Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

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Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#1

Post by starfield »

Here’s a fun one to tackle, the dark nebula Barnard 150 (aka the Seahorse). Barnard 150 is part of a molecular cloud 1200 light years from us in the constellation Cepheus. On the left edge of the masters you’ll find a long red filament. This is part of SH2-129 (the Flying Bat) a red HA region that is also home to the Squid (OU4).

The link to the files (TIF, XISF, FIT) can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

This is a tricky one to process. The 10 hour LRGB data set was taken over two nights from a Bortle 3-4 site in the Anza Borrego Desert. I also captured some HA data from my Bortle 7-8 backyard if you’d like to try adding it to make SH2-129 pop more (I didn’t end up using it in my version). Acquisition details and my various attempts can be found here on Astrobin: https://astrob.in/dwsxz4/G/

Managing the noisy RGB is part of the challenge here. I really could have used more time on the RGB. In general, I’ve found that these dark nebula really benefit from extra RGB. For those PI users, one tool you might want to try in the later part of the workflow is Exponential Transform. It does a nice job lifting the dust out of the background (@STEVE333 showed me this one).
Hope you have fun with this. Let me know if you have questions.

And one more thing….if you’d like to host a future challenge, just drop a note to: tssapchallenge@theskysearchers.com. It’s fun and the admins will guide you thru the process.

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Scopes: Esprit 100, 12.5" Telekit Dob
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#2

Post by AstroBee »

I'm looking forward to giving this one a try. I'm not usually a big fan of Dark Nebulae so I don't have much processing experience with this type of target.
Thanks for the data Steve.

Looking ahead, we are always interested in gathering more data for this monthly challenge. Send me a PM if you have any questions.
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Scopes: Celestron EdgeHD14", Explore Scientific ED152CF & ED127 APO's, StellarVue SV70T, Classic Orange-Tube C-8, Lunt 80mm Ha double-stack solar scope.
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#3

Post by starfield »

AstroBee wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2024 4:58 pm I'm looking forward to giving this one a try. I'm not usually a big fan of Dark Nebulae so I don't have much processing experience with this type of target.
Thanks for the data Steve.

Looking ahead, we are always interested in gathering more data for this monthly challenge. Send me a PM if you have any questions.
Thanks, Greg. Yeah, the dark stuff is tough since the dust is just barely brighter than the background.
Scopes: Esprit 100, 12.5" Telekit Dob
Camera: 294 MC Pro, 224 mc, 2600mm
Guiding: ZWO 290 mini on 120mm guide scope
Mounts: EQ6R-Pro, EQ Platform.
Filters: Optolong L-Pro & L-Enhance, Chroma 36mm LRGB, 5nm HA, 3nm OIII, 3nm SII.
Software: SharpCap, SGP, StarTools 1.7, Photoshop, Pixinsight
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#4

Post by TerryMcK »

Here's my initial attempt on this one.

All processed in PixInsight
  • Gradient Correction - not really necessary on the B2 stuff
    BlurXterminator
    NoiseXTerminator
    Used SetiAstro Statistical Stretch script on all the resultant grey scale images
LRGB starless and then added Ha starless in the red channel
Stars only produced from the RGB combined image and then added to the previous starless HaLRGB image. Reduced the resultant stars slightly by using the AstroSwell Star De-Emphasizer script.

I might have another go of this as I don't get chance to play with dark nebulae much.
SeaHorse.jpg
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Scopes: WO: RedCat 51, ZS 73, ZS103, SW: 200P Solar: Altair Herschel wedge, Daystar Scout 60SSDS Mounts: SW: HEQ5Pro Rowan & EQM35Pro. Guiders: All using ZWO ASI120MM minis. Cameras: ZWO: ASI294MM-Pro, ASI 183MC-Pro, ASI 183MM Pro, ASI 174MM Filters: IDAS, Altair, Baader, Antlia, ZWO. Observatory: The Jousting Tent - ROR. Acquisition: NINA on Windows 11 - EKOS/INDI/Kstars on Raspberry PI4 (retired for now) Image Processing: PixInsight, APP, Photoshop 24.1.0 Location: West Manchester Light Pollution: Mucho Bortle 7/8
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#5

Post by starfield »

That looks great with the HA in there. I just heard of the SetiAstro script. How do you like it?

