Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Orion Constellation - Barnard's Loop

I have been wanting to shoot Barnard's Loop (part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex) for a long time.  This is not a great shot as I took this a couple of weeks ago when there was extra light pollution due to Christmas lights in our neighborhood (and my own house) which is why it appears washed out in the lower right region.  I will of course make another attempt perhaps with UHC filter sometime in the future.  Still, it is visible as is the Orion nebula, the Flame Nebula, Horsehead Nebula, and part of the Rosette Nebula.  If you look close enough the Witch Head nebula and M78 are also visible.

Addendum:
A little more processing on Barnard's Loop and lowered the brightness on Orion. I think of done all I can with this set of data. The next step is to see if I can get some exposures with no light pollution. I just put my name for in NASA's next moon mission so I can get better shots... -
Addendum

Original


Orion Constellation - Barnard's Loop
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 12/22/16 11:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Canon 50mm EF Lens
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 50mm
f/4.0
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 48 x 60 sec (48 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 25 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Astrophotography Tools, StarTools

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Horsehead Nebula - IC434

This is my last image of 2016.  I took a break from imaging Messier objects.  It shows the Horsehead Nebula (IC 434, a.k.a. Barnard 33) and the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) captured from the Happy Frog Observatory at my home in Monroe, CT.

The Horsehead Nebula is located just to the south of the star Alnitak and is approximately 1500 light years from Earth.  The name comes from shape of its swirling cloud of dark dust and gases which resembles a horse's head when viewed from Earth.  Very large telescope images show this very well. The reddish color is from hydrogen gas behind the Horsehead Nebula which is ionized by the nearby bright star Sigma Orionis (source: wikipedia).

The Flame Nebula is an emission nebula is about 900 to 1,500 light-years away.  Again, the bright star Alnitak is responsible as it shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame.  The light knocks electrons away from the clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine (source; wikipedia).

More Processing

Sharpen-StarTools

Un-sharpened

Horsehead Nebula (IC 434, a.k.a. Barnard 33) and Flame Nebula (NGC 2024)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 12/29/16 and 12/30/16, 11:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Astronomik Clip-UHC
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 55 x 180 sec (2 hrs 45 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 25 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Astrophotography Tools, StarTools

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Astronomik UHC Clip-Filter Test

While in Baltimore visiting my sister for Christmas, I had the opportunity to test out my Astronomik UHC Clip-Filter. According to Astronomik, the Ultra High Contrast (UHC) filter allows the transmission of nearly 100% of the radiation from both O-III and the H beta lines. Annoying scattered light from other wavelength sources, including local artificial light pollution, is filtered out. As a result, detail becomes visible for gas nebulae and planetary nebulae.

I am especially interested in this as I would like to get a decent image of the Orion Constellation with Barnard's Loop, the Flame Nebula, and etc. I attempted this a week ago with partial success in that I did get some of Barnard's Loop, however, light pollution (bad gradient) near the bottom of the image made it impossible to resolve. It may have been do to excessive Christmas light pollution. I want to try this again with no Christmas lights and with the UHC filter but wanted to do a a quick test before I do it for real.

The test was done in downtown Baltimore with heavy light pollution with two lenses. The first test was done with my Opteka 6.5 mm Fisheye lens and the second test was done with my Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 lens (this is the lens that I want to do the constellation image with). Of course it was slightly out of focus on the UHC image with the fisheye lens.

Opteka Fisheye
Astronomik OWB - 30s, ISO 800

No Filter - 30s, ISO 800

Astronomik UHC - 30s, ISO 800

Canon 50 mm
Astronomik OWB - 10s, ISO 800

No Filter - 10s, ISO 800

Astronomik UHC - 10s, ISO 3200

Processing the image a bit


The results are promising as only the UHC Filter image shows the the Horsehead and Flame Nebula along with the Orion Nebula using the 50 mm lens. The other images only show Orion. The ISO was set at 3200 for the UHC shot, however, non UHC images were white when I set the ISO at 3200.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

M37 - Open Cluster

I finished off the open clusters in Auriga last week with this image of Messier 37 (M37 or NGC 2099).  It is the brightest of three open clusters in Auriga and was discovered by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Battista Hodierna before 1654. Charles Messier independently rediscovered M37 in September 1764.  Its age is estimated anywhere between 347 million to 550 million years and is around 4,500 light-years from Earth. The diameter is about 20–25 ly.  Also, M37 has at least a dozen red giants and its hottest surviving main sequence star has an elemental abundance that is similar to the Sun. (source: wikipedia)

This is my 50th Messier object I have captured (it's a psychological milestone).
Messier Objects with an ED80 or Messier Astro Pics by Kurt Zeppetello.

