MAS Observtory: RC-16 Ritchey-Chretien Astrophotography
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Bubble Nebula in H-alpha

bubblenebula.verybestcrophalpha.12x15min.kodac.july30.2005.jpg

The Bubble Nebula, or NGC 7635 in Cassiopeia.  This is a 30th magnitude emission nebula is known for it's distinctive "bubble-like" appearance.  Imaged with an SBIG STL-6303 in H-alpha only.  Twelve separate 15 minute images calibrated and registered with MIRA AP, deconvoluted with AIP and processed with Adobe Photoshop CS. Imaged under typical irratic New England Skies with an AIP4WIN Star Tool FWHM value of 6.7 pixels prior to deconvolution and 2.1 pixels following deconvolution.  With an image scale of 0.51 ASP this gives and inital (approximated) "seeing" of 6.7 x .51 = 3.41 arc-seconds (by my "eye", a very generous estimate considering the imtermittant cloud cover).  KBQ, July 30, 2005. 
 
 
 
 
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Ring Nebula With outer Shells

ringnebsecringbestwebll60rgb.with20ha.aug2005.jpg

The previous image of the Ring Nebula was here superimposed, with Adobe Photoshop CS, onto a series of 30 separate 15 minute H-alpha exposures (7.5 hours of H-alpha imaging).  Used the pinlight option.  The H-alpha images were pseudocolorized in Adobe.  The overal quality of the "ring" is quite good, but the surrounding quality, including the outer ring, is less than optimal (note the bluring of the small adjacent galaxy).  Increased imaging time to improve the signal to noise ratio would improve on this, but I just don't have the time !!  Another problem, the stars have internal dimples, due, I believe, to a bit of overdoing the deconvolution step with AIP4Win. 
    Imaged with an SBIG STL-6303 using CCD AutoPilot II.  Six separate 15 minute images processed as an LRGB image (6 hours of exposure time) with 7.5 hours of H-alpha superimposed.  Calibrated and registered with MIRA AP, deconvoluted with AIP and processed with Adobe Photoshop CS.   KBQ, September 3, 2005.
 
 
 
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Elephant's Trunk in Cepheus

elephantstrunck.verybestandfinal.crop.coladj.rprimel60rgbt.jpg

The so-called Elephant's Trunck, or the western edge of IC 1396, a faint emission nebula  in Cepheus.  This part of the nebula is relatively dark, though the effects emissions form young stars can be seen in the glow around the edges of this dark nebula. 
    Imaged with an SBIG STL-6303 using CCD AutoPilot II. Four separate 15 minute images processed as an Ha-LRGB image (only 4 hours of exposure time).  Calibrated and registered with MIRA AP, deconvoluted with AIP and processed with Adobe Photoshop CS.   (KBQ, November, 2005).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Ring Nebula

ringnebbestcropll60rgb.highpass.aug2005.jpg

Thr Ring Nebula, or M57 in Lyra.  A 9th magnitude planetary nebula about 2,150 light years distant.  The central 15th magnitude star is clearly visable in the center of the nebula. 
  Imaged with an SBIG STL-6303 using CCD AutoPilot II.  Five separate 15 minute images processed as an LLRGB image.  Calibrated and registered with MIRA AP, deconvoluted with AIP and processed with Adobe Photoshop CS. Deconvolution with AIP made a remarkable difference in the "appearance" of the small stars within the nebula.  The AIP measured FWHM changing form 5.50 pixels (5.5 pixels x .51 arc-sec/pixel = 2.85 arc-sec seeing, as an estimate) to 2.26 pixels ( about 1.15 arc-sec of seeing, again, only as an estimate).  KBQ, August, 2005.
 
