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Posts Made By: Enrico Africa

September 1, 2008 04:15 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

Slowly coming back - M3

Posted By Enrico Africa

Hello all,

It's been a busy and hectic year for me, so while I've been imaging, it hasn't been as much as I'd like and I haven't had much chance to process my images.

Excuses aside, here's one of my first DSO images taken this year. It's M3, taken late in May this year.

Optics: Takahashi FSQ-106N at f/8 with Extender-Q
Camera: SBIG ST-10XEI with CFW-8a and Astrodon LRGB filters
Guider: Meade DSI on a Borg 45ED
Mount: Astro-Physics AP1200GTO

Exposure information:
L: 14 x 3 minutes
R: 10 x 5 minutes
G: 10 x 5 minutes
B: 10 x 5 minutes

Processing stars and star clusters has always been a piece of the processing step I've been ignoring, so I'm making an effort to start imaging more star clusters.

Comments and suggestions always welcome!
Eric

October 27, 2008 09:57 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

The Veil Nebula in Ha/OIII

Posted By Enrico Africa

Hey all,

I know Warren asked for no more Veil Nebula images, but I thought I'd sneak one in after the breather we had wink

Here is my pass of the Veil Nebula complex shot in July this year. I used the what-is-becoming-popular Ha/OIII mapping to emulate an RGB shot. For good measure, I also shot 70 minutes each of RGB to provide a more natural color for the stars. I was just barely able to squeeze the main components into the FOV of my FSQ/6303 combo.

Imaging specifics:

Camera: SBIG STL-6303 Class 1 with CFW-L 8-position filter wheel and Astrodon Narrowband (H-alpha, SII and OIII) and LRGB filters
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106N
Mount: Astro-Phyics AP1200GTO
Guider: SBIG Remote Guide Head
Guide Scope: Borg 45ED

Exposure Information:
Ha: 15 x 30 minutes binned 1 x 1
OIII: 13 x 30 minutes binned 1 x 1
R: 7 x 10 minutes binned 1 x 1
G: 7 x 10 minutes binned 1 x 1
B: 7 x 10 minutes binned 1 x 1

Total Exposure time: 17.5 hours

H-alpha information was mapped to Red, OIII to Green, and an Ha/OIII blend (about 15-20% opacity for the H-alpha to emulate H-beta) to Blue. I actually collected more information than was used, but had to discard some bad shots.

CCDAutopilot was used to automate the data gathering, controlling MaximDL, TheSky6 and FocusMax. Preprocessing was done in MaximDL, and post-processing in Photoshop CS.

Preview is attached. Bigger image is at:
http://tinyurl.com/5f7j5q

Comments and suggestions always welcome.

Thanks,
Eric


October 27, 2008 09:58 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

M33 LRGB

Posted By Enrico Africa

Hello,

Here is my shot at M33 this year.

I thought I'd try someting different with this image as well: I have an IDAS LPS filter that I haven't used in a while, and I thought I'd give it a whirl again, making sure to take some deep exposures (subexposure-wise and overall time-wise). I also used this as a practice run for doing a G2V calibration, figuring that the LPS filter could skew the RGB ratios of my Astrodon's. I like what I'm seeing so far!

Camera: SBIG ST-10XMEI with CFW-8a filter wheel and Astrodon Ha/LRGB filters
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106N
Mount: Astro-Physics AP1200GTO
Guider: Meade DSI Pro
Guide Scope: Borg 45ED

Exposure Information:
L: 43 x 10 minutes binned 1 x 1
R: 15 x 15 minutes binned 1 x 1
G: 15 x 15 minutes binned 1 x 1
B: 15 x 15 minutes binned 1 x 1
H-alpha: 4 x 30 minutes binned 1 x 1

Total LRGB Exposure time: 18 hours 25 minutes
Total HaLRGB Exposure time: 20 hours 25 minutes

This was imaged from my light-polluted (Mag 4-4.5) back yard in September, 2008.

CCDAutopilot was used to automate the data gathering, controlling MaximDL, TheSky6 and FocusMax. Preprocessing was done in MaximDL, and post-processing in Photoshop CS.

I definitely need more H-alpha exposures (some of the dim H-II regions could use more light). The pure H-alpha version is actually pretty intense, so I toned it down by blending in the LRGB version at 50%.

LRGB preview attached. Larger version is at:
http://tinyurl.com/67khsv

Comments and suggestions always welcome.

Thanks,
Eric

January 29, 2009 11:58 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

The Crab Nebula from New Mexico

Posted By Enrico Africa

Hello all,

I spent last Thanksgiving at New Mexico Skies with my wife.

I haven't been the same since

To help me with my withdrawal symptoms, Tom Carrico of CCDARGO (http://www.ccdargo.com/) generously leased me some time at his setup in New Mexico Skies recently.

Here is the result of my first light taken with his equipment at that location.

As mentioned in the title, this is the Crab Nebula, M1, in Taurus. I thought it was late in the season for this target, but fortunately it was up long enough for me to shoot some significant exposure time over a few nights.

Details:
Equipment:

RCOS 10"/f9 Truss Tube Ritchey-Chretien
Paramount ME
SBIG ST-10XME
SBIG AO-8
Astrodon filters
L: 33 x 10 minutes binned 1 x 1
R: 9 x 10 minutes binned 1 x 1
G: 9 x 10 minutes binned 1 x 1
B: 9 x 10 minutes binned 1 x 1

Small image:
http://tinyurl.com/bhwe2o

Full size (slightly cropped):
http://tinyurl.com/d3n4xp

Comments and suggestions welcome.
Eric

April 22, 2009 09:39 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

This morning's Moon and Venus

Posted By Enrico Africa

I missed shooting the actual occultation (long story), though we did see it.

Here's the pair a few minutes after the Moon cleared Venus.

TMB 130SS
Canon Digital Rebel XTi
ISO 100
1/2000 second
Processed in Photoshop to enhance contrast
Location: our backyard in West Chester, Ohio

December 6, 2009 07:50 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

My web site up and running, plus new image (M34)

Posted By Enrico Africa

Hello all,

Ever since I switched ISP's early in 2008, my web presence via a personal web site has dropped to practically zero. I made do with on-line image galleries for a while, but I felt bad using those to post work-in-process images. So I resolved to build a web presence, and earlier this year went ahead and bought a paid hosting site.

Months went by, and my web site development moved in fits and starts. I finally resolved to get the site up and running by Thanksgiving. This is also part of the reason my activity in this forum's dried up a bit.

Well, here I am, a week late, but ... the web site is up.

Please check out Http://www.skiesbyafrica.com

On a related note, the image on the home page is also my latest processed image, M34 in Perseus. It's a "quick first light" of my not-so-new-to-me Vixen VC200L. I bought that scope last year (late 2008), and a traumatic attempt to collimate it put the kibosh on any plans of mine to use it. I finally decided a couple of months ago to give it a patient go at collimation, and from the looks of it I may have succeeded.

You may click on the main image to get to the page for M34, or the direct link is here:

http://www.skiesbyafrica.com/Clusters/M34.html

Please let me know what you think about the site. I consider it (the site) no more than a start for now. I hope to build on it over time and to place more of my images out there now that I have some decent storage (and a certain degree of maintainability) up and running. And hopefully I'll be a bit more active here again!

Thanks,
Eric

February 11, 2010 07:42 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

The Rosette Nebula using data from 2006 and 2008

Posted By Enrico Africa

Hi all,

I could say "better late than never", eh?

I collected and processed HaRGB data for the Rosette Nebula back in November
2006:

http://www.skiesbyafrica.com/Nebulae/Images/Rosette/RosetteNebulaHaRGB2006.jpg

In 2008, I gathered SII and OIII data for this nebula. I never got around to
processing this data until recently, thanks to the current run of bad weather. Granted, I have lots of data awaiting processing on top of this.

Anyways, here is the end result of a few days' worth of processing the Hubble Palette version of the data:

http://www.skiesbyafrica.com/Nebulae/Images/Rosette/RosetteHubble2008.jpg

Date Acquired: November 2006 (H-alpha and RGB data); January 2008 (SII and OIII Data)
Location: West Chester, Ohio
Exposure Details:
H-alpha: 8 x 30 Minutes Binned 1x1 (used for monochromatic image)
S-II: 5 x 30 Minutes Binned 1x1 (used for Hubble Palette image)
O-III: 7 x 30 Minutes Binned 1x1 (used for Hubble Palette image)
12 x 5 minutes R binned 2 x 2
12 x 5 minutes G binned 2 x 2
12 x 5 minutes B binned 2 x 2

Equipment Used: Takahashi FSQ-106N on a Takahashi EM200 Temma-II mount. SBIG STL-6303 camera with 5-position filter wheel and Astrodon narrowband filters.
Externally guided with an SBIG Remote Guide Head on a Borg 76ED refractor.

