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The Moon with 8''


astrolulu
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The night of October 17 in my area turned out to be particularly fruitful in terms of astrophotography - thanks to exceptionally good seeing. The quality of photos details taken that night clearly exceeds what I have been able to achieve with the SCT telescope of the same 8 '' diameter - and even what I was able to get with the larger C9.25. I looked closely at my photos made so far - I've focused for example on Clavius - and I must say that this inconspicuous 8 '' Newtonian really surprised me by showing what he can do with good seeing!

Here are the fruits of that amazing night:

TYCHO-2022-10-17-A-d1.5x58-Celestron-C8-


COPERNICUS-2022-10-17-A-d1.5x58-Celestro


MARE-IMBRIUM-2022-10-17-d1.5x58-Celestro


RUPES-RECTA-2022-10-17-A-d1.5x58-Celestr


SCHILLER-2022-10-17-d1.5x58-Celestron-C8


SINUS-IRIDUM-2022-10-17-1-d1.5x58-Celest

 

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Thank you! This time the quality was mainly influenced by the seeing. The pictures are a step ahead in terms of detail compared to what this telescope can show in average conditions. I'm afraid this is an opportunity that we only get a few times a year...

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On 25/10/2022 at 15:36, astrolulu said:

The night of October 17 in my area turned out to be particularly fruitful in terms of astrophotography - thanks to exceptionally good seeing. The quality of photos details taken that night clearly exceeds what I have been able to achieve with the SCT telescope of the same 8 '' diameter - and even what I was able to get with the larger C9.25. I looked closely at my photos made so far - I've focused for example on Clavius - and I must say that this inconspicuous 8 '' Newtonian really surprised me by showing what he can do with good seeing!

Well, if anyone ever suggests that an 8" Newtonian is not an imaging telescope, I think you have just proved them wrong!

Wonderful results! Keep showing us what is possible with modest equipment.

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Hi Mandy, I think there is no doubt about the Newtonian telescope's potential for astrophotography of the planets and the Moon. The discussions - at least here in Poland - concern the usefulness of the Newtonian telescope as an instrument for planetary and lunar visual observations. Many fans of high-quality refractors are trying to prove that the Newtonian telescope is not able to compete in this field with smaller but much more sophisticated instruments such as fluorites or apo.

In my opinion, these images show a certain potential of the Newtonian telescope, which may be difficult to use in average seeing conditions, when a smaller, yet high-quality refractor has the chance to show much better picture. However, in very good conditions, it happens that what you can see in the photos becomes available also through the eyepiece - to an extent depending on the seeing quality. Then the 8 '' Netwon will easily beat the 5 '' apo 🙂

Edited by astrolulu
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13 minutes ago, astrolulu said:

Hi Mandy, I think there is no doubt about the Newtonian telescope's potential for astrophotography of the planets and the Moon. The discussions - at least here in Poland - concern the usefulness of the Newtonian telescope as an instrument for planetary and lunar visual observations. Many fans of high-quality refractors are trying to prove that the Newtonian telescope is not able to compete in this field with smaller but much more sophisticated instruments such as fluorites or apo.

In my opinion, these images show a certain potential of the Newtonian telescope, which may be difficult to use in average seeing conditions, when a smaller, yet high-quality refractor has the chance to show much better picture. However, in very good conditions, it happens that what you can see in the photos becomes available also through the eyepiece - to an extent depending on the quality. Then the 8 '' Netwon will easily beat the 5 '' apo 🙂

Oh, I totally agree. I am a big fan of Newts as you know and understand their benefits for imaging!

It is curious that you mention fluorite as a type of glass used in refractors, as I was just reading up on a particular type of fluorite a few minutes ago, which is only found here in the Derbyshire Peak District. It is a most beautiful example of the mineral. Here is a link to one of the articles I was reading:

https://bluejohnstone.com/the-ridley-vein-discovery/

I was in Castleton, yesterday, after photographing the solar eclipse at Stanage Edge a few miles away, hence why I was reading about flourite.

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Those are fabulous captures, the subtle colour really brings them to life. As for sheer resolution I think you could still do better with the 8” newt. What is your sampling rate? 
 

My best detail from the same class of scope (well, an 8.5” newt) is below and I think you could get close to this with your 8” in excellent seeing and correct sampling.

