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My first night of astrophotography

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So it took me a little bit of time to get everything setup, accessories plugged in and the mount polar aligned (turns out the Skyguider Pro polar scope is not particularly spectacle wearing friendly in terms of eye relief) but I got there. I then point it up at Cygnus to see what I could capture.

I was using the Samyang 85mm f1.4 AS IF on my Canon 600D. I forgot to focus my first shot, but I think my focus was okay after that. Some of my frames were good, some did have a small amount of trailing. I did 30 x 60s of Cygnus (at least I think it was, I think I can see some nebula of some description in the top right) at f4 and then I tried 30 x 60s of M31 Andromeda at f5.6 as well. I've also never done any image processing before so downloaded GIMP and did some basic curves and levels with that, and a star map on Cygnus, but that's about it. I stacked them both with 20 dark frames and 20 bias frames in DSS.

Attached are both images. Andromeda was quite low and over light pollution so there's quite a pronounced glow that made image processing tricky. Overall I'm happy woth my first attempts, but I realise I could improve tracking, take longer and defintely more frames next time and also probably not be lazy and do more darks and some flats next time around.

Cygnus - First attempt.jpg

Andromeda - First attempt.jpg

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Does anyone have any tips on processing an image like my Andromeda one where there's a glow from one side. Every time I tried stretching it too far the blew out the shot a bit too much.

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I find Astroflat Pro for PS very useful, an alternative is GradientXterminator, there are ways of using photoshop plugins in GIMP I believe.

Another way, without using plugins, is to create an artificial flat of your image, basically duplicating the image, blurring out the detail so only the gradient and background shows and subtracting the result from your main image, which should, in theory, even out your background.

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On 09/09/2021 at 20:42, tompato said:

where there's a glow from one side


Lovely shots.

Perhaps one of the best would be dedicated astro software such as Siril. It will not only remove your glow but also much of the burden of ps/gimp/dss.

Oh, and a big +1 for flat frames:)






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  • 2 weeks later...

I couldn't quite figure out how to do basic levels and things in Siril but the background tool thing was super useful. So in the end I edited it in Siril and then finished it off in GIMP and I ended up with this after a bit of a crop, which I feel is an improvement on my original attempt.

Andromeda - Second attempt.jpg

Edited by tompato
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