--Steve
Scopes: Esprit 100, 12.5" Telekit Dob
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Guiding: ZWO 290 mini on 120mm guide scope
Mounts: EQ6R-Pro, EQ Platform.
Filters: Optolong L-Pro & L-Enhance, Chroma 36mm LRGB, 5nm HA, 3nm OIII, 3nm SII.
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#6

Post by AstroBee »

Boy that was FUN! As I mentioned above, I've never been much of a dark nebulae imager or processor but I had a blast with this data. It doesn't help that the raw files were so fantastic. Thanks for that, Steve!
I managed to write down my steps as I went so I hopefully did not forget anything. Processed in PixInsight.
BlurX (correct only) each channel LRGBHa.
RGB channel combine.
SPCC on the combined RGB channel (2600mm-Chroma RGB filters).
StarX to extract the RGB stars for later use.
GHS stretch on RGB stars only file.
StarX to remove stars from Lum channel.
ImageBlend script to combine Lum & RGB starless data following Adam Block's recent tutorial on this script.
Dark Structure Enhance on LRGB image.
Selective Color Correction to boost Red saturation
Convolution to sharpen just a tad bit.

I ended up discarding the Ha data after seeing what I could do with the Selective Color Correction script.

Image
Greg M.~ "Ad Astra per Aspera"
Scopes: Celestron EdgeHD14", Explore Scientific ED152CF & ED127 APO's, StellarVue SV70T, Classic Orange-Tube C-8, Lunt 80mm Ha double-stack solar scope.
Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach One, iOptron CEM70EC Mount, iOptron ZEQ25 Mount.
Cameras: ZWO ASI2600mm Pro, ZWO 2600MC Pro, ZWO ASI1600mm
Filters: 36mm Chroma LRGB & 3nm Ha, OIII, SII, L-Pro, L-eXtreme
Eyepieces: 27mm TeleVue Panoptic, 4mm TeleVue Radian, Explore Scientific 82° 30mm, 6.7mm , Baader 13mm Hyperion, Explore Scientific 70° 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, Meade 8.8mm UWA
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#7

Post by starfield »

Glad you liked the data. I haven't tried dark structure enhance so I'll have to give that a whirl. It's fun seeing the different approaches to the data.
Scopes: Esprit 100, 12.5" Telekit Dob
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Guiding: ZWO 290 mini on 120mm guide scope
Mounts: EQ6R-Pro, EQ Platform.
Filters: Optolong L-Pro & L-Enhance, Chroma 36mm LRGB, 5nm HA, 3nm OIII, 3nm SII.
Software: SharpCap, SGP, StarTools 1.7, Photoshop, Pixinsight
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#8

Post by AstroBee »

starfield wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2024 5:37 am I haven't tried dark structure enhance so I'll have to give that a whirl.
Only works on stretched data. I usually use it on galaxies to bring out the dust lanes. Seemed to do a nice bit of enhancing on this subject too.
Greg M.~ "Ad Astra per Aspera"
Scopes: Celestron EdgeHD14", Explore Scientific ED152CF & ED127 APO's, StellarVue SV70T, Classic Orange-Tube C-8, Lunt 80mm Ha double-stack solar scope.
Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach One, iOptron CEM70EC Mount, iOptron ZEQ25 Mount.
Cameras: ZWO ASI2600mm Pro, ZWO 2600MC Pro, ZWO ASI1600mm
Filters: 36mm Chroma LRGB & 3nm Ha, OIII, SII, L-Pro, L-eXtreme
Eyepieces: 27mm TeleVue Panoptic, 4mm TeleVue Radian, Explore Scientific 82° 30mm, 6.7mm , Baader 13mm Hyperion, Explore Scientific 70° 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, Meade 8.8mm UWA
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#9

