December 20, 2014, 08:14:04 AM

Author Topic: Deep Sky Astrophotography (Gear Discussion)  (Read 36414 times)

lol

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2014, 05:41:06 AM »
The Andromeda I posted was, as said, one of my older ones. I've since paid more attention to removing the blue hue. That shot was more to show the 135L and red halo around brighter stars which hinders its use if you want to do multiple colour channels at once.

Since I didn't mention it, that was at 1 minute exposures. That does need tracking, and I used the Astrortac at the time. I don't have notes on the ISO used but I normally leave it pretty high, either 1600 or 3200. For sure, once you can get a bit of exposure time thrown at it, it helps a lot with getting the dark stuff out. Then repeat the exposures as much as you can to get the noise down.

I played with DSS early on, but never really got on with it. I've gone to PixInsight but it isn't cheap and has more of a learning curve to it.


Here's a more recent attack on it. 450D with all filters removed. Astronomik CLS-CCD. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 OS EX at 300mm f/2.8. 2 minute exposures. Note the stars don't suffer the red glow the 1235L does.

Due to the light pollution where I live, I can't do really long exposures even with filters. I can perhaps get 4 minutes usefully with a narrowband filter at f/2.8, after which I'm just picking up the noise floor.

If I stop being lazy, I really want to have a go with the Rosette nebula with the 300/2.8. I've only tried that with the 135L in the past and it is rather small in it.
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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2014, 05:41:06 AM »

emag

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2014, 11:02:02 PM »
Nice!!  That lens looks like a real performer.  I REALLY liked your Veil shots on SGL, particularly the random L channel shot.

jrista

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2014, 11:24:15 PM »
Thanks emag, scyrene, lol for your contributions! Great stuff! I'm really feeling the pain of not having a tracking mount. I think I'll pick one up, along with a basic spotting scope, for use with my 600mm lens + 2x TC until I have the chance to buy an actual telescope. I love Celestron's mounts....I might pick up the basic CGEM to start.

I played with DSS early on, but never really got on with it. I've gone to PixInsight but it isn't cheap and has more of a learning curve to it.

I hear PixInsight is pretty good. I also hear good things about Nebulosity. I've read through Nebulosity's manual, it sounds pretty powerful. I'll check out PixInsight next. DSS is an ok tool for being free, but it has it's limitations, and tweaking the final result can be a real pain. A more powerful tool, even if it costs money, would be well worth it.

Here's a more recent attack on it. 450D with all filters removed. Astronomik CLS-CCD. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 OS EX at 300mm f/2.8. 2 minute exposures. Note the stars don't suffer the red glow the 1235L does.

Due to the light pollution where I live, I can't do really long exposures even with filters. I can perhaps get 4 minutes usefully with a narrowband filter at f/2.8, after which I'm just picking up the noise floor.

Looks great! I'll have to look more into light pollution filters. I live fairly close to Denver, and there can be quite a LOT of light pollution here...so I am not sure if it would really be worth it. At ISO 3200, I can only expose for maybe 10-15 seconds before it really doesn't become any more worth while to expose longer, because the light pollution shifts the entire histogram right (lifts the black level considerably).

Still playing and learning......

Single frame, or stack from a web cam? If you have a web cam, you might try setting up some kind of contraption to attach it to your lens, and let it rip for about a minute. Then, you can use the tool Registax to identify the best frames, stack em, and you can get some really AMAZING planetary results. Each individual frame looks super crappy, but people have been creating some truly awesome, and often highly detailed, results with Registax and around 1000-1500 frames from basic web cams. Even some RGB astrocams like Celestron's Skyris is just a webcam in a more advanced enclosure with astro-specific features.

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2014, 12:19:50 AM »

Still playing and learning......

Single frame, or stack from a web cam? If you have a web cam, you might try setting up some kind of contraption to attach it to your lens, and let it rip for about a minute. Then, you can use the tool Registax to identify the best frames, stack em, and you can get some really AMAZING planetary results. Each individual frame looks super crappy, but people have been creating some truly awesome, and often highly detailed, results with Registax and around 1000-1500 frames from basic web cams. Even some RGB astrocams like Celestron's Skyris is just a webcam in a more advanced enclosure with astro-specific features.
60D shooting video through an 8 inch telescope.... 1900 frames extracted from the video and run through registax. The atmospheric distortion was really bad that night and all the frames are poor, but the result was much better than any individual frame.

