MAS Observatory: Takahashi 106 FSQ Astrophotography
.













Homepage (Page 1) for Takahashi 106 FSQ Astrophotography | Page Two: Takahashi 106 FSQ Astrophotography | Page Three: Takahashi 106 FSQ Astrophotography





Please Note:  This is not an "Astro-Gallery" of "perfect" images.  It's a work in progress.  The initial images will utilize a Takahashi 106 FSQ, with a wide FOV (at 156 x 234 arc-min) and an image scale of 3.5 arc-sec/pixel (with an SBIG STL-11000).   The unsaturated stars in these images will pixelate quickly with the zoom function (too few pixels per star).  Later (hopefully by March of 2005) an RC-16 will be used with a sampling of about .7-.8 arc-sec/pixel (using an ST-10 XME with a .7 FLR, or an SBIG STL-6303). The FOV will decrease but hopefully the quality of the image will improve.  With each image I will leave a "Note" describing what huge errors I've made (count on it happening) with that image, or what new technique I've learned.  Hopefully as a chronical, this "Astro-Gallery" will be helpful to others
 
                                                                     Click on Images to Enlarge   
















.
 
 

.
 
 
 
 
.

ngc4565.best.web.032904.rgb.1x1.5min.f6.3.norm.rldecon.adobe.jpg

This is the last of the images taken on the LX-200 platform.  NGC 4565, a stunning edge-on spiral galaxy in the constellation of Coma Berenices.  This galaxy all but knocked me over the first time I saw it.  Its about 31 million light years distant and has a length of 125,000 light years.  Theres a beautiful "dust" lane which covers about two thirds of its' length.  Note the bright star touching the southwest edge (south is up in this image) of the central core.  Imaged with the GPS 12" LX-200, using SBIG ST10-XME, AO adapter and 6.3 FL reducer.  Processed with CCDSoft (including RL deconvolution) and Adobe Photoshop (KBQ, 03/29/04).
Note:  All's I can note here is to consider reading Ron Wodowski's book and give a great deal of thought to the importance of a steady mount as being even more important than having a large apature telescope.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
.
.

m31.3best.eachrgb20minadobewithmedfilter.crop.web.-15.oct52004.jpg

Once again, M-31 (NGC 224), imaged just one day later and processed in a slightly different manner.   As with the previous CCD image, this was imaged with an SBIG STL-11000, using the Tak-106 with paramount ME, again on a hazy night. Imaging performed with John Smith's CCDAutoPilot, using CCDSoft for camera control (-15 deg C), with 3 separate sets of 2x2 binned 10 minute R,G and B images (20 darkframes assembled for reduction).  Image processing included alignment with Mira AP-7, color processing with Maxim DL (version 4), and touch-up with Adobe Photoshop CS (including use of the Medium Noise Filter).  (KBQ, 10/05/04).
Note:  The heavy use of the median filter in Adobe Photoshop has given the galaxy an interesting but unrealistic appearance.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
.
.

hh.web2a.ha.rgb.30l.maxcombine.adobe.preserveic434.best.2by2.600sec.jpg

Wide field image of the horsehead nebula and its' associated reflection nebula IC 434, with attention paid to not "burning out" this reflection nebula.  Imaged with an SBIG STL-11000, using the Tak-106 with Paramount ME. Imaging performed with John Smith's CCDAutoPilot, using CCDSoft for camera control (-15 deg C), with 6 separate sets of 2x2 binned 10 minute H-alpha, R,G, and B images (20 darkframes assembled for reduction).  Image processing included reduction and alignment with Mira AP-7, processing with Maxim DL version 4 (color combine and DDP) and Adobe Photoshop CS.  The H-alpha channel was treated as a 30% luminance channel  (KBQ, 11/08/04)
Note:  Again, using the H-alpha as a stand alone Light channel does produce an unnatural salmon or orange appearance to the image.  More about this coming up. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
.
.

Takahashi-106 FSQ and Paramount ME: 
Our platform as we await the RC-16
 
 
.

takonparamountme.jpg

This page marks a transition in our observatory.  It marks the demarkation of going from the LX-200 to using the Paramount ME Mount, initially with a Tak 106 refractor (later with the Tak-106 and and RC-16).  Although the GPS LX-200 is a wonderful telescope for observing and video imaging, many (including myself) have found guided CCD work very difficult with the LX-200 due to inherent 'sloppiness' in the RA and Dec gears (I've called, but could not get any data on the expected periodic or random errors for the LX-200).  Some have succeeded by working at reduced focal lengths, by using an AO adapter, using SBIGs patented "Track and Accumulate" methodology and even by replacing parts of the RA and Dec gears (I've had 'some' success using all 4 tactics).  I've learned much from this telescope and will continue to enjoy and praise it as an wonderful observing and video platform at star parties. Although we are still waiting for the RC-16, the images which follow will be those taken with the Tak-106 atop the Paramount ME, using either and SBIG ST10-XME or large format SBIG STL-11000.  We are using John Smith's CCDAutoPilot and most of the newer processing methodologies come from his advise.
 