Post by Jockinireland »

Great data, thanks for sharing @starfield

So this is my effort

LHRGBf.jpg

The high res image is in my non public astrobin and its worth taking a look at as the JP messes with the stars a bit. Its a big file though so takes a bit of time to open. Found here;

Image

I worked on each of RGB, Ha and L seperately

On the RGB, I did graxpert on each channel then combined and did the following on the combined RGB
BXT Corrct only)
SPCC
BXT
HT to non linear
Removed stars using Blanshans ScreenStars scrip
Several iterations of GHS
DBE
More GHS
NXT
Unsharpmask
HT to balance background
Replaced stars with blanshans SreenStars

On the HA and the L I did
GXT
BXT
HT to non linear
Removed stars using Blanshans ScreenStars scrip
Several iterations of GHS
DBE
More GHS
NXT
Unsharpmask
Replaced stars with blanshans SreenStars

I then combined the Ha with Blanshans Ha to RGB - this proved difficult as it was bringing in too mcuh red to the main dust areas. So I masked everything but the red filaments in the corner using ColourMaskMod

Then I added L to the HaRGB to give the final LHaRGB and did some final tweaks on Curves.

This was qite challenging but great fun.
Scope: Skywatcher Evostar 80ED (SW 0.85 FR/FF) on a SW NEQ6Pro
Guiding; SW Evoguide 50ED, ASI 120mm mini
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#10

Post by starfield »

Thanks. The HA blend worked well here and I like the way you got some of the brighter highlights around the seahorse "snout" to pop. Did that come out in the GHS process or did you bump that up with curves?
Scopes: Esprit 100, 12.5" Telekit Dob
Camera: 294 MC Pro, 224 mc, 2600mm
Guiding: ZWO 290 mini on 120mm guide scope
Mounts: EQ6R-Pro, EQ Platform.
Filters: Optolong L-Pro & L-Enhance, Chroma 36mm LRGB, 5nm HA, 3nm OIII, 3nm SII.
Software: SharpCap, SGP, StarTools 1.7, Photoshop, Pixinsight
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#11

Post by Jockinireland »

starfield wrote: Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:32 pm Thanks. The HA blend worked well here and I like the way you got some of the brighter highlights around the seahorse "snout" to pop. Did that come out in the GHS process or did you bump that up with curves?
It was not a single thing that got it to there - a combination of the the GHS, the DBE on the starless and the unsharp mask (both tricks from Adam Block) all pulled it out a bit. This was done a little more aggressively on the L which, when added to the HaRGB, really made it pop.
Scope: Skywatcher Evostar 80ED (SW 0.85 FR/FF) on a SW NEQ6Pro
Guiding; SW Evoguide 50ED, ASI 120mm mini
Meade 8" LX200 GPS on wedge (Guided with a cheapo 50mm guidescope and a ZWO ASI 120mm mini)
Sharpstar 61EDPH II (with dedicated 0.8 reducer) with wiliam Optics 32mm uniguide
Camera: ASI2600MC pro. QHY 163M with ZWO 7nm NB filters, Canon EOS700D astro mod
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#12

Post by Graeme1858 »

I've been looking forward to having a go at this one. My target at a recent two night Star Party was going to be B150 but I switched to the Coma Galaxy Cluster because it was in the sky for longer. Well this certainly is a bit different! My usual process is to tidy up the individual files then stretch and combine. Once I have an LRGB I create a Starless and a Stars Only, process them separately in Curves and then re-combine in PixelMath. So this one started well, not too much to do at the Linear stage because the data is really clean. But I have zero experience of working with both LRGB and Hα data so then it started getting tricky!

So I was happy with my LRGB. Although the usual S Curve on the Starless image didn't work because the subject is darker than the background!

After stretching I converted the Hα to an RGB image then dimmed the stars and pushed up the red to show the Flying Bat, then combined it with the LRGB in PixelMath. Almost there but the stars were too saturated in Blue and Green and didn't look right, so I did another StarNet Starless and Stars only process, pulled the saturation down on the stars and put the the images back together again. A quick final tweak in Curves then saved as a .jpg.

As Terry says, "I might have another go of this as I don't get chance to play with dark nebulae much." My final .jpg looks a bit too dark. Didn't realise it would be so much fun! Thanks for the data Steve.

B150_HaLRGB_01.jpg
Graeme

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#13

Post by carastro »

Well I have soething different again.
Lovely data, and such a treat to be able to process this sort of target which I don;t normaly get a chance at living in Bortle 8 with rare trips to Astro camps.

Processed in Photoshop, using levels and Curves, and selective colour.
some SX. think I should have removed the stars in the RGB too before processing, but still learning with SX and this is the first broadband I have done with it,

Had to reduce size as too big at natve size even as a PNG for Astrobin (staging area let alone this forum.

Image
Mount: HEQ5 + Polemaster
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#14

Post by Jockinireland »

carastro wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 12:56 pm Well I have soething different again.
Lovely data, and such a treat to be able to process this sort of target which I don;t normaly get a chance at living in Bortle 8 with rare trips to Astro camps.

Processed in Photoshop, using levels and Curves, and selective colour.
some SX. think I should have removed the stars in the RGB too before processing, but still learning with SX and this is the first broadband I have done with it,

Had to reduce size as too big at natve size even as a PNG for Astrobin (staging area let alone this forum.

Image
I like that Carole, very ethereal.
Scope: Skywatcher Evostar 80ED (SW 0.85 FR/FF) on a SW NEQ6Pro
Guiding; SW Evoguide 50ED, ASI 120mm mini
Meade 8" LX200 GPS on wedge (Guided with a cheapo 50mm guidescope and a ZWO ASI 120mm mini)
Sharpstar 61EDPH II (with dedicated 0.8 reducer) with wiliam Optics 32mm uniguide
Camera: ASI2600MC pro. QHY 163M with ZWO 7nm NB filters, Canon EOS700D astro mod
Secondary mount: Skywatcher StarAdventurer

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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#15

Post by Graeme1858 »

carastro wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 12:56 pm Well I have soething different again.

That's lovely Carole! Now I'm definitely going to have another go!
Graeme

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ZWO EFW, ZWO OAG, ASI220MM Mini.
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#16

Post by carastro »

Thanks Graeme, I can see now I should have done some denoise, but won't post up another now.

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Mount: HEQ5 + Polemaster
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Scopes: Skywatcher ED80, Skywatcher ED120, William Optics ZS71, Samyang 135MM F2 lens,
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#17

Post by AstroBee »

Very nice processing @carastro. I think @Jockinireland pegged just the right description. Ethereal.
Greg M.~ "Ad Astra per Aspera"
Scopes: Celestron EdgeHD14", Explore Scientific ED152CF & ED127 APO's, StellarVue SV70T, Classic Orange-Tube C-8, Lunt 80mm Ha double-stack solar scope.
Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach One, iOptron CEM70EC Mount, iOptron ZEQ25 Mount.
Cameras: ZWO ASI2600mm Pro, ZWO 2600MC Pro, ZWO ASI1600mm
Filters: 36mm Chroma LRGB & 3nm Ha, OIII, SII, L-Pro, L-eXtreme
Eyepieces: 27mm TeleVue Panoptic, 4mm TeleVue Radian, Explore Scientific 82° 30mm, 6.7mm , Baader 13mm Hyperion, Explore Scientific 70° 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, Meade 8.8mm UWA
Software: N.I.N.A., SharpCapPro, PixInsight, PhotoShop CC, Phd2, Stellarium
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#18

