This page will show off the successes I have had taking photos here at Carleton. Please note that this list of success is only about 50% of my attempts. The photos will be listed in reverse chronological order but please feel free to click a specific photo here to jump to that section of this page. I have now hosted the RAW Fits, TIFs, and results here. Take a crack at processing the data yourself and let me know how it turns out! (Wish I could provide you with better SNR images)


Dumbell Nebula (M27) – ASI183

A picture of Dumbell Nebula

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Pacman Nebula (NGC 281) – ASI183

A picture of the Eastern Veil Nebula

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Iris Nebula (NGC 7023) – ASI183

A picture of the Eastern Veil Nebula

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Eastern Veil Nebula – ASI183

A picture of the Eastern Veil Nebula

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Western Veil Nebula – ASI183

A picture of the Eastern Veil Nebula

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Andromeda Galaxy (M31) – ASI183

A picture of the Eastern Veil Nebula

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87% Moon – Sony

A picture of a Waxing Gibbous Moon in May of 2020

  • Date: May 07, 2020
  • Equipment: Sony a6500 with Focal Reducer 0.63x & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: ~10 Minutes
  • Process: I used the video-to-frames stacking method for this one. I also used the 0.63x Focal Reducer which stopped the LX200 from f/10 up to f/6.3 and also brought the focal length from 2000mm to 1260mm which allowed me to capture the moon in only two videos (as opposed to the 7 without the Reducer). I brought the two videos separately into PIPP to extract the top 80% of frames and to stabilize the video. Then stacked the outputted AVI file in AutoStakkert!3 and I think I did some initial adjustments in RegiStaX with final adjustments done in Photoshop
  • Frames: Don’t remember

Globular Cluster (M92) – CCD

A picture of M92, a Globular Cluster, in May of 2020

  • Date: May 07, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STT-8300M with Filter Wheel FW8G-STT and Focal Reducer 0.63x & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 30 Minutes
  • Process: I used a the same Focal Reducer for this image but it didn’t really turn out well. The edges had much oblonging of the stars to the point were it was actually pretty bad. In addition to this, the use of the focal reducer had rendered the OAG unusable. I might try a different ordering of the connections (I did for this image: telescope < focal reducer < motorized focuser < filter wheel < SBIG STT). For the actual image, I stacked in DSS and did the “New Process” technique in photoshop.
  • Frames: 45seconds, 10x for each LRGB&Darks

Fireworks Galaxy (NGC6946) – CCD

A picture of the Fireworks Galaxy in May of 2020

  • Date: May 07, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STT-8300M with Filter Wheel FW8G-STT & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 135 Minutes
  • Process: I removed the focal reducer for this image because I could not get the OAG to work. Once removed, it worked fine. For the actual image, I stacked in DSS and did the “New Process” technique in photoshop. At some point during my capture of Green frames, I noticed that the nebulosity of NGC6946 had dimmed so I paused the sequence and I checked the front element and, as I suspected, a layer of frost had formed. I brought the hair dryer out and removed this frost and added an extra 5 frames of Green.
  • Frames: 180s 10x of LRB&Darks and 15x of Green

Saturn – Sony

A picture of the Saturn in May of 2020

  • Date: May 15, 2020
  • Equipment: Sony a6500 & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 42 Seconds
  • Process: My usual video-to-picture PIPP/AutoStakkert process. Though, this time in Photoshop, I used the “Texture, Clarity, and Detail” sliders to remove the fuzziness.

Jupiter – Sony

A picture of the Jupiter in May of 2020

  • Date: May 15, 2020
  • Equipment: Sony a6500 & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 67 Seconds
  • Process: My usual video-to-picture PIPP/AutoStakkert process. Though, this time in Photoshop, I used the “Texture, Clarity, and Detail” sliders to remove the fuzziness.

International Space Station – Sony

A bad picture of the International Space Station in May of 2020

  • Date: May 15, 2020
  • Equipment: Sony a6500 & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 1/60 second, ISO: 2500
  • Process: I was out at the pier getting ready to take photos of Saturn. I start to slew the LX200 to Saturn when I look to my right over the Observatory and see an oddly bright, very fast UFO in the sky. I think to myself, “What satellite is that?” I pull out my star phone app and find out it’s the ISS! Immediately, I start to slew the LX200 to the ISS to take a photo but, man, tracking it was HARD! I had the telescope on MAX slew speed and even then, I had trouble finding the ISS on my camera, and not having the Finder scope nor the Telrad did not help (Okay, Cindy, I suppose, perhaps, I was wrong to not align the scope with the finder and the telrad and it definitely could have helped). All in all, the ISS was only overhead for about a minute and a half.

