processing

Imaging the Elephant Trunk Nebula - IC1396

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I imaged this nebula over two nights for a total of 14 hours. There are 7 hours of H-a, and 7 hours of OIII data. Each done on a separate night. Thanks to the clean structure of EKOS when imaging, it organized all the data for me into proper folders. From here, I was able to load all of the data into Astro Pixel Processor at once, loading up each channel's info and specific calibration frames. From here I left it to process on it's own. It took about 2 hours total to go through all 500 images and calibrate them.

After this point, I was left with two final calibrated frames, one for H-a, and one for OIII. I brought them into PixInsight to crop,  and align, then stretch them to appropriate levels.

I then used PixelMath inside PixInsight to combine the two monochrome images into a bi-color pallet showing the result above. Finally I moved the file into PhotoShop to enhance the color and contrast slightly, as I prefer the controls in Photoshop for this task. Below are some other pixel math combinations for how you could combine the two images into other color pallets. You can see all the equipment details over on my Astrobin page.

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The 2017 iMac Pro Astrophotography Processing Workstation

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Here she is. The 2017 iMac Pro, and my new astrophotography processing workstation. I've just moved up from a 2013 Mac Pro. The new setup includes two Dell P2715Q 27" 4k monitors along with the iMac's 5k 27" monitor. The iMac consists of an 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W CPU with 32GB RAM. Performance wise, it's about 2x as fast as my previous 6-core Mac Pro. It's connect to both a 6TB and an 8TB RAID storage solution. The 6TB is backup currently, and the 8TB stores all my data and work files.

I'm currently running Astro Pixel Processor on the left display for calibration and integration of captured images. I'm running PixInsight on the middle monitor for processing the integrated images, and I have PhotoShop running on the right hand monitor for last minute color touch up.

This setup might seem like overkill, and it probably is. It's primary use is as my home business graphic design and video system.

Pictured in the setup from left to right is the Dell P2715Q 4k Monitor below that is some Sennheiser HD 650 headphones, a Blu-ray disk drive, the Schiit Audio Asgard headphone AMP and PreAMP. Then the 2017 iMac Pro base model, a 1TB portable G-Drive for transferring images off my 13" 2015 MacBook Pro capturing laptop. A Sphero Star Wars BB-8 robot, World of Warcraft mouse pad, the other Dell P2715Q, and an XBOX 360 controller for games.

Above the monitors is a Mission Chart from when I worked at NASA. It features the mission and communications route for the Shuttle flight STS 51-G. Hanging to the left is a flowchart showing the history of Apple hardware up to the 2013 Mac Pro.

Processing IC410

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I imaged IC410 over a single night using my Explore Scientific 102mm FCD-100 telescope, ASI1600MM-Cool camera, and the ZWO narrowband filters. I took 75 images that were exposed for 5 minutes each. 25 HA, 25 OIII, and 25 SII images in total.

I used AstroPixel Processor to combine and integrate the images into a single master HA, OIII, and SII frame. From there I imported all three into PixInsight and followed this Light Vortex Astronomy tutorial for processing the individual frames. Note that their tutorial covers a two frame process, and I had three. I just applied the same processing techniques to each of my three frames.

Where I had to diverge from the above tutorial was when combining the images into a single color RGB image. I researched and found the following PixelMath formula for PixInsight to combine the 3 frames:

R:  0.5*SII + 0.5*HA
G:  0.15*HA + 0.85*OIII
B:  OIII

Once done, I wrapped up the tutorial and concluded with the finished image seen above.

I also went back to this same image and reprocessed it in the Hubble telescope pallet.

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