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Posts Made By: Ron Wodaski

March 22, 2003 04:47 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

The Mice

Posted By Ron Wodaski

I tested a new guidescope concept for the first time last night, and images The Mice while I was at it. This is a combine of 11 images - nine 5-minute images and 2 15-minute images.

You can see some structure in both galaxies as well as lots of the "tails." There is some visible structure in the tail that extends upward (north), and a hint of what remains of the spiral structure of the lower galaxy. Numerous background galaxies are also visible.

Taken with the Newastro Remote Telescope - a C14 and ST-10XE on a Paramount ME at New Mexico Skies.

The guidescope? A 50mm finder from a C14, with an ST-237 in it. Focal length of the guidescope was a mere 175mm. It's not really quite long enough (several individual images were trailed), but it did surprisingly well. As a guidescope, it's probably fine for scopes up to about 2500mm in focal length with the STV or ST-237. Mike Rice made a custom collar for attaching the camera to the finder. One nice thing about the finder as a guidescope: it focuses by turning the front element in and out, so camera angle is not affected by focusing.

Ron Wodaski

March 25, 2003 12:59 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

M87 and some odd friends

Posted By Ron Wodaski

This image of M87 shows quite a few interesting treats:

* The jet streaming out from the nucleus of M87. Note that the jet is somewhat bluish, indicative of the high-energy radiation emanating from it.

* The generally reddish eliptical galaxy NGC 4478, and the blue foreground star superimposed on it (above/left of M87). This has generated more than a few skipped heartbeats over the years, looking as it does like a dramatic supernova. Nope - just a foreground star that's been around (and teasing astronomers) for a long time.

* Note the specs of brightness surrounding M87 - those are M87's globulars. First time I've ever managed to record another galaxy's globs, at least that I know of.

There are also a number of interesting colored stars, and many background galaxies (including two that can be seen right through M87).

This three 5-minute luminance images plus three sets of 1.5:2.5:3 minute RGB sets. I was really surprised at the details revealed in such short exposures, but the C14/ST-1001E combo really does a great job.

In order to show the M87 jet and globulars, I had to resort to a fairly unconventional histogram processing. The low end is stretched quite a bit, while the bright end of things is fairly restrained. If I had allowed the brighter areas to get too bright, the jet would not be visible and the globulars would be immersed in the glow. This makes M87 look smaller than it actually is, and creates a somewhat soft cotton-like appearance to the smaller ellipticals, but I thought these were reasonable trade-offs to show the details I wanted to show.

Taken with the remote telescope at New Mexico Skies.

Ron Wodaski
The New CCD Astronomy

March 25, 2003 04:58 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

NGC 3521

Posted By Ron Wodaski

I'd never heard of this wonderful galaxy before last night, but it sure is an interesting one. It almost looks as if stars are boiling off into space - that cloud of stars around and especially above the plane of the galaxy is real.

Eleven luminance images, 10 minutes each - 5 one one side of the meridian, and 6 on the other. LIke NGC7331, this one is dimmer than it looks, so I didn't have time to get color. I'll have to do that on another night, as it looks like color would really bring this one to life.

Taken with the remote scope (C14, ST-1001E, Paramount ME).

Ron Wodaski

March 28, 2003 12:25 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System


Posted By Ron Wodaski

No, that's not the Sunflower galaxy, though it bears more than a passing resemblance. THis is a color version of the image of NGC3521 that I posted as luminance-only a few days ago.

I wasn't able to obtain a lot of color due to weather, but I got enough to give an idea of the colors in the galaxy, so I thought I would post it. Color is a single 3:5:6 minute RGB set binned 2x2.

Ron Wodaski

March 30, 2003 10:57 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

NGC3521 - finally some better color

Posted By Ron Wodaski

This is my third posting of this object. I've been struggling to get good color on it. Something always seems to get in the way of getting enough color exposures. I think it's fairly pale in color to start with, so I guess I'll just need to keep trying. I didn't get quite enough blue before I ran out of time, but there was practically zero blue in the last color attempt so this is better; it does somewhat show the blue of the puffy details near the core.

Gotta keep trying!