SuperMoon – Sony

A picture of the SuperMoon in April of 2020

  • Date: April 7, 2020
  • Equipment: Sony a6500 & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 21 Minutes
  • Process: I took 7 3-minute 4k videos of different sections of the moon (2 for the bottom half, 2 for the top half, and 3 for the middle section [the entire moon did not fit in one frame]). I had to recheck focus for each section and I think my focus was off for the lower left section of the Moon. I then used PIPP to splice each video into individual frames (about 5000 frames (.tifs) per video [some were less due to tech errors]). I then used AutoStakkert! to stack the top 25%-50% of frames. I then brought each section into Photoshop through an auto-collage merge and made final adjustments (levels, curves, vibrancy/saturation). I also added in the glow (by adding a circle with an “outer glow”) as well as background stars (from an image I took back in February of Corvus).
  • Frames: 7412 Light Frames

Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) – CCD

A picture of the Whrilpool Galaxy in April of 2020

  • Date: April 19, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STT-8300M with Filter Wheel FW8G-STT & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 97 Minutes 30 Seconds
  • Process: This is my first real image using AutoGuiding and PHD2. Look at my “Autoguiding” Page to learn more about that process. As per usual, all frames were stacked in DeepSkyStacker using a 3xDrizzle and a Median method. This photo is the first photo processed with the new workflow guide from Trevor Jones of AstroBackyard. While a much more time-consuming process, I believe the work has paid off compared to my previous attempts at this data. Each channel was taken into Photoshop and curves and level adjustments applied. I “neutralized the background” (I think that’s what it was called) by adjusting the blackpoint (through a levels adjustment) of each channel separately. I made 2 points on the sky using a color sample picker and made sure the RGB numbers stayed around similar values (around the 20s or 50s). Then multiple small curves and levels adjustments applied. For the gradient, I copied the layer and blurred it completely using a dust & scratches filter. I then “applied image” this blurred version on my previous layer and that greatly removed the gradient (this is in place of taking Flat and Bias frames).
  • Frames: 11x150second Luminance. 150 Seconds: 10 Red, 10 Green, 8 Blue. 10x149second dark exposures

Venus – Sony a6500

A picture of the Venus in April of 2020

  • Date: April 22, 2020
  • Equipment: Sony a6500 & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 2 Minutes
  • Process: I took a 2 minute 4K video of Venus through the LX200 8″, untracked (the telescope was not powered. I would have otherwise done a longer video but I didn’t have time to power on and setup the telescope). I then took the video into PIPP and outputted a centered AVI video file. Following this, I took the AVI into AutoStakkert! and stacked the top (??)% of frames. No further adjustments made.

Globular Cluster (M5) – CCD

A picture of the Gobular Cluster Messier 5 in April of 2020

  • Date: April 22, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STT-8300M with Filter Wheel FW8G-STT & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 58 Minutes 30 Seconds
  • Process: 1×1 Binning. Used DeepSkyStacker for the alignment and stacking of each channel as well as the dark subtraction. Merging the LRGB channels was done in Photoshop with additional levels and color balance adjustments applied.
  • Frames: 51x90second Luminance. 90 Seconds: 13 Red, 9 Green, 2 Blue (had much trouble combining the blue channel in DSS. Will try again in Nebulosity). 15x90second dark exposures

Sprial Galaxy (M106) – CCD

A picture of the Sprial Galaxy Messier 106 in April of 2020

  • Date: April 22, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STT-8300M with Filter Wheel FW8G-STT & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 78 Minutes
  • Process: I had much trouble bringing the colors out of this target so I decided to combine all channels into one in DeepSkyStacker to produce a mono image. More processing was then done in Photoshop
  • Frames: Don’t exactly remember but along the lines of 120 seconds of: 11xLuminance, 10Red, 10Green, 11Blue. Unfortunately, no darks were taken for this image (actually, I did take darks but accidentally as 1×1 bin by forgetting to change it from the 1x1bin of M5.)
  • Date: March 30, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 78 Minutes
  • Process: Used DeepSkyStacker for the alignment and stacking of each channel as well as the dark subtraction. Merging the LRGB channels was done in Photoshop with additional levels and color balance adjustments applied.
  • Frames: 15x120second Luminance. 120 Seconds: 9 Red, 8 Green, 7 Blue. 10x120second dark exposures

M13 – CCD

A picture of Messier 13

  • Date: March 31, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 42 Minutes
  • Process: Used DeepSkyStacker for the alignment and stacking of each channel as well as the dark subtraction. Merging the LRGB channels was done in Photoshop with additional levels and color balance adjustments applied.
  • Frames: 39x30second Luminance. 30 Seconds: 17 Red, 13 Green, 15 Blue. 10x30second dark exposures

Bode’s Galaxy (M81) – CCD

alex_cardenas_m81_v1

  • Date: February 19, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 32 minutes
  • Process: Used DeepSkyStacker for the alignment and stacking of each channel as well as the dark subtraction. Merging the LRGB channels was done in Photoshop with additional levels and color balance adjustments applied.
  • Frames: 20x20second of RGB each. 20x20second dark exposures. No Luminance frames were used in the final version of this photo.

