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Thread: Astrophotography

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    Astrophotography

    Not sure if others share my passion for astronomy, but on the off chance others do, I thought I’d start a thread of Astrophotography. I’m not that great and don’t have the really expensive equipment necessary for the really great shots but I did this last night. It Messier 65 and 66, and yes I was trying for the entire Leo Triplet, but missed one. That’s OK! This is only 25 subs at 2 minutes a piece with 10 darks and 45 bias shots. Canon T3i modified on an Explore Scientific 127mm scope. ISO 1600. Stacked and processed in ImagesPlus and PSExpress. I need to add flats. Maybe later, chores now.


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    Tricksy Leftits Angry Floof's Avatar
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    Very cool!

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    That's an incredible image especially taken by a hobbyist. Not that I know anything about the the state of the art these days. I once owned a 8" Celestron reflector, but never got very far with it. So I had to google the scope you use and came upon this guy's website: Astrobin.com and Chuck Ayoub's gallery posting below (sorry for the large size of the image):



    Really amazing that something like that can be attained from someone's backyard in Alabama. Anyway, I'm posting it because what I've always wondered is whether these are true color images and what someone in a spaceship would actually see with the unaided eye. I've been assuming that most of what they show on TV science documentaries is color enhanced to reflect the wavelengths associated with various elements.

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    Veteran Member crazyfingers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    That's an incredible image especially taken by a hobbyist. Not that I know anything about the the state of the art these days. I once owned a 8" Celestron reflector, but never got very far with it. So I had to google the scope you use and came upon this guy's website: Astrobin.com and Chuck Ayoub's gallery posting below (sorry for the large size of the image):



    Really amazing that something like that can be attained from someone's backyard in Alabama. Anyway, I'm posting it because what I've always wondered is whether these are true color images and what someone in a spaceship would actually see with the unaided eye. I've been assuming that most of what they show on TV science documentaries is color enhanced to reflect the wavelengths associated with various elements.
    Almost certainly with just an 8" reflector this was taken using a clock drive and perhaps hundreds of individual timed shots stacked and aligned with special software to get the true colors. You just don't see true colors like this just looking through the eyepiece or just one photograph.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    That's an incredible image especially taken by a hobbyist. Not that I know anything about the the state of the art these days. I once owned a 8" Celestron reflector, but never got very far with it. So I had to google the scope you use and came upon this guy's website: Astrobin.com and Chuck Ayoub's gallery posting below (sorry for the large size of the image):



    Really amazing that something like that can be attained from someone's backyard in Alabama. Anyway, I'm posting it because what I've always wondered is whether these are true color images and what someone in a spaceship would actually see with the unaided eye. I've been assuming that most of what they show on TV science documentaries is color enhanced to reflect the wavelengths associated with various elements.
    Yes, these are quite likely false colors because the dominant color will be red from hydrogen. Also, the surface brightness of these things are pretty low so it won’t look as impressive in person as in a long exposure photograph.

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    Veteran Member crazyfingers's Avatar
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    A few years ago I took this photo of the Orion's belt and the Orion nebula using my Canon PowerShot SX50 superzoom at 215mm equivalent. I believe that I used night shot which would have taken several individual photos and stacked them. I took it resting the camera on the roof of the car.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowy Man View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    That's an incredible image especially taken by a hobbyist. Not that I know anything about the the state of the art these days. I once owned a 8" Celestron reflector, but never got very far with it. So I had to google the scope you use and came upon this guy's website: Astrobin.com and Chuck Ayoub's gallery posting below (sorry for the large size of the image):



    Really amazing that something like that can be attained from someone's backyard in Alabama. Anyway, I'm posting it because what I've always wondered is whether these are true color images and what someone in a spaceship would actually see with the unaided eye. I've been assuming that most of what they show on TV science documentaries is color enhanced to reflect the wavelengths associated with various elements.
    Yes, these are quite likely false colors because the dominant color will be red from hydrogen. Also, the surface brightness of these things are pretty low so it won’t look as impressive in person as in a long exposure photograph.
    The guys on Astrobin can be quite amazing. I have a few pics there myself. Narrowband imaging, like this picture, is very difficult. They typically are taken over several nights, totaling often 60 hours of data. Plus additional dark, bias and flat frames. I only had time for 10 darks last night. I need to add flats. That would eliminate the glow in the middle. Bias shots are easy and I have them prestored. For narrowband, typically people choose the Hubble palette (same filters) so their pictures look like they come from the Hubble telescope itself. Of course those are “false” colors. Almost all colors in space are. If you look at any of these nebulae through a telescope, you won’t see any colors. Just a faint cloud of stuff. If you use an OIII filter to observe though (increases contrast) you’ll notice it turns the nebula green. So not exactly false. H-alpha is near the red end of the spectrum. Hubble makes it almost brown.

    One advantage Chuck has over me is a dedicated astronomy camera. He’s using a cooled camera, and the cooling, often 20 degrees Celsius below ambient makes a huge difference in noise. My Canon DSLR actually heats up above ambient so it’s even worse. A real camera is m next big purchase but I need to get better first. They can easily run you over $2K.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazyfingers View Post
    A few years ago I took this photo of the Orion's belt and the Orion nebula using my Canon PowerShot SX50 superzoom at 215mm equivalent. I believe that I used night shot which would have taken several individual photos and stacked them. I took it resting the camera on the roof of the car.

    There’s some inexpensive mounts for wide field like this. A friend has something called a move shoot move rotator. I think it’s only a few hundred dollars. He takes amazing wide field shots with it. Utterly mind blowing. I’ve enjoyed a bit of wide field but it’s best under far less polluted skies than I am near.

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    Back in my professionally active days, I got the chance to observe with the 0.9m telescope on Kitt Peak, just outside of Tucson, Arizona. I observed a few nebulae, including M27 (aka Dumbbell Nebula) and IC 63. I took narrowband images in lines of hydrogen, sulfur and oxygen. The three individual images are shown below and then the composite three-color, where I colored them red, green, and blue, respectively. I arbitrarily adjusted the brightness of each image to make for a nice color balance, which is why the stars ended up looking yellow/green.





    And the below is how the combined image ended up looking for IC 63, a nebula illuminated by Gamma Cassiopeiae.


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    This is on the to-do list. We (8-yo daughter and I) recently got an 8-inch'er with EQ mount. She is really into it. The tracking mount makes things so much easier to keep an 8-yo's head in the game. Finally got Jupiter done, early morning thing, and my daughter leapt out of bed when I told her the scope was targeted on it. So she has seen Mars (crappy underwater quality, but big), Jupiter (washed out, turn good), Saturn (pretty good), and Uranus. We had gotten the scope just before the conjunction (took two months to get!), but it was cloudy skies for literally one month straight!

    Need to get the adapter to get the camera on it. I think I also need to get a north star tool for alignment. I think our equipment, including camera (Sony, which is good with low light) is the minimum required, so the shots should be adequate, nothing great. My Uncle is a "pro", well, "pro-amateur". He did this stuff back in the 80s when you really needed to know your stuff. He now how a pole mounted into the ground for a "tripod", and can take ridiculously long exposures, half-hour plus! He was sent me some mind blowing stuff.

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