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Novice Challenge

First DSO - M81 (Bodes & Cigar Galaxys)


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So this is my attempt at M81.


Ive had 3 unsucsessful nights trying to get to grips with my setup, this is the first night i have actually got something to look at.

sadly i found out that windows update restarted my laptop at 0:30 when it should have been imaging until 4am.


How did i do? where do i look to improve?


80 X 30Second Exposures, stacked in DSS and Processed in Siril.

10 Dark frames.


Shot From a Bortle 7/8


SW 72ED with Stellalyra field flattener.

Canon 450D - Astro modded (i think)

HEQ5 Pro using NINA



Edited by Cole
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It is always hard to start up and know all what should be done as there is so much to learn. I am no expert in any way but there are some things that I can see on your picture.

There are a lot of diagonal stripes all over you picture, this can be removed by using dithering which should be available in NINA which I never used. Dithering moves the scope a little bit between the images. I use Astro Photography Tool and have set the dithering to to move a little after every third image. This will eliminate the stripes completely.

You as many others lives in a lightpolluted area if you don't have it already you should get a CLS (City Light Suppression) filter to your camera. I used a Canon 700D before and purchased my filter from Astronomik. The filter helps a lot.

There are many dark blobs on the picture they normally depends on a dirty sensor on the camera. You can find special pads that are used for cleaning the sensor and they should be used with care.

At least some parts to look into

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11 hours ago, Cole said:

How did i do? where do i look to improve?

That's a very nice start. Your first priority should probably be to make sure that your computer doesn't update when you don't want it to. If you have windows 10 home edition, switch to the pro edition or windows 11.

The update allows you to capture more data, which would be your next priority.

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A very nice start. Put your computer in Airplane mode so it does not communicate with the outside world. That reduces the risk of Windows stopping your capture.

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That's an excellent start! There's some good detail in there, in both galaxies, you've got spiral structure in M81 and the starburst in the Cigar.

Most points already covered above. The diagonal stripes are 'walking noise' and will be removed if you dither while capturing. NINA supports it with very little effort - in the Smart Exposure control you can just say how often to dither. It takes a little time, so keep it to every 3-6 frames.


You're using Dark frames, but you don't mention Flats. Well worth figuring them out, even though they're a bit of a nuisance, but they will likely sort out those faint dark smudges, which are probably dust motes on the sensor or on the lenses, close to the sensor.

Other than that, get more data! 40 mins is not a lot, especially in Bortle 7/8.

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