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Probably an old discussion but lets review it with some measurements:
The dark noise should only have a small influence on the total noise of the final image. Most noise is generated by the sky background. Under good conditions SQM = 20.4, I measure using my ASI1600MM-Cool the following noise (standard deviation) in a dark and in a light for an area where no stars are visible (local measurement using ASTAP):
Dark 1 x 200sec, σ = 15 (range 0..65535)
Light 1 x 200sec, σ = 130
The noise in the dark is roughly 12% of the light, which seems acceptable to me. That would argue for about the same amount of darks as lights. With a worse SQM, you can probably do 2.5 times less darks for each (magnitude) step. So under light polluted sky you can do with much less darks than lights.
If you are going to photograph with the H-alpha filter, it will be super dark. In a single H-alpha (7nm) light I measure a σ = 25r. Of these, 15 are self-noise and 10 of the incoming light. In good conditions and using an H-alpha filter, this is an argument to make much more darks than lights
Above for a monochrome camera. To measure with an OSC (color) sensor I think it is better to first split the 4 Bayer pixels into 4 files and then measure them separately.
Some measurements with my ASI1600MM-Cool, monochrome:
1 x 200 seconds, σ = 16
1 x 200 seconds - master dark, σ = 15
4 x 200 seconds combined - master dark, σ = 6.8 This is approximately 15 / square root (4)
41 x 200 seconds combined, σ = 5
90 x 200 seconds combined, σ = 3.8 This is a limit value that arises mainly from unevenness of the pixels. The noise will be smaller, approximately 15 / square root (90) is 1.6
STACKED LIGHTS noise (lights corrected with darks and flats):
11x200 seconds, σ = 70 (measured at a star free area, standard deviation in 0..65535 range, sky conditions could have been different)
18x200 seconds, σ = 36
18x200 seconds, σ = 40
40x200 seconds, σ = 26
42x200 seconds, σ = 30
44x200 seconds, σ = 25
58x200 seconds, σ = 20
95x200 seconds, σ = 16
Apparently the light noise decreases considerably while stacking more lights and I reach σ values up to 16 a 20. You do not want to stack these images with a single dark having a σ = 15. If you want to keep the dark noise added below 10% of σ = 16 then you need 100 darks because they give: 15 / square root (100) = 1.5 noise.
So this confirms for a good suburban site (SQM=20.4) you will need about the same amount (or more) darks then lights. For a more light polluted area you can take less darks since the noise from the skybackground will be abundant. For H-alpha work you better take more darks then lights.
Hi there, I've recently jumped fully into the DSO side of astrophotography and have been having trouble with stars that aren't quite round. My last two imaging sessions have produced stars seemingly pointing in different directions across the field of the image. After the first image we collimated the scope and the problem has continued but we think our collimation may still be off.
I use a SkyWatcher 130PDS with a Canon 6D Mark II and the Baader MPCC Coma Corrector. The problem persists regardless of whether or not the coma corrector is in the imaging train. It also persisted regardless of the exposure time. I have uploaded processed images which show the problem, but if unprocessed files would be more helpful I can upload them also. The processed images have been cropped slightly.
If anyone has suggestions as to what the problem could be I'd really appreciate it.