Close Up

Wide Field

Wide Field - Black and White
M37 (NGC 2099)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 12/09/16 11:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 39 x 90 sec (58.5 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 25 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools, Astrophotography Tools

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Messier 38

Messier 38 (M38) is also know as the Starfish Cluster (NGC 1912), is an open star cluster located in constellation Auriga. Also visible is the the cluster NGC 1907 located in the center bottom of the images. M38 is 4,200 light years from Earth. It has an apparent magnitude of 7.4 and is invisible to the naked eye. The estimated age of the cluster is 220 million years. The brightest star in M38 is a yellow giant with an apparent magnitude of 7.9. The absolute magnitude of -1.5 making it 900 times more luminous than the Sun. (source: Messier Objects)

Imaging this was quite easy once I got it in my camera's view. It was cold and the moon was starting to show itself but it was not overwhelming.  What was difficult was the processing.  I did two DSS versions, one with 15% saturation and another with 30% saturation in order to collect the nebulosity. I should have tried for even more data to make the processing less of a headache. Oh well! I improved my processing skills in PS as a result. I very happy I had the modified camera (Hap Griffin) otherwise I would not have collected and nebulosity.

I once again watched one of Ian Norman's Lonely Speck tutorial video's over again and again until I was able to do some of the things he makes look easy.  Basically I processed the 15% image for the stars to get the main background image. Next I made a separate layer out of the 30% image to for the nebulosity and then blended it with the 15% image.  If any of that that makes sense, great.

This represents the 49th Messier Object I have captured. The rest can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/messierobjectsed80/ or http://astropicskurtzepp.blogspot.ca/.

Image 1 - Processed 15% DSS Saturation

Image 2 - Processed 15% DSS Saturation with 30% Nebula blended

Image 3 - Cropped, Processed 15% DSS Saturation with 30% Nebula blended

Image 4 - Closeup, Processed 15% DSS Saturation

Image 5 - 30% DSS Saturation

M38 - The Starfish Cluster (NGC 1912)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 12/08/16 11:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 17 x 120 sec (34 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 25 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools, Astrophotography Tools

Sunday, December 11, 2016

M1 - The Crab Nebula

Messier 1 (NGC 1952) or the Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant in the constellation Taurus and is approximately 6300 light years from us and 10 light years in diameter.

Chinese and Arab astronomers recorded the supernova event in the summer of 1054 in the constellation Taurus.  They described it as a "guest star" that was brighter than Venus and visible in the daytime for several weeks. It is believed the Anasazi (native Americans in the southwest) recorded it in a wall painting in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The Crab Nebula has been identified as the remnant of this supernova - a massive star that collapsed after exhausting its supply of fuel nuclear resulting as a spectacular explosion. M1 is the outwardly expanding shell of ionized gas thrown off in this cataclysmic event (source: Fred Espanek, Astropixels.com).

I captured M1 over two nights and represents the 48th Messier Object I have taken, only 62 left.  Some of the images have diffraction spikes (star crosses) on the larger stars while some of the images have none.  So did I get a new scope and shoot two separate images?  I added the spikes using the Photoshop Plugin - Astrophotography Tools.  I did a lot of processing on these images as I develop my own technique.  I was trying to follow Ian Norman from Lonely Speck and have used his method for removing the gradients in Lightroom but processing usin his LRGB method was a bit overweening for now. I was able to follow Trevor Jones from AstroBackyard and combined his method with my own to obtain decent results.

Crop2 - PS, LR2, AT, ST - Showing Spikes

Crop2 - PS, LR2, AT, ST


Crop1 - PS, LR2, AT, ST


Wide Field - PS, LR2, AT, ST - Showing Spikes

Wide Field - PS, LR2, AT, ST

M1 - The Crab Nebula (NGC 1952)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 12/01/16 11:45 pm, 12/05/16 11:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 48 x 150 sec (120 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 25 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools, Astrophotography Tools

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Veil Nebula (NGC 6992) Reprocessed, again!

I keep tweaking my image of the Veil Nebula.  This time I used the PS plugin Astronomy Tools, PS, and LR2. Link to other reprocessed images.


Western Veil Nebula - NGC 6992, NGC 6995, IC 1340
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 09/25/16 9:25 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 31 x 180 sec (93 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 26 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom