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Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Solar Images

I haven't had very many clear nights so most of my imaging time has been spent with my Coronado PST & QHY5L-II. Solar imaging, like imaging deep space objects, presents it's own challenges.
Usually I start my solar imaging with several images combined in a mosaic for the sun's full disk.
This is yesterday's

August 30,2013

This image was actually 8- 1000 frame videos each stacked with Registax 6.

The resulting images were then arranged and combined into a mosaic using Photoshop CS6. From these full disk images I usually can determine what to image next, surface features or prominences(or both) Almost dead center is sunspot AR 1834, the bright yellow area. AR 1835 is slightly below. At the bottom edge of the disk is seen a large prominence,     (animation at bottom of this post)

On the 29th I had imaged sunspot AR1835 & AR1834 above so I wanted to shoot it again to see what has changed. I good site to determine exactly what sunspot you are looking at is
The yellowish area at the top right is sunspot AR1834. A large filament can be seen directly to the left( the dark "c" shaped feature). Sunspot AR 1835 can be seen at the bottom .
 The image above was shot with no barlow lens and the camera set at 640x480, a single Registax processed video.
The field of view can be seen on this composite with the full disk of the 29th:

*the orientation is wrong- top is to the left on both of these images*  
I tried something a little different yesterday(the 30th) with this same area. I inserted a 2x's barlow in the PST and shot 5 videos at 800x600, 1000 frames per video. I aligned and stacked the video frames in Registax and the resulting images were combined into a mosaic in Photoshop:
 North is to the top. AR 1834 can still be seen a day later at the top, with the same filament to it's left. AR 1835 is seen towards the bottom as before.

 I gained a lot more detail with the mosaic
Here's a field of view comparison of the mosaic to the full disk:
*the orientation is wrong- top is to the left on both of these images*

Finally I made a side by side comparison of the single image of the 29th to the 5 panel mosaic taken on the 30th. The orientation has again been changed with north towards the right this time. Next time I will pay more careful attention to the orientation of these images before I upload them! Hopefully I didn't make anyone dizzy....

If you study the images carefully you can see that different features have moved in a days time. I wish the processing on both would be the same so the movements would be clearer.

I also put together a 29 frame animation yesterday The entire event took 1 hour 10 minutes. It is looped 3x's.
It can also be seen slightly clearer on Flickr

 Sometimes you catch a bird or two in a frame:

If it weren't for my QHY5L-II & PST and solar imaging, I could probably count with one hand how many times I would have imaged in the past 3 months. Hopefully the sky patterns change soon!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Sun, the Moon and the Stars

Yesterday was a great day for imaging. I haven't had a day like that in months. The clouds cleared around 6 pm and I managed to catch a few videos of the sun.

Full Disk:
3 panel mosaic, videos acquired with QHY5L-II and PST. Videos processed in Registax. Photoshop CS6 used to create the mosaic, colorize and apply final corrections.

 Captured some prominences as well

I only had about 45 minutes before the sun disappeared behind my house. I spent the majority of the time creating animations of the prominence above and one that appeared to "float" above the surface.
I shot 18 videos and created a still image from each in Registax. The 18 still images were used as frames for the video created using Photoshop CS6

At first I thought I had the frames in reverse. The floating prominence appears to "rain" on the Sun's surface.

After I could no longer image the sun, I set my sights on the moon. I used my Orion ED102T CF & QHY5L-II (@800x600) to create a 6 panel mosaic. 6 videos were taken through a luminance filter and processed in Registax. Using the QHY5L-II's at 800x600 ,allowed me to image 35 frames per second and I collected about 1000 frames per panel. No barlow was used. The resulting Registax images were combined & colorized using Photoshop CS6.

After I completed the 6 videos for the mosaic, I turned my attention towards finishing my Andromeda Galaxy project. I added 4- 20 minute Ha filtered subs and 4-10 minute Blue filtered subs. I was glad to finally collect enough subs to finish it. I started this image on July 4.
The previous versions of M31 can be seen in my earlier blog:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

M31 and the Sun

Skies haven't been cooperating for the last couple of weeks. I managed to start imaging M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. I started this project on July 4, and 1 month later have still not completed it. Here's what I have so far:
Luminance 10x10 minute
Red-6x10 minute
Green-5x10 minute
Blue 3x10 minute
Captured with:

I need to capture more frames, especially blue. I'd like to add some Ha and longer luminance subs as well. I've processed my data a bunch of times and I can't seem to find what I'm looking for. Maybe more data will help. Below is my "original" version, same data, different processing

I've processed the data I have so far about a dozen times. Here's a comparison of the different processing I used

Hopefully the skies clear up soon so I can finish this.

Below are several images of M31 I took in August-Dec 2011, when I started Astrophotography. They were taken with my 8" SCT & a Canon T3i.



I also managed to catch a pretty cool solar prominence with my PST & QHY5L-II on July 26. Here's the still image followed by an animation I created:

This is a 36 frame animation. Each frame was created from 14 second videos containing 500 frames stacked in Registax6. The resulting TIFF images were combined in Photoshop CS6.
Videos acquired with a Coronado PST SS & a QHY5L-II
The entire event took close to 60 minutes