Well long time no post! Sometimes we just get too busy! Been a very intense year, plenty to update you with along the way.
The Camera and scope setup continues to go well, however Melbourne’s weather not as successful! During Fall/Winter 2015 we had a terribly long period where we couldn’t image at all, drove us all mad. You know the feeling I”m sure.
I’ll do a separate post soon on my new favourite acquisition – a Software Bisque Paramount MyT mount! Such a work of art. In the meantime, lust over one here.
Back to the topic – Many of my imaging colleagues have expanded to narrowband imaging, using high quality Ha, SII and OIII filters to produce lovely colourful images of the very faint nebulas that us Aussies are so spoilt with.
If you follow my Flickr feed, you’ll see that I am more regularly using a 6nm Ha filter in conjunction with the Sony A7s – it’s a formidable combo. But unfortunately, because of my scope and camera’s very wide field of view (3-4 degrees!), there’s not much point in me purchasing a 2 inch OIII or SII filter. Not to mention the pain of swapping the filters over manually every time. To make matters worse, I can’t even use a filter drawer, as I am already at close to the limits of my scope in relation to backfocus distance.
Yet another post to be made soon will outline my plans for future upgrading to a larger scope that will be able to take a filter wheel and have a decent focal length, enabling me to get knee-deep into NB.
So in the meantime, I’m getting lots of NB processing practice by taking both iTelescope images and more recently, processing any decent Hubble Data that I find.
I’ve also become a member of the awesome Deep Sky West observatory in Rowe, New Mexico, USA, providing me with superb data, lots of NB practice and even better, advice and support from fellow members, some of whom are among the most accomplished imagers and processors in the world! Talk about a steep learning curve. Bloody good value at $100 per month, even if you become a member for only one year, you won’t regret it. My processing has already gone up a notch or 2 from watching the pros in action and practising on the data myself.
Anyway, the main topic – I thought I’d share with you the excellent website I found that is an easy to use repository for much of the Hubble Space Telescope historical data and a few other prominent missions:
Together with another handy link, a repository of calibration files, not well known…until now!
https://hst-crds.stsci.edu/ – For this site, select option 2, simply upload your FITS file and watch the site strip the required data from the file and suggest the appropriate dark/bias files etc.
All this hubble data can become quite overwhelming, there’s A LOT of it. But very few files are of superb quality I find. It takes a lot of searching to find the good stuff. Maybe this site could be a good place to share your discoveries?! Let us know in the comments if you find some really good quality files.
So below are a few pics I processed recently, either from Hubble, DSW or iTelescope. My current workflow, broadly, is:
- Do all stacking and basic data quality improvements in Pixinsight, including Dynamic Background Enhancement. Combine the NB images in LRGB mode via Pixinsight
- Occasionally use Startools to further enhance the image and definitely use it for deconvolution, it’s very easy and effective to use
- Return back to Pixinsight for colour gradation tweaks
- Out to Photoshop for selective colour work
- Then off to Lightroom to use its amazingly effective edits, especially vibrance and colour temp edits, as well as noise control
- Then back to Photoshop if needed, to apply certain effects via layer masks.
- Then to the kitchen for a cuppa!
Core area of M42:
Just a small, deep region of NGC253:
Some recent DSW images. Check out the superb data. Both images of well over 25 hours of exposure, 30 minute subs:
Cat’s paw neb from iTelescope, data cost me about $100 aussie dollars, or around 52 cents USD !!(humor alert)
Watch out for my scope upgrade post coming soon