Post by starfield »

Graeme1858 wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 9:35 am I've been looking forward to having a go at this one. My target at a recent two night Star Party was going to be B150 but I switched to the Coma Galaxy Cluster because it was in the sky for longer. Well this certainly is a bit different! My usual process is to tidy up the individual files then stretch and combine. Once I have an LRGB I create a Starless and a Stars Only, process them separately in Curves and then re-combine in PixelMath. So this one started well, not too much to do at the Linear stage because the data is really clean. But I have zero experience of working with both LRGB and Hα data so then it started getting tricky!

So I was happy with my LRGB. Although the usual S Curve on the Starless image didn't work because the subject is darker than the background!

After stretching I converted the Hα to an RGB image then dimmed the stars and pushed up the red to show the Flying Bat, then combined it with the LRGB in PixelMath. Almost there but the stars were too saturated in Blue and Green and didn't look right, so I did another StarNet Starless and Stars only process, pulled the saturation down on the stars and put the the images back together again. A quick final tweak in Curves then saved as a .jpg.

As Terry says, "I might have another go of this as I don't get chance to play with dark nebulae much." My final .jpg looks a bit too dark. Didn't realise it would be so much fun! Thanks for the data Steve.


B150_HaLRGB_01.jpg

Glad you had fun, Graeme. This is one of data sets you just keep revisiting. So many different ways to present it. --Steve
Scopes: Esprit 100, 12.5" Telekit Dob
Camera: 294 MC Pro, 224 mc, 2600mm
Guiding: ZWO 290 mini on 120mm guide scope
Mounts: EQ6R-Pro, EQ Platform.
Filters: Optolong L-Pro & L-Enhance, Chroma 36mm LRGB, 5nm HA, 3nm OIII, 3nm SII.
Software: SharpCap, SGP, StarTools 1.7, Photoshop, Pixinsight
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Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#19

Post by starfield »

carastro wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 12:56 pm Well I have soething different again.
Lovely data, and such a treat to be able to process this sort of target which I don;t normaly get a chance at living in Bortle 8 with rare trips to Astro camps.

Processed in Photoshop, using levels and Curves, and selective colour.
some SX. think I should have removed the stars in the RGB too before processing, but still learning with SX and this is the first broadband I have done with it,

Had to reduce size as too big at natve size even as a PNG for Astrobin (staging area let alone this forum.

Image
Glad you enjoyed the data, Carole. I'm lucky to have access to a nice dark site just 90 minutes east of San Diego.

Love what you did with all the dust. Lots of beautiful whisps and waves in there.
Scopes: Esprit 100, 12.5" Telekit Dob
Camera: 294 MC Pro, 224 mc, 2600mm
Guiding: ZWO 290 mini on 120mm guide scope
Mounts: EQ6R-Pro, EQ Platform.
Filters: Optolong L-Pro & L-Enhance, Chroma 36mm LRGB, 5nm HA, 3nm OIII, 3nm SII.
Software: SharpCap, SGP, StarTools 1.7, Photoshop, Pixinsight
The Death Star Observatory
Astro Photos:https://www.astrobin.com/users/starfield/
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carastro Great Britain
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TSS Photo of the Day

AP Processing Challenge

Re: Astrophotography Challenge June 2024

#20

Post by carastro »

I've done a slightly darker version, as I think my earlier one was a bit too bright, despite lots of you liking it,

Image##

and another with some of the stars put back. To be honest IMO I think the latest fad for reducing stars to small dots is going a bit OTT.

Image
Mount: HEQ5 + Polemaster
Guiding: SW Finderguider and QHY5
Scopes: Skywatcher ED80, Skywatcher ED120, William Optics ZS71, Samyang 135MM F2 lens,
Cameras: Atik460EX, Atik428EX, Canon 1100D
Filters: Baader

https://sites.google.com/view/astrophot ... -pope/home
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