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Walking on the Moon

M8 M20 M21 wide(ish)field with DSLR


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Finally.... I managed to get my portable kit abroad somewhere with clear skies!

I took my EQ3 pro in a medium size Aerolite suitcase padded with a thick sleeping mat. (20kg case) The counterweight and bar went in with my wife's shoes (4000kg case) and the laptop and Tamron 300mm went in my small bag hand luggage. My wife had the camera in her hand luggage. It was pretty tight for weight, and I would have struggled if it wasn't for being able to share some stuff around.

I got set up at a friend's villa on top of the deposito (100,000 litre concrete topped water tower) half way up a mountain near Almunecar - the town itself was to the south which was a bit of a shame as there was a fair amount of groundlight. Had a few good nights although some weird new pointing problems with the scope pointer on the screen going walkabout for no good reason. Maybe the circuitry was frying.

I thought this was a good target because it's pretty low back in the UK, and I reckon it was a good choice - but although the skies were clear the high temperature played havoc with noise. Night time air temperature was pushing 30 degC, and my lights showed EXIF temperatures from 36-39 degC. I didnt see that coming!! Had to cook up - literally - some new darks at similar temps, but even so the end result is pretty noisy. I tried noise reduction, but didnt like it - every version seems to just go sort of blotchy.

I used about 37 out of 63 x 120s light unfiltered, and  44 out of 61 x 300s with a UHC filter. Mostly I used the filtered result, but the reflection element in the trifid looked better on the unfiltered stack. I tried copying the whole of the blue channel over to the filtered image, but the CA was wicked (in the old sense) and everything went rather orange. So I just copied over and blended the blue channel area immediately around the trifid. The resulting colour is pretty, but a bit off really. Noise was a big issue, and I'm hoping to go over to an ASI1600 cooled which hopefully will fix that. Did several rounds of "make stars smaller" but other than that, and the initial stretch in DSS,  minimal processing.

Hope you like it - as ever happy to hear any comments or criticisms! I did a portrait version, but the landscape seems to look better.





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Hi folks - thanks for all the likes and positive comment!

I was just going to mail the image to the guy who's villa I was at, and wanted to include some general information, and in the course of this learned a good deal more about the Trifid. So I cropped the image hard and resized it, and there's a surprising amount of detail there for a 300mm lens. You can see the star forming "finger" to the South, and I cant help wonder if there's a trace of the stellar jet there also? I tihnk I'm kidding myself - it's probably an artifact - see what you think.

I've put the 1.5m Palomar version next to it. Of course there's no comparison, but I would love to give this another go with a longer scope - even the SW200 would be better.


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