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

Monday, November 28, 2016

M77 and more...

Messier 77 (also known as NGC 1068) is a barred spiral galaxy located 47 million light-years away in the constellation Cetus. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780, who originally described it as a nebula. Méchain then communicated his discovery to Charles Messier, who subsequently listed the object in his catalog. Both Messier and William Herschel described this galaxy wrongly as a star cluster (source: wikipedia). It has a diameter of approximately 170,000 light-years and is visible with binoculars under dark sky conditions as a fuzzy ball with a bright center. With smaller 4-inch scopes like my ED80 the oval shape is apparent but you need 8-inch or larger to bring out the detail (source: Messier).  One other noteworthy item with this galaxy is it is believed to have a supermassive black hole in its center.

I collected this image over two nights as it became visible from my observatory. Unfortunately the moon was at 80% and 70% respectively but it was clear so I took a chance anyway. Also it is the beginning of the cold season so astrophotography gets a little more challenging. I am happy with the results considering the moonlight and the limitations of my little ED80. This represents the 47th Messier object I have captured with my setup.

I like the wide field image as five other galaxies are visible, some are very faint and far away making them hard to see.

For my catalog see:

Messier Objects with an ED80 by Kurt Zeppetello or

Messier Astropics by Kurt Zeppetello

Wide Field - M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1055, NGC 1072, NGC, NGC 1094, NGC 1090, NGC 1087 

Wide Field - M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1055, NGC 1072, NGC, NGC 1094, NGC 1090, NGC 1087

Crop - M77



Closeup showing - M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1055, NGC 1072

Close up showing - M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1094, NGC 1090, NGC 1087 

M77
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 11/17/16, 11/18/16; 11:30 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: 34 x 120 sec, 24 x 120 sec (116 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 38 F/3.3 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Good Night at the BMAS Observatory

Great night at the BMAS Observatory Friday night. The images are the Orion Nebula (60 sec exposure) through George's 8" reflector, The Moon (Canon 50 mm), Constellation Orion (Canon 50 mm), closeup of Orion Nebula (Canon 50 mm). The color of Orion appears redder because my camera has been modified to pick up more hydrogen-alpha light that is given off as red light in nebulae.

Orion Nebula (M42) and De Mairan's Nebula (M43)
Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools

Photoshop, Lightroom

                                                        Photoshop, Lightroom

Photoshop, Lightroom

                                                         Photoshop, Lightroom

Orion Nebula (M42)
Location: BMAS Observatory, Stratford, CT
Date/Time: 11/18/16 9:39 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a)
Telescope: Orion 8 in f/4.9 Reflector Telescope
Barlow: 2x
Focal Length: 1000mm
f/4.9
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: None
Exposure: 1 x 60 sec
ISO: 800
Temp: 40 F/4.4 C
Post Processing: Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools

Moon
50mm
1/200 sec
f/3.5
ISO 800


Orion
50mm
8 sec
f/3.5
ISO 1600 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Supermoon 11-13-16

Various images of the Supermoon on 11-13-16!

Full Moon Crop
- Canon T3i(a) Prime Focus, BYE (1/3200s, 200-ISO, 1000 frames)

Mare Imbrium Region 
- Canon T3i(a) Prime Focus, BYE 5x (1/3200s, 200-ISO, 1000 frames)

Mare Imbrium, Mare Frigoris, and Mare Serenitatis Region
- Canon T3i(a) Prime Focus, BYE 5x (1/3200s, 200-ISO, 1000 frames)

Crater Tycho Region
 - Canon T3i(a) Prime Focus, BYE 5x (1/3200s, 200-ISO, 1000 frames)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

M74 - The Phantom Galaxy

Messier 74 is a spiral galaxy that appears face-on and lies at an approximately 30 million light years from Earth. It has a diameter of 95,000 light years, almost the size of the Milky Way. The galaxy is home to about 100 billion stars and two well developed spiral arms.  Located in the constellation Pisces, M74 is not an easy object to observe because it has a low surface brightness and requires exceptionally clear, dark skies source: Messier Objects).

Closeup

Crop 2

Crop 1

Widefield
M74 - The Phantom Galaxy
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 11/4, 11/5, 11/6 (2016)/11:30 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: 26 x 180 sec, 11 x 180 sec, 25 x 180 (186 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 40 F/4.4 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Praesepe or The Beehive (M44) - Reprocessed

This is an addendum to my original M44 post back in March.  The stars appeared to have a greenish tint so I reprocessed the images adding the StarTools color module to reset the stars to a more natural color since stars really aren't green (or at least we can't see as it would be masked).

Image 1 - M44_Master_LR3-st

Image 2 - M44_Master_LR3_PS_crop_LR-st

M44
Location: Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 3/11/16 10:17 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i
Filter: none
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to and Orion Short Tube 80mm
Exposure: 40-90s (1 hr)
ISO: 800
Post Processing: Photoshop, Lightroom, DSS, Backyard EOS, StarTools

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Triangulum Galaxy - M33

I have been trying to image the Triangulum Galaxy for over a month now but I was finally able to get some images over the last week.  The Triangulum Galaxy (M33) is a spiral galaxy approximately 3 million light-years (ly) from Earth in the constellation Triangulum.  It is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and about 44 other smaller galaxies. It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye.  Although it can be viewed with the naked eye, it is relatively dim and diffuse which means a small amount of light pollution makes this object very difficult to find.

The galaxy is the smallest spiral galaxy in the Local Group and it is believed to be a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy due to their interactions, velocities and proximity to one another in the night sky. [source: wikipedia]

45 down 65 to go! Link

Triangulum Galaxy
Triangulum Galaxy - M39
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 10/19/16 (8:29 pm) and 10/28/16 (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: 50 x 180 sec (150 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 33 C/30 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom

Sunday, October 23, 2016

M39

Messier 39  (NGC 7092) is an open cluster in the constellation Cygnus.  It is only about 800 light years away from our solar system and  300 million year old.  It is group of about 30 stars may look like they are spread fairly far apart in the sky, but this group is only a 7 light years across.  All of its stars are main sequence and the very brightest of them are just about to evolve into the red giant star phase (source: Wikipedia, Universe Today).

I have now have 44 Messier objects down, only 66 to go! (Messier Objects with an ED80)

I recently purchased StarTools as an addition to my image processing. It seems to be easy to use although certain functions take time.  Also, I had to upgrade my ram to 8 MB from 4 MB as recommended by Ivo Jager (the  developer of StarTools).  I had some troubles doing certain functions such as AutoDev.  Ivo believes it is do to some sort of stretching in DSS even though I did not add any. In any case, I have used it at different points on this image. I like using it after processing with PS because the resolution is better.  It seems when I do it in StarTools first, the resolution goes down, however, this may be do to my limited processing knowledge.

Crop - processing with StarTools after PS

Crop - processing with StarTools first

 Widefield - processing with StarTools after PS

Widefield - processing with StarTools first

M39
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 10/19/16 8:29 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: 33 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, StarTools, Photoshop, Lightroom