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Nearly 15 hours of imaging with a Takahashi TOA-130

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Comment by Marc Basti on December 5, 2011 at 4:33pm

Appreciate the work flow-thank you. Marc

Comment by Derek Baker on December 5, 2011 at 8:55am

WOW!!!!! Spectacular detail and colour!

Comment by Gary Colwell on December 4, 2011 at 6:10pm

absolutely beautiful...i have a Toa 130 as well but havent tried this one at all!

Comment by Trevor Woodrow on December 4, 2011 at 10:49am

Great outline Alistair!

Comment by Alistair Symon on December 4, 2011 at 9:32am

Connor, So the first thing that will help with the processing is to get enough data which will give you a high S/N ratio. That makes processing a lot easier. This is 7 hours of luminance (10 min subs) and 2.5 hours in each color channel (10 min subs). Now having said that there's still a lot of work to be done in the processing. I use CCDstack for dark and flat field calibration. I use Registar for registration as it does the best job of aligning widelfield frames. Then I use CCDstack again to normalize, and then statistically reject the outliers like hot pixels and satellite trails etc.. The luminance I import in Photoshop having done a mild DDP stretch in CCDstack making sure tha even the black areas of the image have a value of around 20 counts to avoid clipping and losing data. Once in Photoshop I use curves and levels extensively to bring out the faint detail in the nebulosity. I combine the color image in CCstack in the same way as the luminance except I don't DDP it. I just import the color version straight into photoshop. First thing to do is to adjust the color level in each channel so that the black point for each color is the same. That gets rid of one color dominating over the other and gives you a neutral background. Then I use levels and curves again to get a resonable image. Then I paste the luminance onto the color image and make it a luminosity layer. Now for the magic part. The color will look washed out (it was expecially washed out in this image). The way to get saturation back in is to use the shadow/highlights filter on the color layer and play with the color correction. You will be amazed at how much saturation this gives you without introducing too much noise. Credit for this technique goes to Adam Block, Then its time to do smoothing of the the noisy areas which I do with Noise Ninja. To really learn all the tools you need in your kitbag I thoroughly recommend buying Adam Blocks phtoshop turtorial for CCD image processing. Just serach for it on google. You will never regret buying it.

Comment by Conor on December 4, 2011 at 7:09am

Holy crap... That's an incredible shot and very well processed indeed. Can you post shot details? I'd love to know where the hell I'm going wrong...

Comment by Alistair Symon on December 4, 2011 at 5:54am

Thanks everyone! This was a tough one to process due to some color gradients. This object is in Taurus and its an unusal Sharpless object as you can just see the H-alpha of the nebula poking through the dark dust cloud that surrounds it.

Comment by Luc Delisle on December 4, 2011 at 5:10am

Another stunning shot, where exactly this object is?, which constellation?

Comment by Charles Dunlop on December 3, 2011 at 9:29pm

amazing, data, processing, everything.

Comment by Trevor Woodrow on December 3, 2011 at 9:16pm

You make in sick, in the absolute best way possible. This is just incredible.

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