 

CC7BB466-26A7-4191-B030-4E4E0BB15F93.png

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WOW! Absolutely unbelievable quality - I doubt if I could achieve a similar effect.

I'm a bit oversampled at the moment and a slight increase in focal length by using a 2.5x Barlow instead of 2x would probably help to improve the quality of details, but I treat this telescope as a temporary occupation while looking for a larger instrument, so I'm content with what I have at my disposal. 🙂

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3 hours ago, Mandy D said:

Oh, I totally agree. I am a big fan of Newts as you know and understand their benefits for imaging!

It is curious that you mention fluorite as a type of glass used in refractors, as I was just reading up on a particular type of fluorite a few minutes ago, which is only found here in the Derbyshire Peak District. It is a most beautiful example of the mineral. Here is a link to one of the articles I was reading:

https://bluejohnstone.com/the-ridley-vein-discovery/

I was in Castleton, yesterday, after photographing the solar eclipse at Stanage Edge a few miles away, hence why I was reading about flourite.

Nice 🙂 I have to admit that I am not sure if the name "fluorite" means that the lens is made of natural minerals, or is it just a marketing name for synthetic glass such as FPL-53 etc. But it seems very possible to me that it is a natural material. Fluorite lenses are famous for their fragility - if it were a synthetic material, this problem would probably be overcome...

Edited by astrolulu
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Wonderful Lunar images here, and so good to see that our Moon is still, and hopefully will remain
an exciting, and rewarding subject for AP's.  It's orbit around earth, offers it up for many angles striking its  surface, and therefore 
numerous light and shadow changes across the rugged surface, offering exciting targets for cameras to capture.
I  congratulate those who have submitted the many terrific Images in this thread.
Great  stuff, and I look forward to more.
Ron. 👍👍.

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Its definitely some of the best seeing I've seen around for quite some time. Your processing is also super revealing of the seeing. If i had to be super critical i would say at full size. some of the images are verging on grain noise. But that may be your preference i am not sure. I will say you make me wonder if i am under sharpening. But i do feel fairly certain looking at some of them on a 32 " 4 k monitor. there is a element of grain noise in between the detail. 

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Thank you very much for your inspiring and very motivating comments! As for the grain, I still remember the analog times when films with high ISO performance were used. They had a distinct, coarse grain - so I tend to treat this as a "technological feature" that is acceptable.

Due to my laziness and impatience, as well as a relatively weak computer, I try not to exceed 1600 frames per photo. And here is the question of how many of this small total number should be used while stacking. Usually, I choose for the finer details, at the expense of more noise, meaning I only use 10% of the pot. 160 frames... - hard to avoid noise while sharpening as much as the fine details allow. But of course - I'd rather have an attractive-looking contrast of the smooth lava surface with the jagged craters of the highlands!

When it comes to sharpening, I have the opposite dilemma - I have the impression that I am exaggerating and that I am failing to implement my own postulate, which is: sharpen it so that it looks sharp, but not sharpened! 🙂

Edited by astrolulu
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2 hours ago, astrolulu said:

Thank you very much for your inspiring and very motivating comments! As for the grain, I still remember the analog times when films with high ISO performance were used. They had a distinct, coarse grain - so I tend to treat this as a "technological feature" that is acceptable.

Due to my laziness and impatience, as well as a relatively weak computer, I try not to exceed 1600 frames per photo. And here is the question of how many of this small total number should be used while stacking. Usually, I choose for the finer details, at the expense of more noise, meaning I only use 10% of the pot. 160 frames... - hard to avoid noise while sharpening as much as the fine details allow. But of course - I'd rather have an attractive-looking contrast of the smooth lava surface with the jagged craters of the highlands!

When it comes to sharpening, I have the opposite dilemma - I have the impression that I am exaggerating and that I am failing to implement my own postulate, which is: sharpen it so that it looks sharp, but not sharpened! 🙂

Your actually close to perfection i would say. Though there is just that element of exaggerated appearance on some areas at full size. Middle of plato has some posterization. ( often a problem there )  Its not often i see lunar images on here that make me wonder if i am under sharpening. But you certainly did that. I do think the overall noise floor and or balance at full size could look slightly more natural. Not sure if its more frames or what. But something.

