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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

M78 & Orion Mosaic


On January 15,2015 I finally had clear night. I collected enough sub exposures with my Celestron 11" Edge HD, QHY23M and Hyperstar to assemble an image of M78 in Orion.  I collected 33x60 second images for Luminance, and 45x60 RGB images, totaling 78 minutes.

 On the 17th I had another clear night and decided to add longer Luminance exposures 9x300 seconds. This was the result.

I'm really pleased with this result, especially when I look at my previous attempt taken in December 2011, taken with a Meade 8" LX-50 and Canon T3i

Details on this nebula can be found here:


Almost 2 years ago I attempted a mosaic of the area below  Orion's Belt.

     I had nearly 24 hours worth of images in the 24 frame mosaic. Since I now have the speed of F/2 imaging with the Hyperstar, I decided to attempt the mosaic again. Using a software called Asimoplan and my planetarium software, SkyTools,  I created an 18 panel mosaic and imported the coordinates into APT(Astro Photography Tool). Two years ago I manually slewed to coordinates and captured the images, so this made things so much easier.

The finished plan looked something like this in SkyTools, 18 frames

For each mosaic frame.I took 10 images using a Baader Luminance filter, each 1 minute long. Each image had "darks" and "flats" subtracted then stacked in Nebulosity. I combined the resulting images in Photoshop CS6. I decided to stop after combining enough images to complete the Horsehead Nebula. This was the result of those 6 images

Since I was using the Luminance filter, I was able to combine this with older RGB images I had taken. The RGB color channels were used from this image taken in February 2014 seen here:

The combined result was cropped and adjusted in Photoshop CS6

I continued capturing the last 12 panels. An example of each panel's size is seen in panel#14 below.(part of the Orion Nebula M42)

The final image consists of 18 panels, 180 images and 3 hours worth of imaging.

I still have to collect filtered images for the Red, Blue and Green channels so I have a way to go. In the meantime I've combined a portion of the mosaic with my last mosaic.....

 Thanks for stopping by!