I want to try digiscoping through the telescope, but for the last two months the only times it has been clear at night the temperature has been -25C or colder.... Right now it is freezing rain, tomorrow night is supposed to be minus 29.... A wild winter!
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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2014, 01:12:48 AM »

Still playing and learning......

Single frame, or stack from a web cam? If you have a web cam, you might try setting up some kind of contraption to attach it to your lens, and let it rip for about a minute. Then, you can use the tool Registax to identify the best frames, stack em, and you can get some really AMAZING planetary results. Each individual frame looks super crappy, but people have been creating some truly awesome, and often highly detailed, results with Registax and around 1000-1500 frames from basic web cams. Even some RGB astrocams like Celestron's Skyris is just a webcam in a more advanced enclosure with astro-specific features.
60D shooting video through an 8 inch telescope.... 1900 frames extracted from the video and run through registax. The atmospheric distortion was really bad that night and all the frames are poor, but the result was much better than any individual frame.

Ah, so you are using Registax. Great program! I've tried using my 7D video to image Jupiter...I can't get the same kind of results others get with even just a webcam jury-rigged to a telescope. I think part of it is that the web cams have really tiny pixels which capture enough detail, where as my 7D has pixels that are about 2x - 3x larger...and it's video is pretty crappy.

I want to try digiscoping through the telescope, but for the last two months the only times it has been clear at night the temperature has been -25C or colder.... Right now it is freezing rain, tomorrow night is supposed to be minus 29.... A wild winter!

Yeah, crazy winter indeed. It was around 10°C two days ago. The last couple of days, it's been below zero here in Colorado! Right now it is -26.5°C! :o *shivvvver*  We got about 8-10 inches of snow, the most we've had all winter (previous high was 3"), and it is still snowing. At least we haven't had any freezing rain yet...although I hear the north east region of the US is slated for some nasty freezing rain and sleet, then more sub-zero weather after that, making for some terrible driving conditions.

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2014, 10:06:58 PM »
Last night was one of the rare nights this winter I've been able to use the scope, and only for about 3 hours at that, the seeing went to crap by 9PM.  A shot of M81 (bottom) and M82 (top).  The bright star in M82 is a supernova that became visible in January.  About 12 million light years away.....I may be front focusing a few million miles.  Taken with a 6D through an 8 inch scope, 1260mm effective focal length, f/6.3.  Stack of 10 shots, each 30 seconds.  I had some (operator) issues with my mount so there's a bit of trailing in the image.

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2014, 01:55:03 AM »
I had a chat with Astronomik in the past about their narrowband filters and fast lenses. I think the e-mails are on my work account so I can't find it right now. Although their website rates them as usable from f/2.8, they said f/2.0 was ok. Any benefit from going even faster will reduce.

I did a lot of my early attempts with the 135L wide open. Note the lens is rather horrible for wideband imaging as the red focus is some way off that of green/blue. It is fine for narrowband.

If you go for only light pollution filters like the CLS, that should be less affected by extreme speed but I haven't tried it.

And finally, I didn't realised they did full frame clip filters now! Shall have to have a look. Requiring mirror lock up isn't a big deal. People like using USB connection to help with focusing so you see what the sensor sees. My biggest problem now is, do I really want to modify my 5D2?... probaby not, I've not gathered a single night sky photon this winter. Must stop being lazy! Not a great hobby if you don't like the cold.

Edit: here's one of my early attempts at Andromeda galaxy with the 135L at f/2, CLS filter on 600D (unmodified). 100% crop, processed. I have got a bit better since then... :)



Very nice!

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2014, 01:55:03 AM »

wearle

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2014, 02:04:15 AM »
To all,

Here's a wide-field image of the Galactic Dark Horse Nebula.  Numerous dark nebula come together to form a horse if rotate clock-wise 90 degrees.  This was taken with a modified Canon 5D2 and a Canon 200mm f/2.0L stopped down to f/4.0.  It is an integration of 25 four-minute exposures.  It was calibrated using six dark frames, twenty biases, and twenty flats.  All calibration and processing was done in PixInsight.

Thanks for looking,

Wade

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2014, 02:25:07 AM »
To all,

Here's a wide-field image of the Galactic Dark Horse Nebula.  Numerous dark nebula come together to form a horse if rotate clock-wise 90 degrees.  This was taken with a modified Canon 5D2 and a Canon 200mm f/2.0L stopped down to f/4.0.  It is an integration of 25 four-minute exposures.  It was calibrated using six dark frames, twenty biases, and twenty flats.  All calibration and processing was done in PixInsight.

