Dave's Astronomy    News Posting: 2016-02-01
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2015 Pictures
Summer and Fall 2015 - LRGB and Narrowband Images

So this year I ditched the DSLR cameras and bought a CCD instead. Then I did this:

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

The new camera arrived this spring. My last website posting has the earliest images but it wasn't until summer that I really had time to come to grips with it. So when June rolled around I set up in the back yard and used the short (and not actually dark) nights for testing.

This Ring Nebula image is one of several taken during the early summer. The ring is bright, has vivid color and some good contrast. All this made it a good test for learning to use the LRGB filter set for full color imaging.

The M39 image is also from the back yard and also worked quite well. This one was good for checking brighter stars as well as image quality out to the edges of the field.

Since things were working for basic color photography it was time to try some narrowband imaging. The Veil picture is a narrowband image and was taken from the back yard. The Ha, OIII and SII filters were used to capture the data and it was blended to make a synthetic RGB image. The posted image does have a number of flaws. But it worked well enough as a test case and gave me enough raw data to try some narrowband blending techniques. The M52 and Bubble nebula image is a true color image (LRGB) with blended Ha data to bring out the nebula.

The Western Veil Nebula is fairly bright and has well understood narrowband characteristics. Also, from the back yard it was right overhead so it made for an obvious test case.

M52 and the Bubble was taken from the usual spot near Lindbrook. This was also the first use of the large field corrector on the NP101is. The stars in the corners look better now.

A trip to Vincent Lake provided an opportunity for more narrowband imaging under a dark sky. Unfortunately the weather didn't want to cooperate so there is only about 2 hours of exposure time for this one. Even so, the H-alpha filter worked quite well. Some LRGB data was also collected and used for the color (red) version. Of the two, I prefer the monochrome. Both have full details, but the finer parts are easier to see in monchrome than red.

In October I set up shop in my usual spot at a friends place near Lindbrook. This time the weather held and I was able to leave things up for about a week during the new moon period.

Each night several hours were dedicated to gathering data on the Andromeda galaxy (M31). In spite of one night being ruined by aurora, this still resulted in more than 7 hours of good data. The remaining available hours were split up among the other targets shown below.

The M31 image is the feature item from the top of this page. If you click on the big image at the top, you will get the full resolution JPEG direct to your browser. This may or may not display properly, I've only tested with IE so, no guarantees but it should work with any of the other major browsers. To get the detail page that includes text descriptions, click on the thumbnail above this paragraph.

The M38 Cluster image is my second try on this object. The first one was a few years ago and was done under excellent conditions but with less capable gear and very short exposure times. This time around longer exposures captured many more stars, but I overdid it and the image seems crowded now. Its also a tiny bit out of focus so the stars are sort of bloated too. Better luck next time I guess... Anyway, both images are in the cluster gallery so you can compare them if you like.

The two star field images were inspired by the Hubble deep field image. The Hubble image is a very long exposure that reveals galaxies out to the furthest observable parts of the universe. My attempts are a little more modest. Still, both images picked up scores of galaxies mixed among the stars. I counted over 60 galaxies in the NGC 503 image and about hundred or so around NGC 513.

So this year, the summer and fall went pretty well actually. Despite cloud, rain and aurora I was still able to get lots of good hours under the stars. In the end I bagged a few pictures that I'm happy with and even got some visual observing in.

So, thanks Universe for being most excellent and thanks to all of you for looking.

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