View Full Version here: : Summer Milky Way Panorama on New Year's Day
09-01-2012, 07:38 AM
I shot this panorama of the Summer Milky Way while waiting for the comet on New Year's morning in dark skies just outside Muckadilla - a small town located between Mitchell and Roma, Queensland.
A larger, 2500x1175 pixel version of the photo can be found HERE (http://itee.uq.edu.au/~davel/_astro/SummerMilkyWayPanorama-Large.jpg), and I've also captured the same field of view in a screen shot of Stellarium HERE (http://itee.uq.edu.au/~davel/_astro/SummerMilkyWayPanorama-Legend.png).
The panorama represents the overhead view of the Milky Way from where I was around midnight on New Years' Day. The South Celestial Pole is located towards the bottom-left corner, and the right edge of the photo points north.
Unfortunately, the green airglow at the time was the worst that I've ever seen. I could sense a heavy fog at the time even though there wasn't much dew.
Details: 8 panels x 300 sec each at f/2.8, ISO 1600 using a Canon 5DmkII + Canon 24 mm f/1.4L II mounted on an Astrotrac Travel System, stitched using Photoshop CS5's Photomerge function.
09-01-2012, 07:49 AM
Brilliant Dave, love it! what a view :thumbsup:
09-01-2012, 07:54 AM
Awesome image! Nicely done.
How did you process it?
09-01-2012, 08:29 AM
Really nice wide view picture!
Although no summer constellations like Sco, Sgr, Oph, etc. found.
What lens did you use?
I see even Barnards Loop in Orion and Lovejoy's tail near alpha and beta Centauri and the Witchhead nebula NW of Rigel, really awesome!
09-01-2012, 09:00 AM
What a beaut panorama:D Lovely work.
09-01-2012, 09:01 AM
strongmanmike - Thanks Mike! Loved your Tunnel of Fire photo by the way... I can't wait to order a CCD + H-alpha filter and go hunting for wabbits and other furry animals :)
iceman - Thanks Mike! The processing was light - imported RAW files into Lightroom, turned off the automatic template for a bit more dynamic range, imported all 8 panels into Photoshop and ran Photomerge, softened the edges, tweaked Levels, applied +30 saturation in the Reds channel (unmodded camera), resized, and a bit of wide radius sharpening to boost local contrast around the objects and dark nebulae. The stitching isn't as good as it could be - I've found that Registar does a near-perfect job of it, but crashes with the size of the 5DmkII panels. When I find the time, I'm hoping to try out the SExtractor/SCAMP/Swarp tools that Nick Risinger used for his Photopic Sky Survey.
skysurfer - Thanks! Perhaps "New Year's Milky Way" would be a better title? :) I used a Canon 24 mm f/1.4L II lens, though I think it would have been much easier using a 8-15 mm fisheye (I don't have it) to capture the whole sky in the one exposure! The long (5 min) subs seem to bring out the H-alpha regions surprisingly well for an unmodded camera. By the way, it's not just Lovejoy's tail that you see... the whole comet is there!
jjjnettie - Cheers! It was such a beautiful sight under those dark skies. I didn't even get around to setting up my refractor for a peek... I was too busy enjoying the naked-eye views.
09-01-2012, 09:47 AM
A wonderful image Dave. Very creative.
09-01-2012, 10:01 AM
It's like looking out the entrance of a cave :D
I like it a lot:)
09-01-2012, 04:35 PM
That's a stunning pano. I actually like the air glow, think it adds to such a wide field, and all the nebulosity had really come out! Awesome!
When you say the panels were 300s each, you mean single exposure? ie no stacking, just literally 8 shots total? Cool.
09-01-2012, 05:10 PM
Outstanding view Dave, the amount of faint nebulosity you have recorded is amazing. I have been looking at getting a 5D MK ll body, now after seeing this find the purchase even harder to resist. All the best.
09-01-2012, 07:03 PM
Very nice Dave I just wish it was much bigger.
09-01-2012, 08:01 PM
Great shot. Love the coulors and detail you achieved in only single 300s exposures.
The way the stitch has ended up, the banana effect, I find confusing, and the significant back areas distracting. I don't have much experience stitching such expanses of the night sky but I wonder why yours has ended up this shape when I don't think I have seen this exact result before? I presume if you tired to straighten it, you would end up with distorted stars?
09-01-2012, 09:10 PM
Ron - I hadn't thought of it as being like a cave, but now you mention it I can't stop seeing it :) I've added more black around the borders to further enhance the effect on various print versions I'm trying out.
Troy - Thanks! Yep, I see what you mean about the airglow. I'm hesitant to remove it since it's a "natural" part of the scene. I was surprised that Barnard's Loop etc was picked up... I guess 5 min exposures on wide angle lenses really sucks in the photons. No stacking, darks, or flats involved at all - the temperature was around 15 deg C with a slight breeze, so the 5DmkII managed to keep the noise surprisingly low even for ISO 1600. On the other hand, the dark frames are shockingly bad on calm, humid 30 deg C nights.
Lester - Thanks! I was lucky with ultra dark skies and cool weather. I'm planning on getting a cooled mono CCD with a 8300 chip, but unfortunately in some ways it feels a bit like a downgrade from the 5DmkII! The 5DmkII is just awesome for portraits and landscapes :) I think expectations on Canon will be very high for a mark III model...
Doug - Cheers! I'm not sure I follow what you mean... did you mean larger as in field of view or pixels in the image?
Roger - Thanks! The banana effect is from the naked-eye-like projection of the spherical night sky onto a 2D image, i.e. by the time that I'd finished shooting the Milky Way looked like a banana (or rainbow) in the sky. The weird effect comes from the extreme field of view - the field of view is over 180 degrees horizontally with a rectilinear projection... you might be more familiar with seeing fisheye projections for 180 deg FOVs?
I agree about the black areas... unfortunately, I'd planned the shoot in my head and missed the black areas before they sunk below the horizon. Ideally, this would be nice to do over several nights leading up to new moon - so everything can be captured at 0 declination.
09-01-2012, 10:14 PM
A truly amazing photo Dave.
11-01-2012, 06:21 PM
11-01-2012, 07:57 PM
Wow, excellent shot there Dave! Love all the astro-snaps on these threads. Like how you've managed to catch the (galaxy's/other solar systems?- sorry I'm a bit of a new noodle here haha) towards the bottom left hand corner too.
11-01-2012, 09:00 PM
Very cool Dave. A great image capturing everything. I especially like the LMC standing out so clear and bright! I would like to see more pics of the LMC if you have any.:thumbsup:
11-01-2012, 09:32 PM
Thanks Jessie & Steve. The Magellanic Clouds are simply magnificent when viewed from a dark site. The LMC was particularly bright in this panorama because the fog cleared as I was shooting it (the difference was noticeable naked-eye) - you can see a lack of green airglow surrounding it, compared to the rest of the image.
Steve - I don't have any good closeups of the LMC unfortunately (my unmodded camera can't capture the H-alpha regions) but it does feature in my first Lovejoy photo (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=84659).
There are some truly spectacular LMC shots here if you search through the archives - such as this (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=73761) and this (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=80462).
Great work Dave. I'm surprised at all the red (H2?) you've brought out for an unmodded camera. I wonder what all the red nebulosity to the far right is? Vela supernova remnant possibly?
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