Your seeing is just so superb. and your revealing processing so fine. you seem to trade a touch of naturalness for revealing detail. Its a trade off thats hard to argue with. I've always worried about naturalness. But you do seem to present a information extravaganza. I hope i get seeing this good in the future that's for sure. The only way you can improve at this size scope. is perhaps a touch more naturalness. But what you lose in naturalness. you more than make up for in detail. So is rather confusing in that respect ? What is detail and what is noise is hard to determine in your shots.

Sometimes I think I am seeing noise. and then I think hold on is that detail?  visa versa. But I am glad you showed your excellent work many could learn a thing or two from this. including me 

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3 hours ago, astrolulu said:

Thank you very much for your inspiring and very motivating comments! As for the grain, I still remember the analog times when films with high ISO performance were used. They had a distinct, coarse grain - so I tend to treat this as a "technological feature" that is acceptable.

Due to my laziness and impatience, as well as a relatively weak computer, I try not to exceed 1600 frames per photo. And here is the question of how many of this small total number should be used while stacking. Usually, I choose for the finer details, at the expense of more noise, meaning I only use 10% of the pot. 160 frames... - hard to avoid noise while sharpening as much as the fine details allow. But of course - I'd rather have an attractive-looking contrast of the smooth lava surface with the jagged craters of the highlands!

When it comes to sharpening, I have the opposite dilemma - I have the impression that I am exaggerating and that I am failing to implement my own postulate, which is: sharpen it so that it looks sharp, but not sharpened! 🙂

Your actually close to perfection i would say. Though there is just that element of slightly exaggerated appearance on some areas at full size. Middle of plato has some posterization. ( often a problem there )  Its not often i see lunar images on here that make me wonder if i am under sharpening. But you certainly did that. I do think the overall noise floor and or balance at full size could look slightly more natural. Not sure if its more frames or what. But something.

Your seeing is just so superb. and your revealing processing so fine. you seem to trade a touch of naturalness for revealing detail. Its a trade off thats hard to argue with. I've always worried about naturalness. But you do seem to present a information extravaganza. I hope i get seeing this good in the future thats for sure. The only way you can improve at this size scope. on this. is perhaps a touch more naturalness. But what you lose in naturalness. you more than make up for in detail. So can both be got ? maybe 

 

Ok upon further looking there is considerable noise around that might masquerade as detail 

Two examples here that highlight it quite clearly. I think elements of this are running through the images in different places. But the detail your getting out is so fine and the seeing so good its hard to differentiate what is what. But the two examples here clearly show. More frames would likely help. 

MARE-IMBRIUM-2022-10-17-d1.5x58-Celestron-C8-N.jpg A.jpg

SINUS-IRIDUM-2022-10-17-1-d1.5x58-Celestron-C8-N.jpg b.jpg

150% i dont think all those spots are craters on the floor of plato. I think quite a few must be noise. And if you look on the two blow ups the noise is in different places confirming it. you need either more frames or less sharpening

MARE-IMBRIUM-2022-10-17-d1.5x58-Celestron-C8-N.jpg A.png 150.png

SINUS-IRIDUM-2022-10-17-1-d1.5x58-Celestron-C8-N.jpg b.bmp example 2.png

Edited by neil phillips
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Thanks for comment. You are right - the problem of noise is a separate "methodological" issue and can be approached in many different ways.

As I wrote elsewhere, I consider it to be a "technological feature" such as film grain, printing raster or paper texture. An additional advantage of using it is leaving the definition of the smallest details at the level of some understatement, which sometimes seems "truer" to me. What I mean is that applying techniques to produce an attractive looking image, does not always reflect the true nature of the lunar surface. For example, smooth lava is brought to a "perfect finish" and looks almost polished, while in fact it is scratched with an infinite number of smaller and smaller craters. Due to the presence of grain or noise, we cannot say whether they are there - because this scale is already lost in the grain. If the image has been filtered to artificially smooth the lava surface, we can see that nothing is there - although that's not true ....

The problem starts in cases like you have shown, where the grain unintentionally appears locally, suggesting that it is due to the presence of some objects on the surface. Meanwhile, here it probably resulted from the algorithm of filters in Photoshop, which above a certain threshold worked differently than in the area next to it. Surely I would like to have less noise, but number of frames I collect is to small to get a better effect ...

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58 minutes ago, astrolulu said:

Thanks for comment. You are right - the problem of noise is a separate "methodological" issue and can be approached in many different ways.

As I wrote elsewhere, I consider it to be a "technological feature" such as film grain, printing raster or paper texture. An additional advantage of using it is leaving the definition of the smallest details at the level of some understatement, which sometimes seems "truer" to me. What I mean is that applying techniques to produce an attractive looking image, does not always reflect the true nature of the lunar surface. For example, smooth lava is brought to a "perfect finish" and looks almost polished, while in fact it is scratched with an infinite number of smaller and smaller craters. Due to the presence of grain or noise, we cannot say whether they are there - because this scale is already lost in the grain. If the image has been filtered to artificially smooth the lava surface, we can see that nothing is there - although that's not true ....

The problem starts in cases like you have shown, where the grain unintentionally appears locally, suggesting that it is due to the presence of some objects on the surface. Meanwhile, here it probably resulted from the algorithm of filters in Photoshop, which above a certain threshold worked differently than in the area next to it. Surely I would like to have less noise, but number of frames I collect is to small to get a better effect ...

I agree the answer is not to artificially remove the noise by killing the detail. The answer is to either subtract the noise. leaving the detail intact or more frames. if you have constraints on the number of frames you can collect. its a shame. Because everything else you are doing is so good it would certainly perfect your technique even more. When I say more frames I do not mean subpar frames. I mean longer captures to cherry pick the quality you consider to be good enough to go into a stack. I kept looking at your images. But could not figure out why I felt there was noise. sometimes I got confused what was noise and what was not. I can now tell why that is. The only thing I would be careful about is adding detail that's not there, that seems to suggest its real through blending into real detail. I get it you're pushing what is possible sharpening wise. And doing an amazing job. But at your level which is top of the imaging tree. There is always room for improvement as in my own images. Would like to see you try and get more frames on another night. to see if you can rid the problem of noise and or false detail. At first glance it looks impressive. But after a while something just doesn't sit right. I have always thought noise is to be avoided. So, your images have changed my perception a lot. Because of you I now think I have been under sharpening. No one has done that to me before. But your images are so detailed they speak for themselves. some of the best 8" captures i have seen. I think your processing is amazing. But as with most things clearly you could perfect it even more. 

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Thank you for these thought-provoking remarks. I think they will encourage me to try a bit longer sessions. I have the biggest problem with processing - if the 1.5x drizzle option is used, stacking takes hours for me, and getting a few frames for further processing at 6 mpx resolution often takes 2-3 days. What's worse, I'm going to replace the 178MC camera with an 183 MC, which means a frame with over 3 times more data. It's scary to think how long it will take to process such photos ...

Speaking of noise, I meant a slightly different problem. In my opinion, noise allows to avoid artificial definition of an image where resolution does not allow it.

I gave the example of the maria areas. Very often we see pictures where such surfaces are perfectly smooth, with very precisely and clearly marked, few craters. This is the effect of artificial noise removal. Togethrer with the noise, all the wealth of details is removed. They are too small to be sharpened and revealed, but certainly should not disappear without a trace, giving the effect of a plastic, almost shiny surface. The presence of noise gives a certain security buffer and allows you to avoid the need to specify e.g. the surface texture,  when resolution does not allow it. Filters such as remove noise or median tempt with this possibility - but I try not to use it.

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1 hour ago, astrolulu said:

Thank you for these thought-provoking remarks. I think they will encourage me to try a bit longer sessions. I have the biggest problem with processing - if the 1.5x drizzle option is used, stacking takes hours for me, and getting a few frames for further processing at 6 mpx resolution often takes 2-3 days. What's worse, I'm going to replace the 178MC camera with an 183 MC, which means a frame with over 3 times more data. It's scary to think how long it will take to process such photos ...

Speaking of noise, I meant a slightly different problem. In my opinion, noise allows to avoid artificial definition of an image where resolution does not allow it.

I gave the example of the maria areas. Very often we see pictures where such surfaces are perfectly smooth, with very precisely and clearly marked, few craters. This is the effect of artificial noise removal. Togethrer with the noise, all the wealth of details is removed. They are too small to be sharpened and revealed, but certainly should not disappear without a trace, giving the effect of a plastic, almost shiny surface. The presence of noise gives a certain security buffer and allows you to avoid the need to specify e.g. the surface texture,  when resolution does not allow it. Filters such as remove noise or median tempt with this possibility - but I try not to use it.