Thanks for looking,

Wade

Lovely, makes me wonder what a higher rez version of your image (or part of it) would look like...

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2014, 02:39:39 AM »
Some really beaut pics in this thread. Unfortunately, I don't have a tracking mount, and I wondered what was possible with a 5D3 + 300mm f4. While it's nothing flash, I was impressed what could be recorded in a 1 second exposure @ 3,200 ISO :)

Orion Nebula.
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jrista

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2014, 04:32:49 AM »
Some really beaut pics in this thread. Unfortunately, I don't have a tracking mount, and I wondered what was possible with a 5D3 + 300mm f4. While it's nothing flash, I was impressed what could be recorded in a 1 second exposure @ 3,200 ISO :)

Orion Nebula.


Good start. The trick is stacking. Your single frame here is dim and noisy, as a single frame. Now, if you take about 100 of these 1 second shots, then align and stack them, you can greatly reduce the noise, and "fill in the blanks" and improve detail. Once you have a stacked image with lower noise and more detail, you will have MUCH more freedom to push the exposure around in ACR/LR or Photoshop. The grainy, poorly saturated example here could become a pretty amazing photo of the Orion nebula. :)

Another tip. If  you live in or near a city, head out of town by about 50 miles (preferably at least the same distance from any other city). That should get you much darker skies. Darker skies mean more nebula detail, less noise, and even better results after stacking.

For stacking software, I recommend starting out with DeepSkyStacker. It's pretty easy...the trickiest part is "stretching" the exposure after DSS is done doing it's thing. The curves editor in DSS is pretty quirky, and not the easiest thing to use. Play with it for a couple of hours, though, and you'll start to get the hang of it.

Trust me, though...with that lens and the 5D III, you can get MUCH, MUCH better results...just takes a little more effort.

jrista

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2014, 04:33:54 AM »
To all,

Here's a wide-field image of the Galactic Dark Horse Nebula.  Numerous dark nebula come together to form a horse if rotate clock-wise 90 degrees.  This was taken with a modified Canon 5D2 and a Canon 200mm f/2.0L stopped down to f/4.0.  It is an integration of 25 four-minute exposures.  It was calibrated using six dark frames, twenty biases, and twenty flats.  All calibration and processing was done in PixInsight.

Thanks for looking,

Wade

Wonderful! It just blows me away how many stars there are near and in the galactic core. The density is stunning!

So, with a modified 5D2, I assume that means the UV/IR cutoff filter (and maybe low pass filter) were removed?

jrista

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2014, 04:38:13 AM »
Last night was one of the rare nights this winter I've been able to use the scope, and only for about 3 hours at that, the seeing went to crap by 9PM.  A shot of M81 (bottom) and M82 (top).  The bright star in M82 is a supernova that became visible in January.  About 12 million light years away.....I may be front focusing a few million miles.  Taken with a 6D through an 8 inch scope, 1260mm effective focal length, f/6.3.  Stack of 10 shots, each 30 seconds.  I had some (operator) issues with my mount so there's a bit of trailing in the image.

Not bad! Kind of cool to capture a supernova in a distant galaxy. I always watch this blog for updates on interesting phenomena like that:

http://remanzacco.blogspot.com

They have a lot of info on solar system object, comets and asteroids and whatnot, but they also track extra-solar system events as well.

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2014, 04:38:13 AM »

Mr Bean

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2014, 05:24:10 AM »
Some really beaut pics in this thread. Unfortunately, I don't have a tracking mount, and I wondered what was possible with a 5D3 + 300mm f4. While it's nothing flash, I was impressed what could be recorded in a 1 second exposure @ 3,200 ISO :)

Orion Nebula.

Good start. The trick is stacking. Your single frame here is dim and noisy, as a single frame. Now, if you take about 100 of these 1 second shots, then align and stack them, you can greatly reduce the noise, and "fill in the blanks" and improve detail. Once you have a stacked image with lower noise and more detail, you will have MUCH more freedom to push the exposure around in ACR/LR or Photoshop. The grainy, poorly saturated example here could become a pretty amazing photo of the Orion nebula. :)

Another tip. If  you live in or near a city, head out of town by about 50 miles (preferably at least the same distance from any other city). That should get you much darker skies. Darker skies mean more nebula detail, less noise, and even better results after stacking.