Ron Wodaski

March 30, 2003 11:44 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

NGC 4214 color

Posted By Ron Wodaski

Here's another very interesting galaxy. I couldn't really find any color images of it, at least not via Google, so I'm relying on my color calibration here. The exposures for this image are a mixed bag. I started out with five 5-minute luminance, but I though they were a little thin because of how dim this galaxy is. So I then took 6 10-minute images. To combine all the data effectively, I created two 3-image median combines with the 5-minute images (yes, one image got used in each median combine; a high cosmic ray count necessitated this approach), and summed them together to create and extra 10-minute image. I then median combined all the 10-minute images for a master luminance.

Otherwise, processing was done normally, with color combine in MaxIm DL and color and luminance processing in Photoshop.

The very dim galaxy at upper left is UGCA276, a mag 15 galaxy with really low surface brightness. Even an extreme histogram stretch reveals a mere smudge.

NGC 4214 may not be often imaged, but scientifically it is a very interesting galaxy. It is a Magellanic dwarf (therefore one of our neighbors) and it is undergoing rampant star formation. The red core is an older population of stars that appears to be very uniformly distrubuted, while the hot, young stars in the blue areas are presumably forming from interactions with other galaxies in the neighborhood. The core is pretty bright, making this a mag 10 galaxy overall, but the interesting details away frmo the core are very dim and required fairly long exposures.

Taken with the C14/ST-1001E using the Newastro Remote Telescope.

Ron Wodaski

March 31, 2003 04:33 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

NGC4244 color

Posted By Ron Wodaski

Here's another fairly active galaxy, this time and edge-on one. The blue regions are areas of hot, young stars. Some unusual dust detail can be seen around the core.

Nine 5-minute luminance images, and three sets of RGB at 3:5:6 minutes each set. Lucy-Richardson deconvolution in CCDSoft (settings: Sigma 1.0; 32 iterations; kernal 5).

Reduced to 80% to tighten up the appearance.

Ron Wodaski

March 31, 2003 12:25 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

M17 (Swan/Omega) Nebula - Processing tips

Posted By Ron Wodaski

It was a little too low to image yet - the air wasn't very steady at low elevations last night. I was able to apply some processing magic to bring the image into line reasonably well:

* I took enough luminance (40 minutes) to enable a heavy deconvolution, and even a bit of unsharp masking as well. This cleaned up the image overall, revealed details in the nebulosity that were obscured by the poor seeing, and made the stars rounder (thought not perfectly so).

* I also made reasonably long color exposures even though this is a bright object (9:15:18 RGB). Strong color can hide some bloating in the luminance.

* I used Color Range | Highlights to select just the stars. I did a little manual lassoing to unselect the brightest portions of the nebula. I then copied and pasted the stars in as a layer. I sharpened just the brightest stars and applied a minimum filter of 1. I faded the minimum filter to avoid strong halos around the stars.

* I made a duplicate of the stars layer, set it's blend mode to Darken, and then used an offset filter of 1 to remove the star elongation. I used Edit | Fade to limit the result to about half a pixel; a full pixel as too much.

After these corrections, the image still looks somewhat soft, but is significantly improved from the original.

Ron Wodaski

April 1, 2003 10:28 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

A dim galactic bulb: NGC 3319

Posted By Ron Wodaski

This is a very dim galaxy. Despite an hour of luminance (and those are ten-minute images to maximize signal to noise ratio), it's still barely there. I can't quite figure the structure; this is one messed up galaxy.

Data collected by Ricahrd Chalfan with the Newastro Remote Telescope; image processing my me.

Ron Wodaski

April 1, 2003 11:39 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

NGC5566 and a few friends

Posted By Ron Wodaski

Here's a very interesting group of galaxies. The brightest and largest is NGC556, a nifty-looking spiral with lots of details below the level at which I can resolve them with this setup.

The cute (to me, anyway) one with the l o n g arms is NGC5560. It has some barely-visible details near the core. The dim third party in this dance is NGC 5569, a very low surface brightness galaxy with clear spiral structure. The small galaxy at upper right is CGCG47-19 (PGC51269). There are also numerous (and nameless) galaxies strewn about the background.

17 x 5-minute luminance, and seven 3:5:6 minute RGB sets.

Ron Wodaski