I agree most noise removal should be avoided. The longer session sounds good. look forward to seeing your experiments if you try. I don't believe noise should be tolerated if it can be stacked out. A good laptop or pc is needed for these kinds of things. Yes the 183, is going to cause problems on anything other than a fast laptop. Wanted that camera for a while.  The Maria is an interesting discussion. One I am going to think about. As you are correct over smoothing should be avoided to lessen detail loss. But still firmly believe. Allowing digital noise to creep into the images isn't the answer either. Replacing one problem for another. It really does seem to be a stack size solution perhaps.

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I think even with the 1600 frames I collect, the amount of noise could be reduced. It's good that you paid attention to it. It didn't bother me that much, but it's good to know I'm not representative here.

Two methods come to mind. Both consist in reducing the amount of noise at the expense of deteriorating the quality of details, in order to sharpen them later a little more than usual:

1. Using e.g. 15 or 20% of the pool of frames instead of 10%
or
2. Use 1.5x drizzle and pre-remove noise before reducing and sharpening the image.

In both cases, I would need to sharpen the image a bit more, because both methods result in weaker details at the input.

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27 minutes ago, astrolulu said:

I think even with the 1600 frames I collect, the amount of noise could be reduced. It's good that you paid attention to it. It didn't bother me that much, but it's good to know I'm not representative here.

Two methods come to mind. Both consist in reducing the amount of noise at the expense of deteriorating the quality of details, in order to sharpen them later a little more than usual:

1. Using e.g. 15 or 20% of the pool of frames instead of 10%
or
2. Use 1.5x drizzle and pre-remove noise before reducing and sharpening the image.

In both cases, I would need to sharpen the image a bit more, because both methods result in weaker details at the input.

With all the hard work we do to get the highest quality, I suppose I just assume that others want to get the best out of there equipment. time and effort. If that's not the case, then i am wasting my time talking about it. Noise has always been a major hate of mine. But I suppose that's not true for everyone.  Each to their own satisfaction.

But i don't feel I've touched the surface of what i will do in the future myself and love going forward in quality. And in fact, are once again planning for it. with bigger mount and scope again.

Also, I don't think all hi-res lunar has to be downsized to that level to be acceptable. I showed it to you. To agree with you i understood your very valid point. And have used it to good effect myself. I have larger versions not as sharp. But you can still see more because it's easier to discern two close points

  Anyway i will look out for anything you try in the future. Don't think you should be trying anything just because i suggested it. I suggested because I suppose I assume ( sometimes wrongly ) others like perfecting to best of their ability there own work. Good luck if you fancy trying. And once again great captures

 

Edited by neil phillips
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I think sometimes it's hard to just reconcile two goals. One is the aesthetic effect, i.e. making a nice picture. The second one has a more documentary character - we want to boast about difficult to "catch" details that we managed to hunt down ...

Coming back to the noise problem - I tried version 2 - i.e. pre-filtering the noise on the image stacked with the 1.5x drizzle option. The noise is of course less, but as with noise reduction - everything becomes more "plastic". It seems that the photo should be smaller in this version.

SINUS-IRIDUM-2022-10-17--1B--(d1.5x58)-Celestron-C8-N.jpg

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3 hours ago, astrolulu said:

I think sometimes it's hard to just reconcile two goals. One is the aesthetic effect, i.e. making a nice picture. The second one has a more documentary character - we want to boast about difficult to "catch" details that we managed to hunt down ...

Coming back to the noise problem - I tried version 2 - i.e. pre-filtering the noise on the image stacked with the 1.5x drizzle option. The noise is of course less, but as with noise reduction - everything becomes more "plastic". It seems that the photo should be smaller in this version.

SINUS-IRIDUM-2022-10-17--1B--(d1.5x58)-Celestron-C8-N.jpg

I agree trading one problem for another. More frames is likely the answer. Probably the 32" 4 k monitor I use highlights these things more than what is seen generally on a laptop screen. It's a good alternative. But totally agree you are trading one problem for another. Not to be defeatist. But capturing larger stacks next time might be the goal. Either way your work is something exciting. And that is worth its weight in gold

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I will try different methods, but let's face it - the aperture determines the scale and if there is a feeling that the photo would look better when reduced, the only real salvation is the larger diameter of the telescope. I'm working on it too - but so far to no avail ...

Meanwhile - Oceanus Procellarum - the land of lunar ejecta... 🙂

ARISTARCHUS-2022-10-17-B-d1.5x58-Celestr

 

Edited by astrolulu
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