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M81 and M82


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Hi all, 

I'm fairly new to imaging (this is only my 3rd DSO capture, after M51 and M13) and I consider my kit to be at the budget end of the scale. 

That said I'm learning a lot from others posts and experiences which has helped me up the learning curve a lot. 

This was 31x90s with a Skywatcher 200PDS on an NEQ6 mount, Canon 550d, Altair 60mm guidescope/GPCAM2 mono guide cam, 50% moon and somewhat murky sky conditions (there was a large halo visible around the moon for a lot of the time). 

I took only 5 dark frames (it was very late on a school night) and no other calibration frames. 

Processed with DSS, Affinity Photo, Astro Flat pro, and a fairly gentle application of Topaz Denoise AI.

It took a few goes at processing to find a balanced image, I still have a lot to learn with respect to techniques such as star masking, use of layers etc. 

My next purchase will be a coma corrector, if anyone has experience with either the Skywatcher or the Baader corrector with this scope then I'd be very grateful to hear your experiences. 

Thanks for looking, 

Rick

 

M81 and M82 final.jpg

M81 final.jpg

M82 final.jpg

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That’s a great M81/82 for a first go, much better than I achieved with more high end kit. I dare say your image was quite noisy if the moon was up and there was high cloud. Your application of a de-noise algorithm has smoothed the background but I think it’s blurred some of your galaxy detail.

The coma corrector will help in giving you sharper stars and detail in the galaxy, I think it is a sensible next step.👍

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Looks great for a third shot, certainly much better than whatever i conjured up as my third shot.

40 minutes ago, Mega_Parsec said:

Processed with DSS, Affinity Photo, Astro Flat pro, and a fairly gentle application of Topaz Denoise AI.

In my personal opinion denoising has gone too far if the image looks denoised and often its better to leave the grain as is and just try to very slightly even it out. Before denoising i would recommend just a selective desaturation on the background to reduce colournoise. This usually goes a long way to make the image look less noisy and denoising might not even be necessary. Then maybe just a bit of denoising if needed, again selectively, just on the background by using some kind of layer masking with just the background selected. To even out the denoised background and untouched signal you could run denoising on the galaxies as well but with a much lower setting.

I find that Topaz goes too far in the low light mode even with denoising set to just 1 or 2, which is why i run it like that and then fade that with the original layer with a low percentage to get a smaller effect. Typically i find that more than 50% faded will look denoised in the end because the tool is so aggressive on astrophotos (designed for daytime use, where it works great).

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20 minutes ago, tomato said:

That’s a great M81/82 for a first go, much better than I achieved with more high end kit. I dare say your image was quite noisy if the moon was up and there was high cloud. Your application of a de-noise algorithm has smoothed the background but I think it’s blurred some of your galaxy detail.

The coma corrector will help in giving you sharper stars and detail in the galaxy, I think it is a sensible next step.👍

Thanks for the feedback tomato, I think you're right 👍🏻

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4 minutes ago, ONIKKINEN said:

Looks great for a third shot, certainly much better than whatever i conjured up as my third shot.

In my personal opinion denoising has gone too far if the image looks denoised and often its better to leave the grain as is and just try to very slightly even it out. Before denoising i would recommend just a selective desaturation on the background to reduce colournoise. This usually goes a long way to make the image look less noisy and denoising might not even be necessary. Then maybe just a bit of denoising if needed, again selectively, just on the background by using some kind of layer masking with just the background selected. To even out the denoised background and untouched signal you could run denoising on the galaxies as well but with a much lower setting.

I find that Topaz goes too far in the low light mode even with denoising set to just 1 or 2, which is why i run it like that and then fade that with the original layer with a low percentage to get a smaller effect. Typically i find that more than 50% faded will look denoised in the end because the tool is so aggressive on astrophotos (designed for daytime use, where it works great).

Thanks for the detailed feedback, I will give this a try. I need to get to grips with layer masking but I can see how useful this will be 👍🏻

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