 
.
.
.

ngc7000.web2.verybest.maxrgb.noddp.run2.111304.jpg

.
My first try at NGC7000, the North American Nebula, located in Cygnus and illuminated by Deneb.  Imaged with an SBIG STL-11000, using the Tak-106 with Paramount ME. Imaging performed with John Smith's CCDAutoPilot, using CCDSoft for camera control (-25 deg C), with 4 separate sets of 2x2 binned 10 minute h-alpha, R,G, and B images (20 darkframes assembled for reduction).  Image processing included reduction and alignment with Mira AP-7, processing with Maxim DL version 4 (color combine and DDP) and Adobe Photoshop CS  (KBQ, 11/08/04).
Note: Using the H-alpha channel as a L channel brings out the details (ie, ionized hydrogen emissions), but causes an incorrect colorization which is difficult to correct.  See discussion in future images.
 
 
 
.
.
.
 
 
 
 
 
.

hh.web.ha.dfs.6reg.pm.ddp.2by2.600sec.jpg

The same image of the horsehead nebula and its' associated reflection nebula IC 434.  Also imaged with an SBIG STL-11000, using the Tak-106 with a Paramount ME mount. Imaging performed with John Smith's CCDAutoPilot, using CCDSoft for camera control (-15 deg C), with 6 separate sets of 2x2 binned 10 minute H-alpha images alone (20 darkframes assembled for reduction).  Image processing included reduction and alignment with Mira AP-7, processing with Maxim DL version 4 (DDP) and Adobe Photoshop CS (histogram, curves and unsharp mask).  (KBQ, 11/08/04). 
Note:  The H-alpha channel alone produces a nice monochrome image not dissimilar to a black and white image (with all the additional detail produced by an H-alpha filter)..
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
.
.

m31.alsobest.maximsecondtrycoloralignmanandcombineandhighstretchtiff.adobedespandnoise1.1.unshmask.maxhisto.website.jpg

 
M-31 (NGC 224), Great Galaxy of  Andromeda, with associated galaxies
M 32 and M 110.  Located 2.2 million light years distant and part of our Local Group of galaxies. Notable as being the site where Hubble discovered the Cepheid variable which put this "nebula" out of our own galaxy, thereby beginning the process of discovereing that many so called "nebula" were actually "island universes" (galaxies"), each made up of billions of stars. This dramatically changed our picture of the universe and our (very small) place in it (up until then the theory of Shapley and others indicated that the entire universe was enclosed in our Milky Way galaxy, less than 100,000 light years in diameter). Imaged with Tak-106 with paramount ME on a hazy night with an SBIG STL-11000 and CCDSoft. Assembled from 4 separate 10 minute R,G and B images each (taken with CCDAutoPilot); dark subtracted and aligned with Mira AP-7, color processed with Maxim DL and Adobe Photoshop (KBQ, 10/04.04).
Note: Over-processing has burn out core.  More images to increase the signal to noise ratio and less unsharp masking would have produced a better image
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
.
.
 
 
 
.

maxpredig.copy.adobe.ngc7000.hargb.111304.jpeg

A second reprocessing of NGC7000, the North American Nebula.  Here the H-alpha filter results have been colorized in violet, in order to accentuate other details of the ionized hydrogen emissions.  Imaged with an SBIG STL-11000, using the Tak-106 with Paramount ME. Imaging performed with John Smith's CCDAutoPilot, using CCDSoft for camera control (-25 deg C), with 4 separate sets of 2x2 binned 10 minute R,G, B and H-alpha filter images (20 darkframes assembled for reduction).  Image processing included reduction and alignment with Mira AP-7, processing with Maxim DL version 4 (histogram/curves and color; including  H-alpha violet pseudocolorization with colorstack) and Adobe Photoshop CS (overlaying of RGB and H-alpha and touch-up).  (KBQ, 11/08/04).
Note: Maxim DL has some great features, such as "color stack", which allows one to choose a color for each filter.  This is a reasonable approach when using H-alpha and other "narrow band" filters, since there is really no "true" visual equilavent for these narrow wavelengths. The appearance is not, however, true to "the eye", so to speak.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
.
.

exp.7000.web.111304.best2.gendhar.g.b.adobe.curves.jpg

Another technique in processing NGC7000. Here Gendler's technique of layering the Ha (75%) and Red (25%) images as an enhanced red image (in Photoshop) was used (see his web site at http://www.robgendlerastropics.com ).  The resultant images were then combined in MaximDL.  As Gendler notes, this is a somewhat better way to use the contrast of the H-alpha image (ionized hydrogen compromises a narrow width of the red band) while better preserving the actual color of the image (the previous image of NGC 7000 required a great deal of re-colorizing in Photoshop because of the washed out red effect when assembling the image as a Ha (as the L channel), R, G and B in MaximDL.  Imaged with an SBIG STL-11000, using the Tak-106 with Paramount ME. Imaging performed with John Smith's CCDAutoPilot, using CCDSoft for camera control (-25 deg C), with 4 separate sets of 2x2 binned 10 minute Ha, R,G, and B images (20 darkframes assembled for reduction).  (KBQ, 11/08/04).
Note:  Astro-photography sites like Gendler's and John Smith's are an invaluable learning tool.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
.
.

.
.
.
















.