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  1. #21
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    If you never started this thread...I would not have liberator on my computer now!!!
    This is all learning as far as I am concerned and I believe I am getting somewhere.
    OK. I will look at all this with fresh eyes tomorrow...
    But its a good thread Blaise..a very good thread.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dublin sky watch View Post
    If you never started this thread...I would not have liberator on my computer now!!!
    This is all learning as far as I am concerned and I believe I am getting somewhere.
    OK. I will look at all this with fresh eyes tomorrow...
    But its a good thread Blaise..a very good thread.
    I agree, Declan. And, the incompatibility of software is not your fault, Blaize. It's just the way things evolved over time. No one could have anticipated during the advent of personal computers and the eventual public access to the Internet that amateur astronomers would develop their skills to the point where they are now rivaling and in some cases collaborating with professional astronomers in astroimaging. When both Windows and the MacOS first came out, they weren't even designed with the Internet in mind, much less amateurs such as we interacting with professional astronomers. Things just evolve in ways that we can never anticipate--at least not fully.

    But the thread is still a good idea, despite the technical difficulties.
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  3. #23
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    Enrico:

    If I remember correctly, the way you get color from this particular FIT file is by using levels and adjusting the R, G, and B respectively. I slide the right side adjusters all the way over to the data just as it begins its upward path.

    I also adjust saturation and hue and am able to get really good color in the arms, but at the same time as I stretch the image I kill the image itself as it draws more composition from the main object it also makes the background even brighter.
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  5. #24
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    blaise,

    Here's my edit of your M51:


    A few comments:

    1. The strong vignetting makes it hard to do good post-processing. Calibrate with flat frames -- they will get rid of the vignetting and give you an even background, making it very easy to bring out the details while keeping a clean dark background.

    2. What are you using to capture your images? I noticed that they are in RGB format. Capture in RAW monochrome FITS format. If you capture in RGB, you lose some detail/quality. If you capture in RAW monochrome FITS, the image will show up without color (pre-processing), but you can easily convert into color (since the FITS file contains the data to convert to color). You'll get more detail that way. If you're stacking in DSS, make sure you set the FITS/DPP settings to tell DSS how to do the color conversion. Then when you save the final stacked image, make sure you select "Embed adjustments" instead of "Apply adjustments" -- that preserves the color when you open in Photoshop.

    3. Your image is slightly out of focus. Here is a close-up of M51 that I took last night -- notice how the stars are solid round balls:


    Now here's the same area from your image (with very little processing to bring out the issue). Notice how your stars are actually donuts with slightly darker centers.
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  7. #25
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    So Fuzz...If I am shooting with dslr...I can only capture in raw format Right?
    I take it you are talking about ccd cameras?
    Nice job on the image...
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  8. #26
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    Fuzz:

    The original thread that those images were attached to yielded about the same results. I also mentioned in that thread that I didn't bother with flats and only about 5 darks.

    I capture in RAW/FITS using a Canon 450D. I'm limited to about 1 to 2 minutes due to light pollution. It is captured in monochrome and changed to color along the way during processing.

    Next night out, if I ever have the opportunity considering it's been overcast and cloudy here night after night for over a month, I will work with flats and a boat load of darks.

    As for focusing, I considered that problem. A couple of months ago I actually dropped my scope about 4 1/2 feet. I think it may be a collimation issue more than focusing, but you may be right.

    Thanks for the input and good work on your M51.
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  9. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dublin sky watch View Post
    So Fuzz...If I am shooting with dslr...I can only capture in raw format Right?
    I take it you are talking about ccd cameras?
    No, I'm talking about DSLRs. I shoot with a Canon 40D. RAW is the format -- FITS or CR2 are the RAW containers. I capture with Nebulosity and Maxim DL -- both of them allow capture in RAW monochrome or RAW RGB format (both in FITS format) -- capture in RAW monochrome. I'm not sure if you can control RAW monochrome versus RGB in the CR2 format.
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  10. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaise View Post
    The original thread that those images were attached to yielded about the same results.
    Yeah, sorry -- didn't read through the other thread.

    I also mentioned in that thread that I didn't bother with flats and only about 5 darks.
    After finally doing proper calibration, I'd say IMHO flats are more important than darks. Without darks, the image looks a bit noisy, which can be somewhat fixed in post-processing. But without flats, it is very hard to fix the vignetting and uneven illumination/color. That's just my limited experience so far.

    As for focusing, I considered that problem. A couple of months ago I actually dropped my scope about 4 1/2 feet. I think it may be a collimation issue more than focusing, but you may be right.
    It may be both. The focus is definitely off, as evidenced by the donuts. Looking at the donuts closely, it seems that the donut holes are slightly off-center, meaning the collimation is off too.
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  11. #29
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    Thanks, Fuzz. I'll have to double check some settings in Nebulosity and DSS. You should also consider posting your stacked but unprocessed images on a file sharing server. The idea of this thread is for those that are interested to attempt to work on the images and see what we can do.

    Thanks again. Appreciate your input.
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  12. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaise View Post
    Next night out, if I ever have the opportunity considering it's been overcast and cloudy here night after night for over a month, I will work with flats and a boat load of darks.
    Flats and darks are what you shoot when it's cloudy. Last night it was cloudy so I set up the camera/laptop to shoot darks for 4 hours. Today it is a completely overcast day here -- perfect for flats. Shoot some darks and flats and re-process your M51 with them (as long as your dark temp is similar to the light temp; temp doesn't matter for flats) -- I'll bet you can tease a lot more detail out of it.
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