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Monday, May 7th, 2007
The sky was pretty dark and totally clear tonight. Low moisture and virtually no wind kept it warm and dry. The low was only 53 degrees.
 
Tonight I took a few more images trying to get some galaxies.
One of the things I learned tonight is that galaxies are much harder then nebulae and star clusters because there is a great deal of data that gets lost in the signal to noise ratio from a light polluted sky. Even still, I'm pretty happy with the results.
 
Also, tonight I used my Mac OS instead of Windows XP for focus and acquisition with a program called Nebulosity. It worked out very well for this and I'm happy with the software so far.
 
A problem I had tonight is that the white balance was completely screwed up and I ended up with green images even though green was not dominant in the histogram. I'm not sure if it was my test of a custom white balance or if it's Nebulosity doing it. I'll find out more about this.
 
Due to this crazy green hue in everything, I desaturated the images altogether.
 
A further problem I've not really had to deal with is this issue of vignetting. I've seen it in other images, but for the most part in my last few batches I've been able to process it out in Photoshop. But in trying to preserve as much of the image as possible tonight, I see that I need to learn how to take flat frames so I can flatten the background of the overall picture. 
 
Here are the images from tonight.
 
M13
I know, it's not a galaxy, but it's an easy target and I wanted to start somewhere with the new software and tracking tests.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 300 seconds total - 30 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels, Curves and in Photoshop, no cropping
Resolution: 30%
 

Leo Trio M65, M66, NGC3628
This group of objects was sitting at the top of the light pollution bubble from Portland. I wanted to shot it anyway and I'm pretty pleased with the results considering I'm taking 10 second exposures and the sky glow.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 570 seconds total - 57 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels, Curves and in Photoshop, no cropping
Resolution: 30%
 
 
NGC4565
After Leo was out getting washed out I turned the scope to Coma Bernices and was considering shotting M64 (which probably would have been an easier target) but I wanted to see if I could get the general essense of the huge edge on NGC 4565. Again, between the glow of portland and the extremely short exposures (as well as my limited experience with processing) I'm pretty pleased with the result.
Scope: Hardin 12" (300mm) Deep Space Hunter @ f/5
Camera: Canon EOS 350 Digital Rebel XT (unmodified)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 1600
Exposure: 720 seconds total - 72 @ 10 seconds
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity, Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels, Curves and in Photoshop, no cropping
Resolution: 30%
 
 
I'm sure I'll reprocess them as I try and figure out the color problem. There are post shotting techniques for flattening the background as well. Perhaps I'll try that.





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