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04-05-2012, 01:31 PM   #256
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QuoteOriginally posted by zambonikane Quote
Here is a compilation of about almost 2 hours worth of 5min subs of M51. Details of the imaging train are in the link.
What does the title mean? "m 51 3x drizzle from a custom rectangle in DeepSkyStacker"
3x drizzle? custom rectangle?

04-05-2012, 02:12 PM   #257
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In Deep sky stacker(DSS), if you have registered all of you frames (light, dark, flats...) it will give each light frame a score (higher = better usually). I click on the light frame with the highest score and it gets displayed in DSS. If I mouse over that frame, a set of tools becomes visible on the lower right hand corner of the preview window. Within this tool menu, there is an option to define a custom rectangle - basically, the part of the image that you want DSS to focus on while it stacks. Once I have selected the frames I want to stack, I click on "register checked frames" which opens a dialog box. One option within this box is to adjust stacking parameters (I think that it what it is called, I am working off of memory). One of the options that this leads to is 2x or 3x drizzle. This is a method developed by the Hubble imaging team to increase the resolution of the image (DeepSkyStacker - Technical Info). The downside to this is that it makes a bigger file and is more taxing on your computer's resources.

I hope this helps to clear things up.

Mike
04-05-2012, 02:53 PM   #258
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QuoteOriginally posted by zambonikane Quote
In Deep sky stacker(DSS), if you have registered all of you frames (light, dark, flats...) it will give each light frame a score (higher = better usually). I click on the light frame with the highest score and it gets displayed in DSS. If I mouse over that frame, a set of tools becomes visible on the lower right hand corner of the preview window. Within this tool menu, there is an option to define a custom rectangle - basically, the part of the image that you want DSS to focus on while it stacks. Once I have selected the frames I want to stack, I click on "register checked frames" which opens a dialog box. One option within this box is to adjust stacking parameters (I think that it what it is called, I am working off of memory). One of the options that this leads to is 2x or 3x drizzle. This is a method developed by the Hubble imaging team to increase the resolution of the image (DeepSkyStacker - Technical Info). The downside to this is that it makes a bigger file and is more taxing on your computer's resources.

I hope this helps to clear things up.

Mike
thank you!
04-05-2012, 06:18 PM   #259
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Yes, Thank you VERY much for that. I have DSS and I just wish I had someone HERE that I could watch use it a couple times. Unfortunately I'm a 'visual learner' and not a reading one. I think I've just gotten lucky with my results so far. Great shot Zambonikane! I'm just waiting for my AstroTrac to get back to me in the mail. Also I'm about thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis (my fingers were held up while typing the i's visualizing the distance) to getting a new apochromatic triplet telescope. They are so darn expensive! But looking at your pictures from a reflector really makes me think about changing my mind. I have a 130mm reflector but no solid mount to support it. I wanted to try out a refractor with my K-5 on the AstroTrac but the price difference is crazy. I'm so undecided...

04-05-2012, 08:43 PM - 1 Like   #260
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Thanks for the compliments! I too had some issues with DSS at first and wasted a lot of really good nights of data by not really knowing what I was trying to accomplish (not taking darks or flats), but I have gotten better at it as I progressed. I have only been imaging through the scope since September and can try to outline the things I have learned in the time since then.
1. Spend a lot to time over at cloudy nights going through the "Beginning and Intermediate Imaging" and "DSLR and digital camera astro imaging and processing" forums.
2. Spend that $2k on a mount (I have an Atlas and love it).
3. Find a teacher or student to get you Photoshop (I'm a teacher and pulled the trigger during a pricing screw up so I landed CS5.5 for $45!)
4. Search for online tutorials (like this one -Enterprise Astronomy & Photography | Videos)
5. Learn EQmod (an open source mount control suite which allow you to sync a planetarium program to your scope and replaces the hand control).
6. Pick up a guide scope.

