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I'm new to the astrophotography hobby. I have experience with astronomy. I am struggling to make decent deep sky images (other than M42). The images don't seem to have much definition or brightness despite a decent overall exposure time. See the below images. I have seen on this forum that people are able to take awesome images of the below objects with my same setup. Is anyone able to tell me if I am missing something, please? Do I need even more exposure time?
I use a Celestron 6SE with unmodified Canon 600D. It has a goto alt az, no EQ. I use a bahtinov mask to focus. Both images were taken with the native focal length of 1500mm, no filters or eyepieces.
The image of the Triangulum Galaxy is 180 x 15sec ISO800 images. The Crab Neb is 250 x 15sec ISO800 images. Both images had their appropriate flats, darks and biases (30 of each). I use SIRIL to stack the images, which I have had good success with M42 before (see below).
Any advice would be appreciated!
First night - missed the target and took lots of images of some nearby stars
Second night - 35 x 2 min
Third night - 60 x 2 min
I've tried stacking the two nights separately and all together to give a total of 3 hours, but the stacked images all turn out roughly same. Think I must be limited somewhere else and the extra data isn't being captured. The best of the batch was a very quick process of night 3, 2 hours. I was happy to see the bubble shape and a bit of cloudy bits 👍
Bresser AR 102/600 - Bresser HD camera - Stacked in Siril, simple process in Pixinsight
So I was fortunate enough to get one of the new Optolong L-eXtreme Filters for review, and even though there has been a heatwave this week I just had to give it a go.
On the Monday I turned the equipment to the Eastern Veil Nebula NGC 6992. I first attempted 5 minute exposures, but I wasn't getting as much signal through as I was hoping.
I ended up having to bump the exposures up to 10 minutes, ISO 800 with the L-eXtreme on the East Veil
There was a definite green colour cast to the image. But after manually correcting this with a simple levels adjustment and some editing, the final result looked good for just 2 hours of data at 30 Celsius!
I also turned this to the Pelican Nebula. I only managed to get 1.5hrs of data with this and the sensor was a whopping 33'C which damaged the data and induced some significant banding that I'm currently troubleshooting and trying to rectify. The data picked up though was nice even after an aggressive amount of noise reduction. The colours of the nebula are nice also. Very reminiscent of the Optolong L-eNhance filter (which makes sense). I just need more data and cooler data. The Pelican Nebula was shot with 5 minute sub exposures ISO800 on account of the temperature. If it was cooler I would've definitely used 10 minute exposures minimum.
First impressions are promising. Very excited to try this more and to share my thoughts with you throughout my time with this filter.
If you want further information then you can see my Optolong L-eXtreme First Impressions on YouTube
If you want further reading then you can read the post on my website.
Thanks everybody. Clear skies, keep looking up and keep them cameras clicking.
A quick sketch from the 1st September (sorry - date is wrong on the image).
M15 was still fairly low in the east but the central condensation of stars really stood out, even in a 5.5inch scope. The bright field star intruding on the edge of the image was distracting. If I had a tracking mount I'd have banished it permanently!
A lot of the extended GC was on the threshold of vision and the resolved stars faded in and out.
M15 will always have a special place for me as it was the first GC i ever saw 😍
Thanks for looking.