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My first DSO images - M31 and M42

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Hey everyone!

I thought I'd share my first ever DSO images. I'm pleased with them, since they are all single-shot files; I tried stacking with darks, flats, bias, etc... using DeepSkyStacker, but I actually preferred the single-shot edits to the end result. Both are taken with my Canon 1100D DSLR, and they are 3 minute shots at ISO 1600. My setup is also pretty simple - a Sky-Watcher 130PDS on an EQ-5 with just a simple motor on the RA axis.

Thanks for looking! I'm hoping to get some other, fainter objects in due course including M81/M82, M33, M1 and a cluster or two.



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Hi george7378,

While doing lot of subs, hours of processing and expensive gear will of course get you better images, I am also in favor of doing quick imaging like these you have done because you do get to "see" things you wouldn't at the eyepiece and you also have some  record of your observing sessions.


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Very nice first results. M31 and M42  are bright, so 1 sub already shows a lot. But the weaker targets demand more signal (= stacking). Have you figured out why dss didn't give you better results? How many subs were actually used in the dss stacked image? 

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Thanks for the replies. Yep - I'm actually just happy getting something I can share and play with right now! I am keen to try M33 again though, with a few more shots stacked together.

Regarding the stacking - I'm not 100% sure, no. I was using DeepSkyStacker with default settings, and I had 30 lights and 15 each of dark, bias and flat. The M31 photo above is just one of my lights from this session.

The final stacked photo preview in DSS looks pretty workable:


...but when I load Autosave.tif into GIMP, it looks terrible:


I tried adjusting curves, levels, exposure, darks, highlights, and all the usual things I fiddle with when photo editing, but I couldn't get anything that looks as good as just a single RAW frame! Also, maybe it's just me, but the stacked stars look blurrier and de-focussed compared to any one single light frame.

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