Galaxy NGC 3031 (M81)


Scope:TMB 80mm APO Refractor at f/6
Camera:ZWO ASI 1600MM Pro
Mount:Losmandy G11 – Gemini Series IV GoTo
Exposure:73 x 60sec light frames Dark subtracted, No Flats.
Other CommentsA total of 73 x 60sec light frames which have been dark subtracted. I wasn’t really worried how this turned out as this session was more of a test of how PHD was performing. Not having used PHD before, I was generally playing around with the various settings to see how they would affect the guiding error rates.
Date Taken: 23/03/2020

Galaxy NGC 244 (M31)


Scope:Takahashi FSQ-ED 106 f/5
Camera:SBIG STL-11000
Mount:Paramount PME
Exposure:11 x 300sec Bin 1×1, 5 x 300 sec in the Blue, 9 x 180 sec in the Green and 7 x 300 sec in the Red RGB all 2×2 bin. Dark Subtracted, Flat fielded
Processing:I finally managed to get a good spell of clear weather in New Mexico. M31 is such a popular target for imagers and we see so many images of it, but it really does suit this scope and camera combination. I also wanted to practice my processing skills in Pixinsight, especially as colour is not something I have done much of.
Other CommentsOverall I’m happy with this. The core shows nice graduation and the outer star forming regions show good detail. As for the colour – I haven’t tweaked this too much. I used Pixinsights star colour calibration tool so didn’t want to stray from what this gave me.
Date Taken: 09/12/2018

Galaxy NGC 4258 (M106)


Scope:TMB 80 f/4.8
Camera:SBIG 2000 XM
Mount:Losmandy G11 – Gemini Series IV GoTo
Exposure:23 x 10 min Bin 1×1 0c Dark Subtracted, No Flats
Processing:All combined, calibrated and stacked in Pixinsight 1.08. DBE followed by ABE. Then,quite a bit of Multi Scale Linear Transformation to reduce the noise, followed by a full stretch.Then given a HDR Multi scale Transform to bring out some of the detail in the spiral arms, before loading the image into Affinity Pro for a final tweak and a High Pass sharpen.
Other CommentsTrawling through 11 year old archives, to give a newly acquired copy of Pixinsight 1.08 a run to see what it could do. This series of images was originally rejected because of the noise, not to mention the terrible seeing. But 10 years worth of software technology improvement has resurrected this image to within acceptable limits. I’m sure that more practice with the software could improve this even more.
Date Taken: 

Bode’s Nebula NGC 3031 & NGC 3034

Scope:TMB 80mm APO Refractor at f/4
Camera:SBIG 2000 XM
Mount:Losmandy G11 – Gemini Series IV GoTo
Exposure:12 x 5 min Bin 1×1 10c Dark Subtracted, No Flats
Processing: With only 60 minutes of luminance, the data is a little thin. A couple of iterations of curves with the cores of both galaxies being held back to prevent saturation. Guiding was spot on, so no work has been done on the stars. The galaxies were then given one round of curve adjustment to bring out the faint detail in the outer fringes. The brighter areas were then given a mild unsharp mask. The background areas were smoothed using Neat Image.
Other CommentsThe first image of 2007. In order to get colour for this, I limited Luminance to 60 mins, and then managed to get 45 mins of RGB data. This will be added later.
Date Taken: 09/03/2007

Galaxy NGC 5457 (M101) in Ursa Major


Scope:TMB 80mm APO Refractor at f/6
Camera:SBIG 2000 XM
Mount:Losmandy G11 – Gemini Series III GoTo
Exposure:Luminance 18 x 10 min Bin 1×1 RGB 8 x 5 min for each of the RGB channels, which are Binned 2×2. -20c dark subtracted, No Flat
Processing: Acquisition Maxim DL 4.51, Photoshop CS2. Russell Croman’s GradientXterminator removed a nasty light leak gradient. A couple of iterations of curves and black point adjustment was followed by selective curve adjustment of the brighter areas. Sharpening the high S/N areas and smoothing on the background with dust mote removal was followed by some mild star reduction using the minimum filter.
Other CommentsThe luminance component this image was taken from the previous image below. This was combined with RGB components taken a month later. Apart from histogram stretching to equalise the colour channels at both ends (something I never tried before), I didn’t radically alter the colour balance. I set the core colour and let the rest take care of itself. A lot of images of M101 seem far too saturated, and so I have tried to fiddle with the colour as little as possible. This the first LRGB image that I’m really happy with.
Date Taken: 03/04/2006