Link

CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE FOR LATEST POST ...............................MESSIER ALBUM ...............LINKS

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Below the Belt...of Orion

In my opinion the Orion Nebula has to be one of the best if not the best target for northern astro-imagers. It is a large nebula, easy to find with many different colors. It is a gem under Orion's Belt. This is probably why I've chosen this target every winter since I have been imaging.

 
 
FILM ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY
When I first started imaging in the late 1990's, The Orion Nebula was my first and became my favorite target . This image of the Orion Nebula was taken with a Pentax 35mm film camera connected to my 8" Meade SCT LX-50 in 1997. It is a single exposure about 15 minutes in length, manually guided. (guiding is a discussion for another post, in short manual guiding was a pain!) My first true astrophoto.


DSLR ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY
My astro-imaging hobby took the backseat to other interests shortly there after. It re-emerged late in the fall of 2011. Technology sure had changed  in almost 15 years. Now armed with a Canon T3i camera I had recently purchased, one of my first targets was of course the Orion Nebula. This image consists of 5 images, each 2 minutes long, aligned and stacked with software.  Guiding was controlled by a laptop. This was taken in December 2011 slightly more than 1 year ago through an 80mm refractor
 
 
CCD ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY
I continued imaging with my Canon T3i until October 2012 when I decided to purchase a camera dedicated and designed for astrophotography. Having limited funds to spend on my "hobby", I chose a QHY9M CCD. There are many CCD options, but I had seen many excellent pictures taken with this camera and the price was great. In all honesty I wanted to get the CCD before winter to image the Orion Nebula. Here was my result with the CCD and a 102mm refractor, October 22,2012
 
My camera is a mono CCD, which means it shoots in B&W. This was shot with  luminance(clear),red,green & blue filters, 70 minutes of luminance,30 each of red,blue,green.
 I have more details on this post



CCD MOSAICS
With the purchase of different filters my imaging of the Orion Nebula continued. This time using a Hydrogen-Alpha filter and the LRGB filters. This is actually 4 images(with the CCD and 102mm refractor) combined in a mosaic to show more area. The hydrogen-alpha filter exposed more "dust" surrounding the nebula, January 18,2013
 
 
I really enjoyed creating the mosaic for the image above so I keep expanding on it, 13 panels in the mosaic. It's incomplete and I hope to finish it soon.
Posts on this project:
 
 
 
My goal is to collect enough panels to fill this field of view. The weather has been an issue for the last couple of weeks, snow,rain,sleet. Hopefully I get a few clear nights soon, there's alot more to do.
 
I never would have dreamed 15 years ago that one day I would be able to take images like this. Sure there are tons of better images out there,and my images have many,many flaws, but I learn something new everyday. I now have a solid 1 1/2 years under my belt imaging my favorite target under Orion's Belt!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Orion Mosaic Part#5


 
Had a few hours of clear skies under moonlight on the 23rd. Added another panel Ha to the mosaic. Reprocessed the entire mosaic again.
  Total time 20 hours 22 minutes
 
 
 


Monday, January 21, 2013

Orion Mosaic(work in progress) Part#3

Orion Mosaic(work in progress) Part#3
 
Started imaging with my new filters and was glad to finally be able to image in Hydrogen-Alpha. Due to the field of view with my ED102T & QHY9M, I created a 2 panel mosaic for M42.

Each panel 3-20 minute frames stacked
(Hydrogen-Alpha)









  Blended in details from a previous image:
(LRGB)
\

Final B&W result 



 
  
 Total project aquisition time:19h 3m


Now a 12 frame mosaic consisting of 3-20 minute frames of Hydrogen- Alpha(Ha) per frame for a total of 12 hours Ha. Images were taken over the course of 5 nights Jan 7,8,18,19,20 2013. Images were aquired with a QHY9M CCD and Orion ED102T CF refractor.
The Ha is the base of the image and M42 and the Horsehead are from previous images blended in.
 
 

 
 Tried Photoshop's HDR toning on the image, not sure if I like it yet or not:
 
 






Sunday, January 20, 2013

Orion Mosaic(work in progress) Part#2

Orion Mosaic(work in progress) Part#2
 
 
Added 2 more panels and redid the Horsehead nebula in Ha*. Total project aquisition time:18h 33m
 

This is an 10 frame mosaic consisting of 3-20 minute frames of Hydrogen- Alpha(Ha) per frame for a total of 10 hours Ha. Images were taken over the course of 3 nights Jan 7,8,18 & 19 2013. Images were aquired with a QHY9M CCD and Orion ED102T CF refractor.
 The Ha is the base of the image and M42 and the Horsehead are from previous images blended in.
 
 
 
*Redid the Horsehead with 4x10 minute frames in Ha, binned 2x2, composite crop of 4 images 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Orion Mosaic(work in progress)

 
 
 
 
Orion Mosaic(work in progress)
 
 
Ongoing project I've been working on to image M42 Orion and the NGC 2024 The Horsehead Nebula in the same field of view
 
 
 
This is an 8 frame mosaic consisting of 3-20 minute frames of Hydrogen- Alpha(Ha) per frame for a total of 8 hours Ha. Images were taken over the course of 3 nights Jan 7,8 & 18 2013. Images were aquired with a QHY9M CCD and Orion ED102T CF refractor. The Ha is the base of the image and M42 and the Horsehead are from previous images blended in.
 
 
 
 
 
M42
  
Image taken with QHY9M & Orion ED102CF refractor 10/21/2012,10/22/2012, 11/10/2012 & 11/18/2012
R-3x10min 1x20min
G-3x10min 4x20min
B-3x10min 4x20min
Images acquired,aligned and stacked with Nebulosity V2.0
Guiding with Orion 50mm mini guider,SSAG and Phd
Combined & post processed with PS6 and StarTools
 
 
 
IC 434 & NGC 2024The Horsehead Nebula & The Flame Nebula
April 1,2012
Telescope used: Orion ST-80(my "guide scope") mounted to 8" Meade LX-50 on standard Meade equatorial mount & HD tripod
Images aquired using APT
Guided with Starshoot Autoguider and 50mm guide scope
Aligned and stacked with Nebulosity
Post-process with Star Tools, GIMP & Windows Live Photo

Canon T3i:(2h 08m)
51 pictures 4x60 sec,37 x120 sec,10 x300 sec @ iso1600
Canon T3 w/Ha filter (1h 25m)
11 pictures 5x300,6x600 @iso 400

 
 
 
The total image is 16 hours 3 minutes worth of sub frames. Images were blended together using Photoshop CS6.
I have several more "blocks" to complete, hopefully this winter I can.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012 Astrophoto Mosaic

2012 Astrophoto Mosaic
 
Collection of Astrophotos taken in 2012
 
 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Pleiades on Universe Today


Messier 45 The Pleiades on "Universe Today"

I was told by someone on Flickr that my image was used on Universe Today: