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Old 17-02-2013, 12:25 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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RC8 first light - 6 objects & a 60min sub

Good morning!

I'm very excited today It's been almost 5 months since I last imaged anything useful, and also been 5 months since I've posted an image here. Well today that changes. Having spent that time going through many, many equipment and guiding options I've finally settled on a setup and will now focus on imaging itself. The first 4 images here were all taken on the one night (Friday) and the latter 2 were taken last night at 4am (after a big night out in the city with friends - they all think I'm slightly crazy ). I'd like to add that these are purely 'proof of concept' images to test out how everything was going. I have used no flats, bias or dark frames and my RC8 is very, very much out of collimation (And it kinda shows I know ). In fact I havent even touched it since I bought it! This gross mis-collimation is further accentuated when using my 0.67x reducer (spacing is not correct either). And for the first 4 images I think my OAG mirror was slightly protruding in front of the CCD so one particular edge would always be darker. So with all that being said, here is my recount for the night(s) in order that they were taken:

General setup
Mount: NEQ6
Imaging Train: RC8 - Reducer (Optional) - OAG - FW (Baader 2" Ha) - QHY9M
Guiding: Lodestar used with a TSOAG9, 1sec guiding
Image processing: Captured in Maxim 5, 'On the fly' stacking in DSS & editing in Photoshop CS3 (These were just rough and dirty images I put together whilst in between targets)

Tarantula (11pm)
4*600sec 1x1
Seeing was atrocious, the temperature was hovering around 27 and the stars were twinkling like mad! I think my focus was off too, but I was just too excited to finally use my new setup to really care. I also took 4*600sec OIII subs to try my hand at Bi-colour NB processing but the seeing really put me off, the resulting image looked pretty average so left it out.

Gabriela Mistral (1.30am)
1*600sec + 3*900sec 2x2 + CCDT67
Seeing started becoming better but I decided to use my 0.67x reducer for the rest of the night otherwise I'd be sampling at 0.61 arcsec/pixel and probably wouldn't be much point. Focus was much better too. I also started binning 2x2 for funsies. I was quite happy with this, there's alot going on in this region. Definitely looking forward to a NB composite of this with no reducer!

Chook (3am)
3*900sec 2x2 + CCDT67
Getting the composition right was difficult but not a bad image. Focus started becoming worse here but I didnt notice.

NGC 3603 (4am)
1*3600sec 1x1 + CCDT67
I was stunned by this image. I've actually never imaged this nebula before and didn't know what to expect, it's just such a complex and beautiful nebula. I did it just to see if I could do a 60min sub and it worked out quite well so I feel that this is my best work for this night. I did get some field rotation since my PA isn't really all that flash. Focus wasn't that great again grrrr.


---------------
At this point I packed up for the night. Only the next morning did I see the focus issue, and came to the conclusion I must be getting a little drawer slippage. This proved to be right because the next night when I imaged, over 4 subs you could see the image becoming more and more out of focus. I'll see how I go next time but now I'll be more mindful of it. It's odd because I use a Bahtinov mask and tightened the focuser tube in place quite hard, maybe its a temperature effect? Anywhos then saturday got home at ~3am from the city and saw that it was clear and decided why not

NGC 3603 (4am)
3*900sec 1x1
I wanted to focus on one part of the nebula which I liked the most, no reducer or binning this time. Turned it on and went inside, came out and realised I had 45min worth of out of focus data and got very annoyed as I had the focus spot on before I turned it on. You could see that the drawer was slipping as the stars got worse and worse. I then took another 2*900sec subs which were much better but by this time dawn was approaching and all the faint nebulosity got lost in the bright background. So all in all it ended being a useless exercise but it made me realise how much more depth I got with the previous 60min sub.

Keyhole (5.30am)
3*600sec 1x1
By far the best work I've done to date with the QHY9. With dawn approaching and it becoming light enough for me to see without needing a torch, I decided to image something really bright. I tried staying away from Eta cause lets be honest - almost everyone images this!! But I was very very very content with this. Focus was pretty good, lots of detail and only 30min of my life needed for it


-----------------
Well, that concludes my essay on the topic of 'Your imaging weekend'. Please critique my work and tell me where I can improve and your thoughts I hope one day I'll be there with the titans here on ISS who take such stunning images on this forum, and regularly too! One day hehe

Clear skies and thanks for reading!
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (Tarantula reduced.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (NGC 3324 Gabriela Mistral reduced.jpg)
185.3 KB103 views
Click for full-size image (Chook reduced.jpg)
168.9 KB83 views
Click for full-size image (NGC 3603 reduced.jpg)
198.9 KB114 views
Click for full-size image (NGC 3603.jpg)
143.5 KB105 views
Click for full-size image (Keyhole Nebula.jpg)
118.2 KB102 views

