November 2014

The DAMN CLOUD continued for most of this month but I did manage to get out once.

Guiding Issues

The only night I managed to get clear skies was the 12th, this was a 'school night' and I had to be up for work the next day so I wouldn't be staying up too late. I got setup shortly after getting home from work and as usual I had issues polar aligning but managed to get there in the end.

I was using the ED80 on my mount as I wanted to image the Andromeda Galaxy again. Andromeda was about 2 hours away from the zenith - at which point an Equatorial mount will want to flip - so I setup the camera for guiding and found focus then connected up the EOS 450D for imaging. I started PHD but I couldn't get it to calibrate the mount so it wouldn't guide, it took me a while fault finding to realise I hadn't connected the guide cable between the guide camera and the mount. Doh!

I connected the cable and PHD completed a calibration I then started imaging Andromeda taking 300s (5min) exposures but after 3 images the Andromeda was moving slightly going off centre with each image.

I wasn't sure where I'd gone wrong but I recalibrated PHD and managed to get another 5 or so images, this went on for and hour or so. I managed to get 13 images and I decided to give up. I took the scope in and made my Darks, Flats and Bias frames ready for stacking.

Processing

The next day I took a look at my subs of which 3 were unusable, which left me with 10 to process. I converted the Canon RAW (.CR2) images to TIFFs in PolyView because DeepSkyStacker has a habit of processing them as grey scale.

Below are samples of each type of image for processing Lights, Darks, Bias and Flats (Check out the DeepSkyStacker FAQ for definitions of each file type)

Light Dark


Bias Flats


I loaded all the images in to DeepSkyStacker and checked my settings.

Once the process had finished I loaded the 'AutoSave.tif' (Below) file in to PhotoShop and added several Levels and Curves layers to bring out as much detail as I could. This is very basic PhotoShop processing and there is much much more that can be done with PhotoShop.

Autosave


Below is the final image I produced with a few simple steps in PhotoShop.

Andromeda


After the 12th the cloud rolled back in and there would be no more astronomy for me this month!


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