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Old 22-05-2023, 11:37 AM
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marc4darkskies (Marcus)
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IC 2599 / NGC 3324 (Gabriela Mistral) and NGC 3293

I just completed my first image in 12 months! Data gathering ended up being a bit of a nightmare! Over 4 nights I only gathered 11 hours of data. I had equipment issues every night - mostly self inflicted.

Firstly, I experimented with the baffle OS gave me in 2014 (to prevent stray light ingress) after painting it ultra black ("Musou Black"). This failed with ringed star halos around bright stars - no clue why - so I had to remove it. Then I experimented with mount only guiding (as opposed to AO guiding). This failed because I forgot how to set up mount only guiding - so I went back to AO guiding. Those two things wasted hours of possible imaging time over 2 nights. The next night my dome decided to stop working only a couple of hours into imaging - killing the remainder of the session. Fixed the following day. And the coup de gras, while shutting down on the last night ( ie. parking the mount and de-rotating the imaging train), a cable wrapped around my imaging train very tightly, caught the HDMI cable powering the filter wheel and guide camera (SBIG FW8G), and snapped the plug off the cable. Thankfully I had gathered as much data as I needed (just).

The good news was the seeing was great! The best period yielded 1.48 arcsec FWHM (the best I've EVER seen) with an average over all subs of 2.1 arcsec FWHM. RMS guiding errors were of course tiny; around 0.18 arcsec on each axis.

Anyway, here is the result. IC 2599 / NGC 3324 (Gabriella Mistral) and NGC 3293 (Gem cluster). My FOV was only juuuust large enough to catch them both but the composition is reasonably well balanced IMO.

NGC 3324 is an open cluster in the constellation Carina, located northwest of the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) at a distance of 9,100 ly (2,800 pc) from Earth. It is closely associated with the emission nebula IC 2599, also known as Gum 31. The two are often confused as a single object, and together have been nicknamed the "Gabriela Mistral Nebula"

NGC 3293 (aka the Gem Cluster) is an open cluster also in Carina. It consists of more than 100 stars brighter than 14th magnitude in a 10 arc minute field, the brightest of which are blue supergiants of apparent magnitude 6.5 and 6.7. There is also a 7th magnitude pulsating red supergiant, V361 Carinae. It is associated with the open cluster NGC 3324. Both are fairly young, at around 12 million years old.

This is an (LHa)(RHa)G(BHa) image (L & Ha: 180 Mins & 120 mins respectievly). R,G & B were all 120 mins for a total integration time of 11 hours

To zoom and pan arount the full res / full frame: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marc4d...etaken-public/
To see the full res crop of Gabbie: https://pbase.com/gailmarc/image/173645782/original
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Last edited by marc4darkskies; 03-06-2023 at 07:41 AM. Reason: Replaced images
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  #2  
Old 22-05-2023, 02:45 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Oh man, that all sounded pretty frustrating Marcus, glad you got it sorted though, but so good to hear you are back in the imagers driving chair of that lovely observatory of yours! Have to say, it's refreshing to see Gabby in a more "natural" looking HaRGB style, she does look good....arhem, even verging on juuust a tad fluro you know, ionisation emissions I like it! . I like the composition too, logic tells us it should look a little crammed but naaah..to my eye at least, it does work

Isn't it cool to get those sort of seeing conditions and when they happen its also good to have a finer image scale too, you are lucky. Was that Friday night by any chance? I was getting 1.5" FWHM up at Eagleview with my scope as I crossed the meridian, with the same sort of guiding figures too, t'is a good feeling when the guide star centroid history plot looks like a Robin Hood target full of arrows in the bullseye

Hope to see more from you

Mike
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Old 22-05-2023, 04:18 PM
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When things go wrong, they really go wrong! Especially with astrophotography. I'm sure most us, if not all of us, have stories to tell about things going wrong for seemingly no reason (I know I do), although it would be difficult to match yours. I remember thinking about what the collective noun for astrophotographers would be (e.g. army of ants, pride of lions, murder of crows, etc). I think for us it should be a frustration of astrophotographers.