Acquisition Software : MaximDL, TheSky6, CCDAutopilot
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS, IrFanView, Noel Carboni Actions

Comments and suggestions always welcome.
Thanks,
Eric

February 22, 2010 07:14 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

Something a little different: IC 426 in Orion

Posted By Enrico Africa

Located about 1 degree north of Epsilon Orionis (the middle star of Orion's belt) lies this interesting little reflection nebula, IC 426, also cataloged as LBN 921, located at RA 05h 36m 30s Declination -00°18'. I stumbled upon this object when I was looking for other targets in the vicinity (IC 423 and IC 424). I bypassed those targets for want of a suitable guide star for the equipment I was using. In IC 426's case, not only was there a suitable guide star, but the nebula itself is pretty interesting!

I don't see much written about this nebula other than that it is a bright reflection nebula. There are also very few amateur images of this object, which raised my interest in it. There appears to be a bit of background nebulosity showing up as well. Possibly dust (paging Tom Davis!), possibly faint emission nebulae?

Imaged over three nights December 2009 using a remote telescope at New Mexico Skies in Mayhill, NM.

Exposure Details:
L: 24 x 15 Minutes Binned 1x1
R: 13 x 15 Minutes Binned 1x1
G: 13 x 15 Minutes Binned 1x1
G: 13 x 15 Minutes Binned 1x1

Equipment Used: 10" RCOS Ritchey-Cretien on a Paramount ME. SBIG ST-10XME with 5-position filter wheel and Astrodon HaLRGB filters. AO-8 adaptive optics unit. Guided using the camera's built-in guide chip and AO-8 unit.

Acquisition Software: MaximDL, TheSky6, ACP
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS, IrFanView, Noel Carboni Actions

Larger image here:

http://www.skiesbyafrica.com/Nebulae/IC426.html

Click on image for largest image, about 80% full resolution.

Comments and suggestions always welcome.
Eric

April 25, 2010 07:22 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

DMK 21AU04 First light - Whoa!

Posted By Enrico Africa

Whoo!

I used to wonder how you SS imagers do it. I drool over your images as I struggle with my meager attempts at imaging with my SAC IV camera and, in the last few years, a Celestron Neximage.

I'm used to DSO CCD imaging, and I used to wonder what I was doing wrong (other than seeing, of course).

Being used to the dark side of DSO imaging, I was thinking that maybe I just needed the resolution of monochrome imaging, similar to the resolution and sensitivity gain in monochrome DSO CCD's.

Wow!

So here's my first solar image with my DMK 21AU04, snagged during NEAF. This was shot through a Lunt LS50/BF1200 on a Borg 76ED.

Eric

January 15, 2011 08:43 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

IC 1848 in Narrowband

Posted By Enrico Africa

Hi all,

Alex's narrowband Rosette spurred me to share one of my works in progress. This is IC 1848 in the Hubble Palette with the colors processed similar to the link I sent Alex.

This was imaged over 3-4 nights last October, 2010.

Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106N
Mount: Takahashi EM200 Temma-2 mount
Camera: SBIG STL-6303 with 8-position filter wheel.
Filters: Astrodon 6nm (H-alpha and SII), 3nm (OIII)

Exposure information:
H-alpha: 8 x 30 minutes
SII: 12 x 30 minutes
OIII: 11 x 30 minutes

There were more H-alpha and OIII subs, but I had to drop them for bad focus or alignment.

Acquired via CCDAP3 and Maxim DL.

Process with MaximDL, post-processed with Photoshop CS4, GradientXterminator, Noise Ninja and Noel Carboni tools.

I struggle to find that fine line between oversmoothing and "just right" amounts of noise. Of course, at 50% resolution the noise isn't going to be that obvious!

Enjoy,
Eric