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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
The 2011 Oregon Star Party
 
Another awesome OSP. 4 nights of clear dark skies.
 
There was an issue with smoke from nearby forest fires that caused some transparency problems, but I'd rather be in a dark sky with some smoke then home!
 
There were several firsts this year:
1) It was the first time my daughter attended with me. She enjoyed herself and even got the level 1 observing certificate and pin. Good job Emily!
 
2) It was the fist time I've presented there. It was great how many folks attended the presentation. I got some excellent feedback and it was a pleasure to share some photoshop tricks to add polish to our astro images.
 
3) Being out as OSP with the RV. Living in luxury baby! I'm still trying to figure out the battery situation, but all was well and I had ice cream in the desert again... woot!
 
Each night I was able to keep going dusk til dawn (and a little beyond) and was able to meet my imaging and observing goals every night. That was most excellent.
 
Wednesday night it was seriously cold. Somewhere around 29F and 30F. And I didn't have any hand warmers... doh! But I still had the RV which has a heater in it and that worked out beautifully. 
 
The other nights we had decent temps around mid 40's or so.
 
 
The Presentation
For those of you coming here looking for te presentation on Advanced Image Processing, here is the PDF:
Advanced Image Processing.pdf [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 25.11 MB]
 
 
The Visual Sessions
We had some excellent viewing. I saw many things I've never seen before such as the outer loop of M42, a supernova in M101 (well, I've seen M101, but I've never seen a supernova before), and loads of faint galaxies and nebulae.
 
I met some new friends and thoroughly enjoyed each evening... all evening... soaking in the views.
 
Observing in a Bortle 1 sky with a 16" dob is just amazing.
 
 
The Imaging Sessions
I brought 2 setups again. This time I had the Vixen ED103S on the Atlas with the modded 1000D and the Zenithstar 66 on the Sirius with the stock 1000D. Both mounts and scopes were performing well and I got some great pictures to show for it.
 
I took 14 pictures total, so we'll see how many turn out. I'll post them as I finish the processing for them...
 
Here is what I've got so far:
 
IC5146 - Cocoon Nebula
It's been a few years since I shot this and it's such a cool target with that cocoon at the end of the dust lane. I was well pleased with the detail in the nebula as well as the way the colors turned out. This is the first time shooting this target with a modified camera. It really made a difference.
 
Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 4 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 60mm f/4.1 Achromat
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified / Peltier Cooled to 21F)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 2 hours 30 minutes (30 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with High Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 12 darks
 

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy
Have I shot this one loads of times? Yes. Does it matter? No! Andromeda is always a treat and every time I shoot it it gets a little better. This time it's with the Zenithstar 66 which can bring in the entire thing and have it framed  nicely with some space around it as opposed to the ED103S which crams it in there and cuts off the very outer edges.
 
Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 50mm f/4 Finder
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Stock)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 2 hours 30 minutes (30 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with Medium Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 10 darks


NGC281 - Pacman Nebula
Another personal best. I shot this one last year but it turned out pretty weak. I added H-alpha data to that shot and it dramatically improved it. This time I'll probably add the Ha data when I get a chance, but I'm starting with better RGB data so I'm expecting that combined shot to turn out much better then before.
 
Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 4 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 60mm f/4.1 Achromat
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified / Peltier Cooled to 21F)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 1 hours 50 minutes (22 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with High Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 12 darks


M45 - Pleiades with LBN774, IC1995, IC353
This is another target I've shot many times, but it also gets better each time. This is the deepest I've gone with this object being able to bring in the LBN and IC reflection nebulosity northwest of the cluster. I thought I'd get more of it, but it was fainter then I expected. When I was planning the shot with the Pleiades in the bottom right and LBN774 in the upper left I was originally going to go for 6 hours (3 each night) to really be able to make it clear. After the first night of shooting it and giving it a rough process I thought I had enough and went on to other targets the following nights. I wish I would have stayed on it just to pick up more of LBN774.
 
Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 50mm f/4 Finder
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Stock)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 3 hours (36 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with Medium Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 10 darks
 
 
M78
I've never shot this one, but have wanted to for the past couple of year. My objective was to shoot it in the winter for 6 to 10 hours (because it's worth it!) but since it was up for about 50 minutes just before dawn each morning I thought I'd grab as much as I could. I ended up just shooting it one night for 50 minutes. I'm happy with it considering what I got, but oh man does it make me want to get some real time on it from a dark sky.
 
Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 4 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 60mm f/4.1 Achromat
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified / Peltier Cooled to 34F)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 5 hours 30 minutes (66 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with High Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 12 darks
 
 
M13 - Hercules Cluster
Hee hee... well how can I resist it?! M13 is my favorite object in the entire sky so it's difficult not to shoot it when I go out. This time not only was I able to get the tiny distant outer stars, but I was able to pull out the star color in the cluster as well. I don't know if this is a personal best on this target, but it might be. For sure it's a shot I'm well pleased with. But then, how can you go wrong with M13? It's awesome!!
 
Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 4 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 60mm f/4.1 Achromat
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified / Peltier Cooled to 34F)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 2 hours (24 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with High Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 12 darks


NGC7000 and IC5070/5067 - North American Nebula and the Pelican Nebula
Knowing that this is a predominately red target I wanted to get plenty of time on it. It just squeezes in the decent field of the Zenithstar and just extends into the crap stars on the edges. I went ahead and cropped it so that some of the bad stars are still in it to try and give it some space. I'm not sure if this is a personal best, but I'm also very happy with this one particularly considering it was with the stock cam.
 
Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 50mm f/4 Finder
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Stock)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 3 hours 30 minutes (42 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with Medium Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 10 darks
 
 
NGC1333
I've not shot this one before, but I thought it might be similar to the Iris... nope. The reflection nebula in the Iris is brighter, the dust around it is brighter (more like LBN468) and it's much higher in the sky this time of year. NGC1333 started at about 20 degrees when I started imaging and climbed over the 5 hours or so of imaging to a nice and high72 degrees. It seems like this one needs a long winter evening from 45 to 45 across the Meridian for 10 hours or something. Perhaps a project for another year... Even still, for the first time shooting it and giving it 4.5 hours, I'm pleased with both the image and the education.
 
Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 4 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 60mm f/4.1 Achromat
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified / Peltier Cooled to 34F)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 4 hours 30 minutes (54 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with High Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 12 darks
 
 
Barnard 175 and DeHt5
I really enjoy shooting the dark stuff, particularly if it's got some reflection nebulosity in it. This one is a little tough though. 5.5 hours is barely enough for this faint dark cloud. The form of it looks like a swimming penguin to me. DeHt5 is a very faint red and blue planetary nebula thats barely on the bottom of the frame. I should have rotated my camera a bit more and got that in there better. 
 
Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 4 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 60mm f/4.1 Achromat
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified / Peltier Cooled to 34F)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 5 hours 30 minutes (66 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with High Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 12 darks
 
 
LBN468 and Gyulbudaghian's Nebula
I got the tip to image this one when Gyulbudaghian's Nebula showed up on the OSP Level 3 Observing List (18"+ scopes and seriously keen observers) last year. Since after attempting it and not being able to see it in my 16" dob, I decided to image it via the 66mm refractor this year. LOL. I was able to check it off the list as "IE" (imaging enhanced). Hey, if you can't see it in a giant dob, image it with a tiny refractor.  8^)
 
Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 50mm f/4 Finder
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Stock)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 5 hours 30 minutes (66 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with Medium Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 10 darks
 
 
Collinder 399 (Coathanger Cluster) and Garradd C/2009 P1
I've seen shots of the Coathanger Cluster that are amazingly spectacular. The cluster itself deserved more time then I gave it but I knew that the comet was moving fast and I didn't want to do an animation or anything like that so I only shot it for an hour. Even that was a bit tricky to process. I'll most definitely go back and shoot the Coathanger next year.
 
Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 50mm f/4 Finder
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Stock)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 1 hour (24 x 120s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with Medium Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 10 darks
 
 
Veil Nebula Complex
I would have preferred to shoot this with the modded camera, but it was occupied so I went for it with the stock cam. The field barely fits in the decent stars of the Zenithstar, so the outermost stars are kinda messy. Even still, I'm stoked by how good it turned out and by adding ha to this one it should be even that much nicer in the end.
 
Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 50mm f/4 Finder
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Stock)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 3 hours (36 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with Medium Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 10 darks
 
 
M41, M42, NGC1977 - Great Orion Nebula and the Running Man Nebula
Wow! This is only 35 minutes and ohhh my.... I've shot this several times, but only from my house where it goes right through the Portland light bubble. From a dark sky this thing is amazing. It was very low and rising slooooowly so I didn't really have time to do the whole HDR thing with the core and all, but jinkies la winkies there was a lot of data accumulated quickly on this target. If I got back out in October, I'll be sure to spend more time on it.  
 
Scope: William Optics ZenithStar 66 with WO Flat 2 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 50mm f/4 Finder
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Stock)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 35 minutes (7 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with Medium Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 10 darks
 
 
Caldwell 9 - The Cave Nebula
Okay, now this one is a personal best by far. I shot it for the first time 2 years ago and was pretty disappointed with the outcome. I shied away from it last year knowing that it kicked my butt the year before. So this year I decided to conquer it! One night dedicated to only this target. I shot from 10pm to 4:50am and with the acquisition, focus, meridian flip, refocusing, etc I ended up with 5 hours and 30 minutes. I can say that I am very pleased with this image. If this was all I came home with I'd be happy! So everything else is just icing on the cake baby!
 
Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 4 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 60mm f/4.1 Achromat
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified / Peltier Cooled to 34F)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 5 hours 30 minutes (66 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with High Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 12 darks
 


Image Gallery For This Session
01 Cocoon 2h 30m 02 M31 2h 30m
03 PacMan 1h 50m 04 M45 3h
05 M78 50m 06 M13 2h
07 NAN 3h 30m 08 NGC1333 4h 30m
09 B175 5h 10 LBN468 5h 30m
11 Garradd Coathanger 1h 13 Veil 3h
14 M42 35m Cave 5h 30m
   

01-Cocoon-2h-30m.jpg
Click picture above for larger version
If the picture seems too bright or too dark, try adjusting the brightness below.
Brightness:
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Comments:
On 09/13/11 at 06:28pm Dennis Recla wrote:
Good to see you again Neil.
Enjoyed the presentation, now I need to go out and get me a hydrogen A filter to use with my OSC camera.
Hope to see you again at OSP next year, or the OMSI.

Dennis


On 09/11/11 at 09:48pm Andy Rusten wrote:
Neil, is that a comet in the Coat Hanger cluster on the left side? Looks like a tail

On 09/10/11 at 10:23pm Miquel wrote:
Neil, these shots are fantastic, and very well documented. I love them. I've been learning about CCD imaging lately and my 40D is off the scope. Another great learning curve ahead of me, but just looking at your shots, the journey is a long one if I ever get there.

On 09/09/11 at 11:21pm Larry wrote:
Love your images and especially the pdf file on image processing. Being a newb, can you tell me what an OSP is? I'm newly into this hobby after sitting out for about 40+ years and am loving it. You are setting a new standard for me however and appreciate you sharing your learning with others.

On 09/09/11 at 02:50am Neil Heacock wrote:
Thanks to all who have commented. OSP was a blast and I was *very* productive this year with no issues and running 2 full imaging systems. The visual observations were compromised here and there because of the smoke, but overall it was an amazing star party.

On 09/08/11 at 04:10pm Eric Hahl wrote:
Great shots Neil!

On 09/08/11 at 03:53pm Kathy* wrote:
All your colors are so vivid and contrasty. Fantastic. Cool pairing, the Coat Hanger & comet.

On 09/08/11 at 11:45am West wrote:
Beautiful shot of M45, Neil. I've been working on a shot that doesn't have the cloud. Anxious to see what it looks like.

Well played, sir.

On 09/08/11 at 08:52am Greg wrote:
Excellent work. Comparing these images with my narrowband shots of the same targets shows the advantage of full-spectrum imaging, the richness of colors. But with your processing techniques perhaps I can tease out more subtle colors. Thanks for posting the presentation.


On 09/08/11 at 07:36am Scott K wrote:
You did a great job with the presentation. I got a quick 12 minute shot of the comet that I will try some of the techniques on.



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