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IKO - IC59 & IC63 Ghost of Cassiopeia Data Release - Processing Competition


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We've just released the latest 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: 22nd February 2021 @ 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 26th February 2021 via SGL

Thanks all and look forward to seeing your entries!

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Nice to have something to process during this bad weather and while stuck at Home in Bortle 8.

Herewith my offering for the  IKO - IC59 & IC63 Ghost of Cassiopeia

I never seem to have much luck processing this target in SHO so I processed it in HOS.  All done in Photoshop.

Cass HaHOS.png

Edited by carastro
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I usually process in RGB only, so it's interesting to have a go at narrowband for a change.

Here's what I came up with in PixInsight:

I integrated the three images using the Hubble Palette, then removed the stars, processed the nebula to bring out some depth, reduced the star field slightly and put them back together with pixelmath. It did take a few trials to get it to here, without introducing noise into the image. 


Edited by Budgie1
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My basic SHO in Pixinsight ; same  starting point with red=SII+Ha mix, green=Ha+OIII mix, blue=OIII in pixelmath then alltered in curves LAB to make red-blue 

not sure which direction I prefer 😉 




















Edited by billhinge
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I have never tried competitive editing before but I guess lockdown has us all doing things we normally woudln't!

Mine was a combination of PI and PS, the workflow was very dynamic but was something like:

- DBE for each of the HOS for RGB.

- Levels and curves stretch (lots of little stretches) to try and stop the big star blowing out too much

- Mini stretch used as a luminosity mask to pull things back in

- Selective colour adjustment of all colours suiting to taste

- Star mask and start reduction back in PI

- More levels and curves and some colour balance

- A little bit of ACDNR and Dodge and Burn 

- Brightness and Contrast tweaks




Then I went round in circles for an hour or so changing colours and changing back again, eventually settled on this but if history is anything to go by I will want to do it completely differently tomorrow!



Edited by JSeaman
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I have been playing around with these IKO datasets, thanks for sharing them. It is nice to see how others process them 🙂

Here is my effort. Processed in Pixinsight with some masks edited in Gimp. I am too unorganized to be able list my workflow.



Edited by Viktiste
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I was wondering if, in addition to the expert prize, we could have a pole for the SGLer audience winner? No actual prize just kudos and fun for us non entrants. I realise it might be hard to do if lots of entries.

Regards Andrew 

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Here is my entry processed in PixInsight.

I have mapped it as SHO and played around a little with that big star Navi to reduce its size as it dominates the picture. I am aware that green is the result of SHO initial processing but think that the ghosts look apt in a greenish glow.

The ghosts appear to be back illuminated with the light from that star. But in actual fact it is much closer than the nebula.



Edited by TerryMcK
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I have never done anything like this before but I had a play in my trial of PixInsight but yep, no surprises, I can't get anywhere near even a colour image. I will keep trying but hats off to the entries so far as I'm beginning to understand (or not) just what's involved.......

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Here is my entry.

Channels combined in AstroPixelProcessor using SHO scheme using Ha as a luminance layer and with the following RGB weightings:

SII: R=100, G=0, B=0

Ha: R=80, G=100, B=20

OIII: R=0, G=100, B=100

I then followed this up in Photoshop with levels adjustment and selective colour to reduce magenta and boost blacks slightly. This recovers more natural looking star colours and darkens the background a touch. Lastly I boosted the blue mid tones slightly to get to an overall colour balance I was happy with.


Edited by cfinn
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And here's a bonus starless version of the above created with starnet! I used the spot healing tool in Photoshop to clean up some star removal artefacts and used the original image as a layer to blend back in Gamma Cass, whose intense UV emission is responsible for the blue light reflecting off the dust and for the red glow from the nebula through hydrogen recombination seen here in Ha.


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Lovely clean data

I fancied a black and white affair.

StarTools 1.7.456 compose module | crop |bin | wipe | auto dev with ROI | wavelet sharpern | superstructure dimsmall | wavelet sharpen | filmdev slyglow lift | denoise (using a variety of masks). saved tiff Irfanview to png for upload.

Edit: I was not happy with some star profiles and trapped it down to a step I had used in processing so re did the process minus offending step.




Edited by happy-kat
process tweaked, but you'd have to had pixel peeped to spot it before
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As mentioned above, first time ever so nobody needs to fear me but thought I'd post it anyway. It also didn't have that magenta glow on my screen at home either.... 🙂





Edited by scotty38
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Narrowband channels all log stretched in Astroart, then Starnetted.  Layer masks in PSP used to minimise "Burn out" in bright areas.  Gamma Cassiopeiae cloned out of all channels, then RGB combined in PSP, R=Ha, G=60/40 Ha/SII, B=OIII. SII overlaid as luminance to retain detail, colour balance adjusted in PSP to make it a little less green (strong SII data!).  For stars, the unstretched narrowband data was RGB combined in PSP, then saturation lifted to bring up 1810972652_colour3jpg.thumb.jpg.66b2eb25e8c14c45581ea9f7fd10d83f.jpgcolours.   Star layer pasted over nebula data in screen mode.  Final colour/luminosity balance adjusted in PSP, saved as jpg....


Edited by Hallingskies
iPad-friendly version of image substituted
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