Down the Rabbit Hole

Rosette Nebula Ha+RGB

Well it’s been awhile since my last post, I’ve been doing some serious playing around with Astro Photography . . . it seems the more I do the more $$$ I spend in this latest adventure.  Is it worth it? well yes and no.  I must admit I sometimes do things the hard way but . . . that’s in my nature and it isn’t gonna change, not this late in the game.

My attempts and search to achieve photographs I feel worthy of doing in this strange mess of technology, technique and equipment that seems to change almost daily can be very mind boggling indeed, yes! even for a nerdy tech head like me . . . and I’m not anywhere near the lead in that category.

There are no real clear guides as to “do this = get that”, “need this  plus this to get that” . . . . yes yes there are general guides that sort of get you there but it takes a ton of research, a ton of online snooping and in the end it is still a matter of trial and error.

I am not going to tell you how much that photo at the beginning of this post cost me to make, but it cost more then just $$$.  It is two images from two separate dates (months apart), two different imaging setups using totally different equipment and finally combined to achieve this version of the beautiful Rosette Nebula.  What’s the down side . . . I am not yet satisfied with the image and now know with what little experience I have gained that I yet need more equipment . . . (OUCH he screams . . . and yet opens his wallet again).

So here is what I started with, not bad, using a Nikon D7000 camera and Orion 80ed, 600mm FL telescope.

The color version (RGB) of the Rosette Nebula taken in Feb of 2017.

Here is the H-alpha version photographed using a different setup, ZWO asi120mm-s camera and a 90mm photographic lens.

H-alpha image of the Rosette Nebula from Nov 2017

Between the two photos there is a great deal of difference between scale and data size.  The monochrome camera was not intended for use as a Deep Space camera but I managed to acquire sufficient data with out much noise and then using some additional post processing techniques add the H-alpha data to the earlier RGB color image data to achieve a much higher detailed image you see below

Rosette Nebula image combining H-alpha and RGB data.

So what do I feel about this image, well I like it but I can do better and I can do much more.

Here is what I have learned so far.

  • my skies are crap with major light pollution (I am in a RED zone)
  • LP filters don’t work well, solution move to Narrow Band imaging
  • I need a decent Mono Camera for DSO imaging
  • my current AVX mount is sufficient for the style imaging I am doing
  • I will need a permanent mount / observatory for consistency
  • need more data recorded to produce the images I want

Oh . . . and More Money . . . . sigh!  that is if I want to do decent Deep Space imaging.

Yes I am still imaging the Sun . . . that big glowing ball of nuclear fusion we are spinning around . . . our Star . . . I find it fascinating to view in H-alpha . . . that’s where the action is with big Prominence along the edge and the Chromosphere churning around the few sunspots (we’re in a low at the moment) that are occurring.   Large wispy filaments float across the sun (these are Proms when on the edge of the sun) . . . very cool stuff to observe and photograph . . .

A two pane composite of a huge filament from 11-22-17


Surface Turbulence around a Sun Spot

This is a totally different style of astrophotography and a major difference in equipment . . .

Ah and the easy stuff . . .

Moon during the daytime


Eclipse Aug 2017, 73% at totality from my location

What’s the end goal, well Fun to start with, Pleasure of accomplishment and challenging myself to achieve good results.  It is educational as well.

So there you have it, I have fallen “Down the Rabbit Hole” , hopefully not to obsessed but dammit I love to challenge myself and see just how far I can go.

This is Digi . . aka(Tim) . . .  hope you enjoyed I will post again but for now I am out and about . . .

UPDATE: 12/10/2017  I took the plunge and bought a new dedicated Astro camera (ZWO asi1600mm-Pro) with a 4/3″ type mono sensor (that’s almost as big as the sensor in my D7000) which will provide a huge FOV.  The camera has active cooling and is a current CMOS mono sensor the Panasonic chip. yep one more step further down the rabbit hole . . . Merry Christmas to me . . .   I’ll have stuff to write about as I learn how to use this new piece of hardware with some new camera control software (Sequence Generator Pro) can we say a steep learning curve for both . . .  YeeeeHAWWWWWwwwwww!  I say that now, give me a few weeks and I’ll let you know how it all works out.  Digi is outta here 😉

one step forward . . . NO! . . . . I refuse to step backwards . . . . well if necessary, I’ll at least glance at the manual!


2 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole

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