Last edited by Meru; 17-02-2013 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:32 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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Oh I completely forgot, here's a image I took about a month ago when I had a friend's lodestar and OAG on loan. It's NGC 253, and once again no calibration (Check out the awesome dust donuts). This however was a L channel image, 4*600sec 1x1. The lodestar is truly amazing. No matter where I point the RC8, reduced or not, I *always* and *always* get atleast 4 stars to guide on, even at 1sec guiding. By far the best investment I've made in this hobby
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:43 PM
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MrB (Simon)
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Nice work Meru! Love the keyhole image.
Looks like it will be a great imaging setup when the bugs are ironed out.
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:48 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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Thanks Simon Yes it's been one step at a time for me. Got the equipment worked out only last week, now to fine tune the lot!
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:52 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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I can't see the images... where are they?

H
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:52 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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Sorry I was just resizing them a bit better, should be visible now
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:54 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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I see them now!

Great start -- I'm with Simon, they Keyhole Nebula one is excellent!

With all of them, though, don't be afraid to punch the contrast a bit. At the moment, they're a little grey, but, I can see the potential there.

H
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:58 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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Thanks Humayun Yea I felt they were suffering from lack of contrast, I was too afraid to stretch them more aggressively since they haven't been calibrated. Now that it's all working, I'd much rather spend a few hours/nights on just one target to get enough data to stretch it further (Including calibration of course)
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Old 17-02-2013, 01:22 PM
swannies1983 (Dan)
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Nice work Meru. Some great detail in there and congrats for the 60min sub! Just thinking about that scares me to bits. Not that it should as I would never be able to do that with a dslr.

It's also good to see a fellow RC8 user imaging . Looking forward to more images from you.
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Old 17-02-2013, 01:38 PM
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jjjnettie (Jeanette)
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NIce work. It must feel great getting back into it again.
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Old 17-02-2013, 01:48 PM
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Hi Meru,

Nice work, that's a winning combination in terms of equipment, so should only get better. As H suggested, just increase the contrast a bit more. Will add depth. can you post the O3 sub and Ha subs as well.

I like the NGC3603 and NGC253 best. lots of detail in 253.

I like 3603 nebula because the HaRGB editions resemble the bell jar with the rose in beauty and the beast with a glowing rose. so i like to call it the B&B nebula. Could just be my imagination.
http://www.docdb.net/img/dso/ngc/3/n...p_1-dieter.jpg
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0803...00crawford.jpg
http://cdn.astrobin.com/images/d1dfc...b5_resized.jpg

Alistair
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Old 17-02-2013, 03:10 PM
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Nice images, Meru
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Old 17-02-2013, 03:20 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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Dan,
Thank you Yea I was very happy knowing I got get away with 60min. I love the RC8, my master plan is to do NB with the QHY9 and then do LRGB with my D800 (for bright objects) and combine. Just easier than having to use RGB filters. Less overall imaging time means I'm more awake at work hehe.

Alistair,
Lol! That's actually very creative, I was wondering why there was no name for it when I searched the 'net. We should officially call it the B&B nebula Thank you yes it all works together well (for now atleast). Agreed with the contrast, I'm just taking darks now so that should help with the image stretching. What Ha & O3 are you talking about? Tarantula?

jjjjnettie & Laurie,
Thank you yes 5 months has been far too long. Missed most of the good summer targets when melbourne's skies are not dumping rain!
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Old 17-02-2013, 03:59 PM
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Beautiful work Meru! Loved the Keyhole the most.
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Old 17-02-2013, 05:39 PM
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cybereye (Mario)
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Meru,

A very nice set of images and I'm with Dan, good to see another RC8 out there!!

Cheers,
Mario

PS I should be back out imaging with my RC8 once this rain clears from Brisbane - I'd say about April!
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Old 18-02-2013, 03:12 AM
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Wow, those are really nice!
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Old 18-02-2013, 04:15 AM
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prokyon (Werner Probst)
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Hi Meru,

promising start!
Now you can bomb it.
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Old 18-02-2013, 02:56 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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Thanks guys this is honestly more of a response than I expected! I got some OIII data for the keyhole last night so hopefully should come up with anice Bi-coloured NB image. Lol wow that sucks mario, my friend in Brisbane was telling me how much it's been raining lately. Looking forward to what you can cook up once it clears!
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Old 18-02-2013, 03:34 PM
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Hi Meru,

As the rest have said, you have got a great setup. The images look really good. I like your galaxy very much.

Some darks/bias frames will do wonders to these images.

Looking forward to seeing more.

Cheers
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Old 19-02-2013, 08:25 AM
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Meru (Michael)
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Thanks John, yes I really need to calibrate them! I want to get some RGB on NGC253 and calibrate the L channel I already have
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