Crab Nebula (M1) – CCD

alex_cardenas_m81_v1

  • Date: February 20, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 16 minutes
  • Process: Used DeepSkyStacker for the alignment and stacking of each channel as well as the dark subtraction. Each channel was taken into Photoshop and curves and level adjustments applied. I “neutralized the background” (I think that’s what it was called) by adjusting the blackpoint (through a levels adjustment) of each channel separately. I made 2 points on the sky using a color sample picker and made sure the RGB numbers stayed around similar values (around the 20s or 50s). Then multiple small curves and levels adjustments applied. For the gradient, I copied the layer and blurred it completely using a dust & scratches filter. I then “applied image” this blurred version on my previous layer and that greatly removed the gradient (this is in place of taking Flat and Bias frames). My entire image, especially the stars, had this yellow fringe to them for some reason. I made a mask around everything except M1 and performed a hue/saturation adjustment to remove the yellow color.
  • Frames: No Luminance frames used (The image was, for some reason, worse with Lum). 20 Seconds: 20 Red, 21 Green, 6 Blue. 20x20second dark exposures

NGC 2403 (Caldwell 7) – CCD

alex_cardenas_m81_v1

  • Date: February 28, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: ???
  • Process: ???
  • Frames: ???

NGC 2403 (Caldwell 7) – CCD

alex_cardenas_m81_v1

  • Date: February 28, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: ???
  • Process: ???
  • Frames: ???

Cigar Galaxy (M82) – CCD

A Picture of the Cigar Galaxy

Horsehead Nebula – CCD

alex_cardenas_Horsehead_ccd

  • Date: November 7, 2019, 10°F around Midnight
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Expsure Time: 33 minutes.
  • Process: This is a stacked photo. This object is extremely faint and was very difficult to initially find and frame. I tried to extend my exposure time to 60 seconds but tracking was not good enough for that to work (am still trying to convince Cindy to get a dedicated guiding camera). I might try this object again with a Hydroden-alpha filter. Each channel was aligned and stacked in DeepSkyStacker with darks subtracted. All channels were aligned with each other in Photoshop with level, curves, saturation, brightness, and color balance adjustments applied.
  • Frames: 40x30second Luminance. 20x30second of RGB each. 20x30second dark exposures

Horsehead Nebula – CCD (Re-Processed)

alex_cardenas_Horsehead_ccd

  • Date: November 7, 2019; Re-Processed May 16th, 2020
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Expsure Time: 33 minutes.
  • Process: I decided to retry my hand at this data with the new process by Trevor Jones of AstroBackyard. You can directly compare the two photos with the original version above. This version has a lot more contrast and is much easier to see the nebula but, unfortunately, still a lot of the color is lost (specifically the red that is normally associated with this object). Also, at some point (I’m not sure which step), the stars got much bigger compared to the original version, I’m unsure which is more true to reality. The SNR in this image is also a let less compared to the original.
  • Frames: 40x30second Luminance. 20x30second of RGB each. 20x30second dark exposures

Orion Nebula (M42) – CCD

alex_cardenas_m42_cdd

  • Date: November 6, 2019, 18°F around Midnight
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 16 minutes of exposure
  • Process: This is a stacked photo. Each channel was aligned and stacked in DeepSkyStacker with darks subtracted. All channels were aligned with each other in Photoshop with level, curves, saturation, brightness, and color balance adjustments applied.
  • Frames: 40x20second Luminance. 20x20second of RGB each. 20x20second dark exposures

Orion Nebula (M42) – Sony

alex_cardenas_M42_sony

  • Date: November xx, 2019
  • Equipment: Sony a6500 & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 60-90 seconds
  • Process: This is a single exposure of the Orion Nebula using my personal CMOS camera instead of the CCD camera. The framing is very similar to the CCD yet the colors and detail that can be captured are very different. Setting up and using a camera is much easier compared to the process for the CCD.
  • Frames: 1 straight-from-camera color frame

Andromeda Galaxy (M31) – Sony

alex_cardenas_m31_sony

  • Date: November xx, 2019
  • Equipment: Sony a6500 & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: approx. 9 minutes
  • Process: I believe this is a stack of about 9 photos each around 60 seconds.
  • Frames: 9x60seconds color frames

Jupiter & Three Moons

alex_cardenas_Jupiter_ccd

  • Date: August xx, 2019
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: unknown but short
  • Process: This is a composite photo exposed differently for the planet and the moons.
  • Frames:

Ring Nebula (M57)

alex_cardenas_M57_ccd

  • Date: August 24, 2019, 63°F around Midnight
  • Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M & LX200 8″
  • Total Exposure Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Process: This is a stacked photo. I took a total of 4 hours and 20 minutes of exposures but it was a windy night and about half of my photos were too blurry to be used. Subtracting, aligning, and stacking was done in Nebulosity 4. Post Processing adjustments were done in photoshop.
  • Frames: ??x30second Luminance. ??x30second of RGB each ??x30second dark exposures

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