You certainly overcame the frustration though. I really like the the perspective of objects often imaged, but at a longer focal length than usual. Great image!
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Old 22-05-2023, 04:32 PM
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marc4darkskies (Marcus)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
... it's refreshing to see Gabby in a more "natural" looking HaRGB style, she does look good ... I like it!
Yep. I confess I'm pretty bored with the endless NB renditions. As you know I always prefer natural palette images ... done properly that is, to pull out the subtle colour nuances.

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I like the composition too, logic tells us it should look a little crammed but naaah..to my eye at least, it does work
Yes it does, thanks. But a couple more arcmins field width wouldn't have gone astray.

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Isn't it cool to get those sort of seeing conditions and when they happen its also good to have a finer image scale too, you are lucky. Was that Friday night by any chance?
Yes, it was nice to get a good result after all my troubles!! I'm sure Gail heard me cussing from inside the house!

Thanks Mike.
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Old 22-05-2023, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kosborn View Post
When things go wrong, they really go wrong! Especially with astrophotography. I'm sure most us, if not all of us, have stories to tell about things going wrong for seemingly no reason (I know I do), although it would be difficult to match yours. I remember thinking about what the collective noun for astrophotographers would be (e.g. army of ants, pride of lions, murder of crows, etc). I think for us it should be a frustration of astrophotographers.
Yeah, I've never had it so bad. But I did bring some of it on myself by tempting the imaging gods with some experimentation!

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You certainly overcame the frustration though. I really like the the perspective of objects often imaged, but at a longer focal length than usual. Great image!
Thanks very much Kevin!
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Old 23-05-2023, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by marc4darkskies View Post
Yeah, I've never had it so bad. But I did bring some of it on myself by tempting the imaging gods with some experimentation!



Thanks very much Kevin!
I can feel sympathy for your difficulties only my tale is worse.
I drove 4 hours to my dark site fully loaded with gear.
I set up at my dark site and I unwittingly connected a 48 volt transformer to my 12 volt AP1600 mount. Which understandably it didn’t like.
Then 3 nights of beautiful clear skies and good seeing.

I did do some nightscapes though which I always enjoy.

Great image Marcus. Your stars are always among the best in the business and I like the range of colours you have preserved.
Greg
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Old 23-05-2023, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
I can feel sympathy for your difficulties only my tale is worse.
I drove 4 hours to my dark site fully loaded with gear.
I set up at my dark site and I unwittingly connected a 48 volt transformer to my 12 volt AP1600 mount. Which understandably it didn’t like.
Then 3 nights of beautiful clear skies and good seeing.
Ouch! I bet you used a few choice words when that happened! Is it an easy fix - eg a fuse? Or is it a hard fix - send it for repairs?

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Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
Great image Marcus. Your stars are always among the best in the business and I like the range of colours you have preserved.
Greg
Thanks very much Greg! Much appreciated! Good seeing helps with the stellar profiles of course. I've completely changed my workflow now too thanks to StarXterminator. Essentially, I process the starless and stars only versions separately. Relatively minor mods thereafter when recombining. This pretty much eliminates having to deal with dark stellar halos when boosting the Ha signal in the subject, especially around blue stars. It also avoids collateral damage to the star colours when adjusting the subject nebulosity.
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Old 24-05-2023, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by marc4darkskies View Post
Ouch! I bet you used a few choice words when that happened! Is it an easy fix - eg a fuse? Or is it a hard fix - send it for repairs?



Thanks very much Greg! Much appreciated! Good seeing helps with the stellar profiles of course. I've completely changed my workflow now too thanks to StarXterminator. Essentially, I process the starless and stars only versions separately. Relatively minor mods thereafter when recombining. This pretty much eliminates having to deal with dark stellar halos when boosting the Ha signal in the subject, especially around blue stars. It also avoids collateral damage to the star colours when adjusting the subject nebulosity.

Thanks for the processing tips.

Not sure where the damage to the mount stands yet. I could not see a fuse inside the controller box.

