced.jpg

Best I ever got and not a patch on yours.

Derek

No need to appologise - I appreciated your comments and the spirit in which they were made and suggestions for improvement are always welcome.

I really like your image with its great colours and detail in the clouds in and around the horse head.. I don't know much about lens effects but the  off centre concentric  blue circles over Alnitak look more like some kind of internal reflection or flare rather than anything to do with how the image was processed.

Cheers

Mike

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You are right it was taken with a set of Astronomik filters. These were all replaced by them under warranty after showing the original images to them. Full markes to them for that. Since then my wife bought me a set of Astrodons inc 3nm narrow bands. :p

Going to try them all out at Kielder soon, can't wait. If the weather gods allow of course!

Derek

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That's excellent.

Whatever I do I can't get a significant colour difference between the flame and the bit around the Horsehead

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I am certainly no expert but imaging time? Maybe more data. I would ask Olly. He certainly seems to know his stuff. I reckon that is most of my problems anyway. :unsure:

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7 hours ago, Physopto said:

You are right it was taken with a set of Astronomik filters. These were all replaced by them under warranty after showing the original images to them. Full markes to them for that. Since then my wife bought me a set of Astrodons inc 3nm narrow bands. :p

Going to try them all out at Kielder soon, can't wait. If the weather gods allow of course!

Derek

I hope you have clear skies and I look forward to seeing your images.

Cheers

Mike

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7 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

That's excellent.

Whatever I do I can't get a significant colour difference between the flame and the bit around the Horsehead

Thanks Neil, much appreciated.

 

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7 hours ago, Physopto said:

I am certainly no expert but imaging time? Maybe more data. I would ask Olly. He certainly seems to know his stuff. I reckon that is most of my problems anyway. :unsure:

Yes I am sure that would help. In my case, WhenOrion comes back later this year, I'm going to try add some longer subs to see if I can get a bit more detail and capture more of the faint colours.

Cheers

Mike

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Longer subs may be part of the star bloat problem. I have tried several different times (CCD) and may try many shorter subs now as the longer ones tend to give more problems with Alnitak. I can see the small star in the subs beside it clearly until I stretch the image. Then the problems start. Spent ages trying different things but my skills are just not up to it at present. My main thing is lack of number of subs. But the weather and other mechanical problems precluded more imagimng time. I am hoping the mechanical side is sorted so we shall see. I was thinking of using star removal then process and replace the stars after.  A bit of both may be an answer!

 Derek

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38 minutes ago, Physopto said:

Longer subs may be part of the star bloat problem. I have tried several different times (CCD) and may try many shorter subs now as the longer ones tend to give more problems with Alnitak. I can see the small star in the subs beside it clearly until I stretch the image. Then the problems start. Spent ages trying different things but my skills are just not up to it at present. My main thing is lack of number of subs. But the weather and other mechanical problems precluded more imagimng time. I am hoping the mechanical side is sorted so we shall see. I was thinking of using star removal then process and replace the stars after.  A bit of both may be an answer!

 Derek

Yes definitely in my case - with my DSLR at 400 to 800 ISO I have quite limited dynamic range so there is relatively low limit to exposure duration before the brighter stars bloat.  When I still need longer subs to shift the histogram curve away from the left I usually try taking a seies of short subs as well and combine them to produce a form of HDR image. It still tends to give a bit of a halo effect around the bright stars but it does produce a tight central star.  I played around with star removal a bit some time ago but did not have much success - I might give it another go.  

Having said that, in your case, if the unstretched subs have tight stars and the problem only appears after stretching then the way you stretch may be able to help.  Do you mask the brighter areas before you stretch?  In Pixinsight there are two ways I know of to do this:  the first is to extract a luminance layer as a new image, invert it and apply it as mask before using the histogram or curves tools to stretch the image.  The second is to use the marked-stretch tool that applies its own mask.  I have had more success with the second method and I apply it routinely now.  If you don't use Pixinsight you may need to hunt around about a bit for how to do something similar with your software. 

Cheers

Mike

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When I did that image I showed you I did not have either Straton or Pixinsight. I used Maxim DL and PS. Not very good with them and not enough data. Hopefully I will get more data this next time. That image was done with only a couple of RGB and Ha subs. Around 10 minutes each. Then problems took over. Camera cutting out and shut downs etc. I am hoping that is all sorted now. I will try your methods when and if. Loads of ideas less skill. I haven't had the chance to use Pix much in the last two years, been far to busy. So forgotten all I had learned anyway. Life at times is a bitch! :icon_scratch:

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2 hours ago, Physopto said:

When I did that image I showed you I did not have either Straton or Pixinsight. I used Maxim DL and PS. Not very good with them and not enough data. Hopefully I will get more data this next time. That image was done with only a couple of RGB and Ha subs. Around 10 minutes each. Then problems took over. Camera cutting out and shut downs etc. I am hoping that is all sorted now. I will try your methods when and if. Loads of ideas less skill. I haven't had the chance to use Pix much in the last two years, been far to busy. So forgotten all I had learned anyway. Life at times is a bitch! :icon_scratch:

Its a silly hobby really ...  when there is not too much cloud, the wind is shaking the scope and when its still and clear the moon is up and  when it is still, clear and dark some piece of equipment has decided to be a pain. Then finally, when the Gods have smiled down upon our poor troubled souls and granted the perfect night, it has been so long since the last time that I've forgotten how to make everything work :(

By the way, has anyone done a study - I'm sure that there is a correlation between clear skies and the full moon!  Perhaps its a tidal thing...

 

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