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IKO - DWB 111 Propellor Nebula - Processing Competition


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We've just released the fourth 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: 4th December 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 9th December 2020 via SGL

Thanks all and look forward to seeing your entries!

P.S - I know I said we won't run a competition every time but I think whilst we remain in lockdown here in the UK and the weather is so poor we will keep these going as a welcome distraction!

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Once again just incredible data to work with, the Sii in particular is an absolute treat!

This has got to be my favourite dataset so far, something about this object is just so appealing; the dark dust lanes looping from the bottom left up and around into the propeller are so delicate and yet hold so much detail!

My first attempt, configured as HaSHO, maintaining a hint of green to bring out some aqua colouring. I will quite likely update this at some point...



Edited by Spongey
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All done in Photoshop, mostly using levels and Curves, then when combined using Selective colour, selective HP filter, star reduction, and Ha added for a second time as Luminance.

Quite liked this orientation.




I guess I had better also submit it the same way as everyone else for easier comparison.



SHO LS.png

Edited by carastro
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Good luck again everyone.

Went for the same effect as last time by having one SCNR'd and the other not because I like the look of the greens in this particular Nebula. I didn't want to completely over do the sharpening and curves either, just go for a nice, soft look but I may go back and add some more sharpening

Processed in PI


Crop>DBE>Decon (Only Ha)>TGV>MMT>Masked Stretch


Star Halo Reduction on OIII and SII>Pixelmath combine SHO>Ha as Lum in LRGB combine>Starnet>MT>Curves>LHE>Export





Edited by matt_baker
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Each IKI narrowband image selectively stretched/sharpened/smoothed/contrast-adjusted to highlight background nebulosity without burning out the "propeller". Starnet++ run on the three stretched images. RGB combined using Ha = red, 50/50 Ha/SII = green, OIII = blue. RGB star layer prepared from unstretched narrowband data, combination as above, then pasted over starless RGB in "screen" mode.  25% Ha luminance layer added.  Image rotated 90 degrees and mirrored to reflect real sky view.  Saved as JPEG, 10% compression for upload


All non-Starnet++ processing done in PaintShop Pro7. 


Edited by Hallingskies
Processing steps corrected
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Nice to have a play with data we can only dream of in the UK (especially the Oiii and Sii), and then come back here and enjoy other people's interpretations. 

Here's my first effort this month. After going for unusual colours in the last few months I'd thought I'd try to be a bit more traditional and go for an SHO. Workflow was as below:

Stretch each channel 

Starnet++ on each channel + a gentle noise reduction.

Combine straight SHO using Pixelmath.

Adjust curves in Hue to move the Colour balance more towards Blue and Yellow

Some SCNR at around 50%, leaving a little green in, so it's not purely bi-colour.

Extract Luminance, increase contrast and apply as a mask to focus on the brighter elements of the image.

Apply LHE to being out some of the structure in the brighter sections and then use the multiscale tool enhance it a bit further.

I then use the Dark Structure Script, but I felt that this overdid it, so I mixed the before and after images in at 50% each.

Then use Pixelmath to create a star image (this time mixed HOS) and add the stars back in.

Then a little fiddle with curves and a gentle unsharp mask to make it a little crisper.

Hope you like it :) 


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Thanks for providing us with this superb data to practice our processing skills. Here is my attempt using photoshop -Just some simple stretches along with selective colour and high pass filter using masks. Used Ha as luminance layer.


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Here is my version. I found it quite difficult to get a colour scheme I liked. My first attempt at using Starnet++ in Pixinsight.

Usual ABE DBE then stretch after which I removed the stars from each channel. I had to redo the O3 as the larger stars weren't removed properly. I found out it better not to stretch too far.

Channel combined into S2HaO3 and then colour balanced. I decided I wanted the green to be quite strong. Noise reduction. Stars replaced after morphological transformation because of the different star sizes. Levels and curves to remove a strong red cast. Background neutralisation made it too green because there wasn't much background to neutralise, I ended up adjusting it in histogram transform to balance colours. Luminance channel extracted and HDR used on it. Then saturated the original colour image and combined the luminance. A little unsharp mask in PI and then further unsharp mask in PS as I find it easier to control there. Finished with a final small crop.

Thank you FLO for the data. No clear skies here for ages.



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There's a lot going on in this image!  I used a combination of PI and PS.  All the stretching in PI along with some colour tweaks.  Starnet.  PS for some further tweaks including gentle application masked overlay blend with high pass to pull out dust and filaments. Then some endless faffing around!



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