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Walking on the Moon

IC 1805 - The Heart Nebula


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I read a comment the other day where someone (jokingly) suggested that Russell Croman’s Blur Xterminator tool was merely platesolving your image and replacing it with Hubble data. The results it gives are not quite that good….but it’s very good! What he has achieved with this and his other tools has made the processing of Astro images a far more straightforward and rewarding process and helps bring out the best in your hard won data.

So this is 10 hours of SHO data on (most of) The Heart Nebula, taken with the Esprit 150 reduced by 0.77x to 808mm focal length @ f5.4 with the ZWO 2600MM Pro, Antlia 3nm filters, shot over 2 nights during the recent UK cold spell.  The stars were provided by 10 minutes each of RGB data. Flats and Dark Flats were taken. I didn’t have a set of darks at -30C but I don’t think this image has suffered for that.

It’s processed entirely within Pixinsight. After an initial crop to reduce stacking artefacts and DBE per channel, I let BXT do it’s thing.  I supplied it with an accurate PSF profile by using the Pixinsight script from https://www.skypixels.at/pixinsight_scripts.html. What it did with the stars was remarkable – I’ve never had such tiny RGB stars!  I did dial back the non-stellar sharpening from default but improvements were obvious, especially when zoomed in.

I then did an EZ soft stretch on the 3 narrowband stacks followed by StarXterminator on all 3.  An LRGB combination followed using 50% of Ha as Luminance and 75% Ha in the Green channel, to give a Cuiv style Hubble palette blend.  Inverting the image and using SCNR removed a slight magenta background.  I then played around with curves to give a colour balance I was happy with.  Some gentle LocalHistogramEqualization and DarkStructureEnhance were used to add a bit of contrast.  I then used NoiseXterminator and finally added back the RGB stars using the Rescreen pixelmath method.  

So in summary I’d heartily recommend BlurXterminator as an additional processing tool – it really is a game changer.  If nothing else, it’s probably just killed Topaz stone dead!

Thanks for looking, Simon

Higher resolution: https://www.astrobin.com/54q3lv/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sportysi/



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