For stacking software, I recommend starting out with DeepSkyStacker. It's pretty easy...the trickiest part is "stretching" the exposure after DSS is done doing it's thing. The curves editor in DSS is pretty quirky, and not the easiest thing to use. Play with it for a couple of hours, though, and you'll start to get the hang of it.

Trust me, though...with that lens and the 5D III, you can get MUCH, MUCH better results...just takes a little more effort.
Thanks for the tips jrista. I might give it a go tonight :)

The last time I did any "real" astrophotography was back with Halleys Comet using Fuji gas hypered film, standing in the middle of a paddock all night, keeping the scope on track ;)

Oh, and I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, where the skies are pretty dark. This one was taken from my house.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 05:32:00 AM by Mr Bean »
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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2014, 06:41:09 AM »
Oh, and I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, where the skies are pretty dark. This one was taken from my house.

Check how your light pollution is with this map:

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/dlorenz/web/astronomy/lp2006/overlay/dark.html

Yellow and up are bad. Green is ok. You really want to be in blue or gray areas, where the skies are really dark. Trust me, I've experimented very recently with how much light pollution affects results. I live in a brighter yellow area bordering on an orange area in Denver, Colorado. LP is pretty bad over my house, even though it doesn't seem as much to my bare eyes. Green areas improve quite a bit. Blue areas are amazing, the number of stars increases considerably, and astrophotography gets much better.

Gray areas are just phenomenal. The two lighter regions of gray conform to Bortle Scale level between 2 and 1...very dark skies or "truly dark skies". You can see an unbelievable amount of stars, everything is crisp and clear, you might even get a glimpse of airglow. The milky way is brilliant, and at the right times of the year, you can see the zodiacal light (provided it isn't obscured by LP bubbles on the horizon. Blue and gray areas of the map above are really where you want to be for AP. Think of it like stops on a camera...Blue is about a stop worse than gray, green is about a stop worse than blue, yellow a stop worse than green, etc. Each time you get closer to the main source of light pollution, you lose about half your ability to deeply image the night sky.

You can expose for almost twice as long and all that as well (i.e. you can expose for maybe 10 minutes in a green region, but 20 minutes or longer in blue and gray regions) as you move out to darker regions. BTW, there are three levels of gray. The darkest gray are what they call "Exceptionally Dark Skies", and has a Bortle Scale level of 1. There are actually relatively few regions of civilized Earth that are still this dark. Australia appears to have more than normal. Canada also has large regions of exceptionally dark skies. There are small pockets of exceptionally dark skies in the US and Europe. Excptionally dark skies are where they put the big scientific observatories, especially when they are on mountaintops. If you have the opportunity to visit an exceptionally dark sky, it'll just blow your mind how clear and bright the night sky really is. It's a thing of wonder, and most people in the "civilized" world rarely ever see it. The milky way is so relatively so bright it will actually cast shadows, the zodiacal light (which I've never seen under these conditions) is apparently "annoyingly bright" (which came from an astrophotographer, so take that in context!), and the number of deep sky objects that you can see with your naked eye maxes out...magnitude 8 stellar objects are visible to the naked eye (which is really amazing, given that most people on earth are only able to see magnitude 6 and larger stars, a whole two orders of magnitude difference, and in cities magnitude four and larger is the limiting magnitude. If you live in a metropolitan heart, where LP is at its highest, you can only see things magnitude 0 and brighter, so mostly planets, the brightest stars, the moon....no milky way at all, no deep sky objects, you can't make out most constellations because there simply aren't enough stars visible. Light pollution is kind of a terrible thing really, a travesty against the natural state of night...massive waste of energy to light so much of the earths surface up like that when most of it is suburban regions full of sleeping families...they could all turn off their lights, turn of the street lights, etc.)

I have not had a chance to photograph in the night sky under exceptionally dark skies. I'm hoping to get up to the top of the continental divide in one of the couple spots where you have exceptionally dark skies and image the milky way and zodiacal light when the latter rolls around again this spring.

Anyway...if your on the outskirts of Melbourne, but are still under green, yellow, orange or red, try heading out to darker skies. The difference is worth it.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 06:55:11 AM by jrista »

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Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2014, 06:41:09 AM »