Greg.
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Old 25-05-2023, 08:04 AM
matlud (Mathew)
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A great image Marcus! Interesting your baffle gave additional reflections -I haven't had any luck with painting reflective anodised surfaces black either, even with ultra black paints and use adhesive velour now. Drives me a bit crazy that manufacturers make components that are in the optical train with reflective surfaces and we have to trouble shoot this sort of issue.
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Old 25-05-2023, 09:53 AM
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A wonderfully detailed image with great colours.
I hope that's the last of the gremlins for a while!
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Old 25-05-2023, 02:19 PM
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marc4darkskies (Marcus)
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A great image Marcus! Interesting your baffle gave additional reflections -I haven't had any luck with painting reflective anodised surfaces black either, even with ultra black paints and use adhesive velour now. Drives me a bit crazy that manufacturers make components that are in the optical train with reflective surfaces and we have to trouble shoot this sort of issue.
Thanks very much Mathew!

As far as the baffling goes, see the images below - the original OS baffle was supplied in 2014 after discussion of spurious light arcs appearing in my images. The 3-D printed baffle they sent me attaches to the end of the primary baffle. It was very effective at preventing off-axis light striking the corrector lens in front of the prime focus causing light arcs. It also darkened the sky in test images. Alas, it also caused noticeably larger and brighter halos around the brighter stars. After painting recently (now much blacker) the surface of the baffle is somewhat rougher and now produces diffraction rings around brighter stars. as per the 3rd image below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrograde View Post
A wonderfully detailed image with great colours.
I hope that's the last of the gremlins for a while!
Thankyou Pete! I hope so.

As far as gremlins go, the biggest one - ME - certainly won't be experimenting on a clear imaging night again!!
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Old 25-05-2023, 09:54 PM
Dave882 (David)
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Very impressive mate. Great shot!
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Old 26-05-2023, 07:35 AM
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I think we’ve all a minor disaster at some stage , however you’ve produced a fine image with excellent reach , detail and resolution
Well done for perseverance alone

Cheers
Martin
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Old 26-05-2023, 08:18 AM
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That is a lovely image Marcus. The rich colour works really well and then you have nice sharp data. Well done.
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Old 26-05-2023, 09:04 AM
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marc4darkskies (Marcus)
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Very impressive mate. Great shot!
Thanks Dave!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Startrek View Post
I think we’ve all a minor disaster at some stage , however you’ve produced a fine image with excellent reach , detail and resolution
Well done for perseverance alone

Cheers
Martin
Cheers Martin! Some imaging sessions are just so darn stressful! Sheer bloody mindedness got me through though!

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That is a lovely image Marcus. The rich colour works really well and then you have nice sharp data. Well done.
Thanks very much Paul! Glad you liked it!
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Old 03-06-2023, 03:08 PM
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That's a great image Marcus - Great detail and you have processed the dynamic colour range nicely showing a wealth of subtle hues
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Old 04-06-2023, 04:27 PM
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That's a great image Marcus - Great detail and you have processed the dynamic colour range nicely showing a wealth of subtle hues
Ah David! Welcome back to the fray! Thanks very much for your remarks. I'm glad you recognized what I was trying achieve - to maximise vibrancy and colour nuance. In fact, that's always my goal - hopefully without falling into the let's-oversaturate-for-impact trap.
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Old 05-06-2023, 08:59 AM
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The composition and layout stand out on this image Marcus. A very nice balance between the cluster in the corner and the image of Gabriela.
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Old 05-06-2023, 02:22 PM
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marc4darkskies (Marcus)
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The composition and layout stand out on this image Marcus. A very nice balance between the cluster in the corner and the image of Gabriela.
Thanks very much Rodney! It was a tight fit with a 3.1m FL, but it worked!
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Old 10-06-2023, 11:37 AM
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This is a beautiful image Marcus. Love how sharp those "cosmic cliffs" are. The contrasting colours between the pink nebula and blue star cluster is a very nice combination. Top shelf stuff
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