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Friday, September 20, 2013

Planetary Images, Before & After

When I was 10 years old, one of the 1st objects I was able to locate and identify was Saturn. A small finder chart was in the back of my Jason Enterprise manual, which came with my 60mm refractor. More than likely this is what got me hooked on astrophotography.
I've tried to image the planets over the years with limited success.

Both of these were taken in 2010 with a Kodak Easy Share using eyepiece projection on my 8" Meade LX-50 SCT. They were single pictures about 1 sec exposure. I have since learned the best way to capture details of the planets is to use a recording device capable of videos. I started out using my Canon T3i . I would record a video about 1 minute long. Using a software called Registax I then processed the video. Registax basically takes each frame in the video, aligns them then stacks them.  Only a certain percentage of the frames are used. This helps to eliminate bad frames which were victims of atmospheric disturbance.
This is one of my earlier tries with Registax taken June 2012 with my 8" Meade SCT & Canon T3i
Recently I purchased a QHY5L-II camera. This is a mono camera which means videos are shot in black & white and red,green & blue filters are used.
 RED filter 500 of 3000 frames used
 GREEN filter 500 of 3000 frames used
BLUE filter 500 of 3000 frames used
 RGB Image
 RGB Image adjusted in Photoshop

The Jupiter frames above were taken on 9/18/13 with my 8" Meade LX-50 SCT & QHY5L-II camera.
 I managed to take 21 videos total for 7 RGB images

 I put these resulting images together as an animation

I took this Saturn image on June 15,2013. It was my 1st with the QHY5L-II camera
QHY5L-II & Meade 8" LX-50 SCT @F/20 (x2 Barlow)
 RGB- kept 500 frames of 1100 each channel processed in Registax 6. Imaged at 640x480 @54fps.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Solar Processing: Adjusting single frames

I've found since I first starting imaging solar with my Coronado PST & QHY5L-II that each frame I image is usually "uneven". It is usually lighter or darker from one side to the next. This is how I try to "even out" an image. I'm sure there are better ways that I am not aware of yet, but this is what I use.
I'll use this image a took about a week ago. Notice the top left is much darker than the bottom right. This is what I want to correct.
The first thing I do is create 2 duplicate layers of the original

 Then I darken the middle layer. In this example I renamed it Background copy-darker

I select the upper layer Background copy 2(which is still an exact copy of the original) and use the eraser tool at about 30%. This will allow the darkened layer to show through, as seen in the upper right corner of the image

I do this to all the lighter areas. Selecting 30% eraser allows me to feather together the 1st & 2nd layers. Once done I merge 1 & 2..

This made the image much more even from corner to corner. If necessary I will repeat the process with another darker or lighter layer.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

M45 & NGC457 The Pleiades and ET Cluster

I had a couple of clear nights in a row, the weather patterns must be changing. The has been a horrible summer for astrophotography. I started M45 & NGC 457 on Aug 15,2013 & was just able to finish both on Sept 5.
M45 The Pleiades Cluster
I waited until about 2am both nights to capture this.

Telescope: AstroTech AT65EDQ
Imaged Aug 14 & Sept 5
Luminance 9x600 bin 1x1 (90 min)
Red 6x300 bin 2x2 (30 min)
Green 6x300 2x2 (30 min)
Blue 9x300 bin 2x2 (45 min)

Cropped & Rotated


I blended in some elements of "last year's" Pleiades taken with my ED102T CF seen below:

Taken 11/7/2011 with T3i & ST-80T
NGC 457 The "ET" Cluster
Telescope: AstroTech AT65EDQ
Imaged Aug 14 & Sept 5
Luminance 8x600 bin 1x1 (80 min)
Red 6x300 bin 2x2  (30 min)
Green 6x300 bin 2x2 (30 min)
Blue 6x300 bin 2x2 (30 min)

View larger size here:

Full size