 
 
 
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Viel Nebula

viel.hapluslrgb.bestadobeclusm2.jpg

Western edge of the Viel Nebula in Cygnus.  This is the first in what will be a new practice of imaging for 3 or more nights before assembling.  My goal is to significantly boost my signal to noise ratio, and the best first step is to image the same object for a number of nights.  Initially, this was dificult to do, largely because it's so exciting imaging these objects. 
   Imaged with an SBIG STL-6303 using CCD AutoPilot II.  Eighteen separate 15 minute images processed as an Ha-LRGB image (22.5 hours of exposure time).  Calibrated and registered with MIRA AP, deconvoluted with AIP and processed with Adobe Photoshop CS.   (KBQ, September 3-5, 2005)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Ring Nebula's Secondary Rings: Better Processing

ring.rprgbplusprprimerprgb.bestextrememoreproc.run2.jpg

The Ring Nebula, this time with the H-alpha data stretched out in order to see the diffuse secondary ring of light.  I'd like to take full credit for the processing, but the fact is John Smith helped me a great deal in terms of teasing out the H-alpha data (note this image is much smoother than my previous attempt).  The Big trick was using Maxim to stretch the data (In Maxim select: Process/ Stretch ... Check "linear only", "screen stretch" and, in my case, "16 bit").  This stretched out my H-alpha data and made the work in photoshop less difficult. Previously I was unable to get this fainter H-alpha data to show up, even using my usual stretching techniques in photoshop (curves/levels, etc).   
    Imaged with an SBIG STL-6303 using CCD AutoPilot II.  Eighteen separate 15 minute images processed as an L'-L'R'GB image (22.5 hours of exposure time).  Calibrated and registered with MIRA AP, deconvoluted with AIP and processed with Adobe Photoshop CS.  (KBQ, November, 2005)
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Cocoon Nebula

cocoon.bestbest.crop.lrgb.rlx5.earlyrun.aug2005.jpg

Cocoon Nebula (IC 5146) in Cygnus.  This is my first shot at the Cocoon Nebula, unfortunately on a typical poor night in New England.  Many of the frames had to be deleted due to clouds. 
   The next few images will be done with specific goals in mind: 1)  Obtain a better quality Cocoon Nebula, 2)  Shoot several hours of H-alpha for both the Ring Nebula and Cocoon Nebula, in order to bring to outer layer of expanding ionized hydrogen in the image and 3)  Image the Viel Nebula (haven't had the pleasure yet!).
   As for this image:  Imaged with an SBIG STL-6303 using CCD AutoPilot II.  Six separate 15 minute images processed as an LRGB image (6 hours of exposure time; H-alpha shot but not used in this image).  Calibrated and registered with MIRA AP, deconvoluted with AIP and processed with Adobe Photoshop CS.  KBQ, August, 2005.
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Cocoon Revisited

cocoonbestpluslpr.lpr60rprgbclandusm.touchupsept.2005.jpg

As promised, the Cocoon nebula revisited with a three-fold increase in the number of images taken prior to assembly. Again, my goal was to increae the signal to noise ratio and "process" less. The processing was a bit more involved (ideas courtesy of John Smith), modifying the L channel by combining with H-alpha (called L') and modifying the Red channel by combing with H-alpha (R').  Accomplished using Pixel math (with "add checked") in Maxim DL.
   As for this image:  Imaged with an SBIG STL-6303 using CCD AutoPilot II.  Eighteen separate 15 minute images processed as an L'-L'R'GB image (22.5 hours of exposure time).  Calibrated and registered with MIRA AP, deconvoluted with AIP and processed with Adobe Photoshop CS.  (KBQ, August 28-September 6, 2005)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Mars: First Planetary Image with the RC-16

mars.nov.2005.bestprocessed.jpg

This is the first planetary image I've taken with the RC-16.  I finally got around to using the "observation" mirror on my Van Sykes MegaPort Sidewinder as a planetary camera site.  I can leave the camera in for planetary work, or simply remove it and insert a lense for visual work (all without disrupting the image train).         
   Imaged using a simple Philips To U Cam Pro II 840 K. I had to modify both the 1.25" connector to the camera and the Sidewinders port, in order to bring the web cam closer to the fixed focal point. 
   Used 200 of 1000 images obtained at .51 arc-sec/pixel (ie, at prime with the RC-16's FL of 3685 mm).  The seeing was poor (Clear Sky Clock "seeing of 2/5" with minor cloud cover).  Aquired and processed with K3CCDTools, touch up work with Photoshop.  I haven't used K3CCDTools for at least a year, but the new version is easy to use and powerful.  (KBQ, November 12, 2005).
 
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