Jump to content


IKO - M17 - Processing Competition


Recommended Posts

We've just released the third set of data from the Ikarus Observatory project here.

Following the wonderful entries from the first and second processing competitions we are running another to see who can get the most from this data and create the 'best' image! The winner will receive £150 of First Light Optics gift vouchers and two runners up will receive £50 of gift vouchers.

Details below:

  • Closing date: 11th November 2020 @ 22:00
  • Please post your entries into this thread
  • Please only use the data we've released - don't blend it with other data or add to it with other sources
  • Use what ever processing software and techniques you like, potential bonus points for sharing your workflow and techniques with others - that way, we all get to learn as well 🙂
  • Multiple entries are allowed but, please refrain form posting multiple attempts that are very similar - better to update an earlier attempt if it's just an incremental improvement but, it would be interesting to see totally different attempts using different narrowband blends etc...
  • If you win or are a runner up, we would really like to use your creation in future marketing materials, on our website etc.. so by entering the competition, you are giving us permission to use your image in this way.
  • Judging will be done by a small team of judges from the FLO team - It's completely subjective  but will be based on what image(s) we think do the best job of extracting the most from the data released and, look the 'prettiest' :D
  • We will announce the winners by the 16th November 2020 via SGL

Thanks all and look forward to seeing your entries!

P.S - We won't run a competition each release just every so often - we have more data to release very soon!

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As expected, amazing data once again! Here is my first attempt; I'll probably update this but it just goes to show what is possible...



EDIT: Updated to retain a little more of the core and shadows detail

Edited by Spongey
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I kind of feel like I shouldn't be entering here being still something of a novice, but here goes anyway.  Using the RGB combine tool in APP, playing with the multipliers to get what looked to me like a nice colour balance.  Then made a starless version using Starnet++ for Windows allowing me to stretch the nebula quite far in Photoshop, and then overlaid the stars back on from a less stretched version with stars still in.  I have to say though, with data this good the trick is just trying not to ruin it I think.  Hopefully I've not butchered it too badly.

M17 attempt 1.jpg

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is my process. in HaSHO

Mostly levels and curves and selective colour in Photoshop. A bit of HP filter.  Ha used for a 2nd time as luminance.  I've never imaged this target, so it was a pleasure and also interesting to do. 




Edited by carastro
  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Attempting a different colour blend this time, hoping to get a more 'natural' feel.

Red channel is 50:50 SII:Ha
Green channel is 75:25 OIII:Ha
Blue channel is all OIII

Some further adjustments in Photoshop to get to this final result.

M17 attempt 2.jpg

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Processed completely in Gimp 2.10

Ha used as luminace - stretched separately and some light noise management and sharpening applied

Created color as SHO color combination - pasted stretched Ha layer on top as luminance and used Channel combination to achieve wanted color feel of the image (no color is pure - all have been mixed in each channel to get this palette).


  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blue version of previous effort, PixInsight scnr , bit of deconvolution and tweak in PhotoshopSor

sorry didn't like the blue image so replaced it with this toned down version, I prefer the green look. HDR transform, remove some of the colourcast



Edited by billhinge
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One last try, I don't think my second was quite right, did it late at night.  Anyone notice the freaky Donald Trump face in centre 😮

second upload colour corrected and toned down




Edited by billhinge
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've couldn't decide on which one I liked better and I feel as if the extra green before applying SCNR really lets this target stand out well.

Again, it's a pleasure to process this data, so thanks to FLO and IKO for releasing it and good luck to you all.

I might have another try in a few days to see if there's any more I can squeeze out






Edited by matt_baker
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is mine in HSO as I quite like the colour combination.


All done in PixInsight (for once no Photoshop!)

Here is the process:

  1. Combine with Channel Combination - R=Ha, G=SII, B=OIII
  2. Dynamic Background Extraction - 25 samples, tolerance 0.5, Shadow relaxation 3 and smoothing factor 0.25 unweighted
  3. Photometric colour calibration - based upon the data/ focal length, and pixel size embedded in the xisf data - white reference Average Spiral Galaxy
  4. Histogram transformation based upon the auto STF and a little manipulation of the black/mid points of RGB
  5. Convert to RGBWorking space
  6. Minor adjustment of luminance within curves
  7. Local histogram Equilization - first run Kernel radius 25, Contrast Limit 1.5, Amount 0.180 (8-bit) - second run Kernel radius 75
  8. Inverted image. SCNR on red component to remove halo from some stars and reinverted image
  9. Ran starnet on resulting image and produced a star map
  10. Slightly increased saturation on starless image
  11. Ran pixelmath to add 75% of the star map back to the starless image
  12. Applied sRGB IEC61966-2.1 ICC profile to image
  13. Exported image as PNG



Edited by TerryMcK
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another marvelous set of data. I decided to go away from my usual workflow and process each channel separately as far as possible to bring out the best in each channel and then combine.
The process on each of the channels was:

Gentle de-noise in the multi-scale tool under a luminance mask (Oiii and Sii only, no discernible noise in Ha channel)
Masked Stretch using area of reference on each channel
Star removal with Starnet
Fix a few leftover star artefacts
Stronger de-noise to resolve noise introduced by Starnet
Create a “Stars” image for each channel by subtracting starless from star
Gentle convolution of 4 and 8 pixel scale under a luminance mask protecting the darker bits.
A bit of LHE to enhance the contrast under the same mask.

Channels now ready to combine, but Ha was much stronger than the other 2 (as it usually is) and I had a choice between toning it down a bit, or finding another way to avoid it drowning out the other 2 channels. I decided on the second method so that I could retain the strong signal of the top left of the picture. 
First version was intended to be natural-ish. Combination was as below for the nebula and a simple HOS for the stars.

Red Channel = Ha – sum of Oiii and Sii
Green Channel = Oiii
Blue Channel = Sii + Oiii weakened

There was no real science behind this, just trying to find a combination that I liked after the initial simple SOH combination looked a bit too raspberry ripple for my taste.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This might be a bit lurid for some tastes…

I always think that since we’re doing false colour anyway, why not really push the boat out? I understand that there’s a bit of a convention around naturalistic and SHO palettes, but its fun to play around. Processing of the channels is as per the versions above, combination is then as below:

Red Channel = Sii
Green Channel = Oiii-Sii (to make both stand out) plus a little Ha to give a bit of Cyan to the blue.
Blue Channel = Ha – sum of Oiii and Sii (to stop the Ha totally dominating where other gases were present, but allow me to get a strong signal in the fainter areas of Ha).


Edited by Whistlin Bob
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very interesting subject - I love the dark nebulosity in the centre, and the detail in the upper loop.

Here's my attempt, processed in StarTools using HaSHO palette. Put the stretched data through Starnet, then subtracted the starless image from the original to create a starfield. Overlaid this on top of the starless version, and blended with Lighten Only it at ~50%. Desaturated the magenta in both the nebula and the starfield, and used Gimp to bring out the contrast in the upper loop, and increase saturation in the cyan and yellow.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.