I do not have a permanent set up, so each time I want to image, I have to lug the mount, scope, and camera out of the garage. Here is an outline of a typical night:
At dusk:
-Bring mount to driveway and roughly align with north (if I can see it, I'll roughly align with Polaris)
-Level tripod - I use the bubble level on my iPhone placed on my accessories try. Once I am close, I shim the short leg with paint stirs.
-Balance scope
-Connect scope to net book
-Open Eqmod
-Open Carts du Ciel
-Open PhD Guiding software
-Go through the polar alignment technique outlined here (
) and here
-Using Carts du Ciel, I choose some bright stars/planets to slew to in order for eqmod to build an accurate model of the night sky and to align my finder and guide scope with my main imaging scope.
-Concurrently with the above step, I will hone my focus on a bright star by powering up my K-x (in debug mode in order to disable dark frame subtraction) (which basically lives connected (prime focally) to my scope), clicking on live view, then moving the scope to center my target in the view finder, then zooming up to 10x then fine tuning the location of my target, then adjusting focus so that the stars are as small as possible and I get good spike (only with reflectors). - I think my English teachers would give me heck for that last step, but hopefully you get the just
-Choose my imaging target in Carts du Ciel, but I don't go right to it just yet. I pick three stars that form a triangle that encompasses my target, and have Cart du Ciel slew to each, center the scope, sync, repeat for all three, just so that the computer has the best possible model of the sky.
-Slew to my target.
-Within the PhD guiding software, calibrate the mount (the software sends signals to the mount and reads how the image in the guide camera responds) - this takes about 15 minutes.
-While PhD is calibrating itself to my mount, I set up a folder that is named after my target and the temperature (Ex M51 45degs). Within that folder, I create 4 sub-folders - lights, darks, bias, and flats.
-I open PK tether and set up my shooting and saving settings. I have it name my files after my target, the ISO and the exposure length (ex: M51iso800-300s001).
-Once my mount and guide scope are synced, I take one exposure with my settings just to see if my focus is good and I don't have too much light pollution.
-If everything looks hunky-dory, I let PK tether rip and go inside while I am taking my lights.
-Fast Forward a couple of hours, I lug the whole set up in and disconnect everything but my camera from the netbook.
-I cover the scope with the cap, set up PK tether to dump the next batch for files I'm about to take into the folder I labeled "darks."
-Let PK tether rip (now taking pictures of the back of my lens cap in my dark garage) making sure that the temp has not changed much (+/-3 or 4 degrees max) at the same iso and shutter speed.
-The next day at dusk I replace the batteries, stretch a white t-shirt over the opening in my scope and take a (20-30) of flat frames with the scope pointed at about 90deg away from the sun (I hope this goes without saying, but DO NOT POINT YOUR SCOPE AT THE SUN WITHOUT A SOLAR FILTER - you will damage your camera). These basically allows DSS to account for vignetting and sensor dust. These have to be at the same iso, but at a shutter speed long enough to push the histogram about a third to a half way out from the left edge (usually well under a second if the sun is still above the horizon). These will be saved in the "Flats" folder.
- I then take a bunch(10-20) of bias frames (same iso, but the shortest shutter speed possible). These get saved in the "Bias" folder.
-If you have not rotated your camera, or done anything that my have removed or added dust to your camera since your last imaging session, you can reuse these flats and bias frames - that's what I do and have not have had a problem. When I used flats that I took with a different t-adapter, I get some weird vignetting.

Now on to processing:
-open DSS
-Click on add light frames
-Select all of the files in the "lights" folder
-Click on add dark frames
-Select all of the files in the "darks" folder
-Click on add flat frames
-Select all of the files in the "flats" folder
-Click on add Bias/dark flats frames
-Select all of the files in the "Bias" folder
-Click on "check all" on the left hand side
-Click on "register checked pictures"
-This will open a dialogue box
-The only thing I change on this is what % of light frames do I want to stack - I use 80%, but if all of your frames look good, adjust accordingly.
-I then click on the advanced tab, then adjust the slider so that DSS detects somewhere in the ball park of 50 or so stars. Use your judgement.
-I then click on the stacking parameters tab and will adjust the result tab to mosaic.
-I then click on the lights tab and select median kappa-sigma clipping (I don't know why I choose this one, but the DSS guide explains the difference.
-I click "Ok"
-I click "Ok"
-I surf over to cloudynights.com, or pentaxforums.com while my image stacks.
-When it is done, I will adjust the color sliders (usually only the middle triangle of each color) so that they overlap, and click the linked settings check box to move the colored histogram over to the steep part of the curve (more to the left side of the steep part than the right side).
-I will then click on the saturation tab and set it to about 15-17.
-I then click apply settings and let it do its magic.
-*This is not your final image, just a jumping of point* I usually aim for an image with a very bright back ground.
-I will now click "save picture to file" and save it to the same folder that my 4 sub folders are in with a descriptive name.
-I then open this file in Photoshop and adjust curves, levels, saturation, and contrast. I find numerous small swings are better than one or two big swings for any particular attribute. I recently purchased Noel Carboni's AstroActions which offers a number of useful astronomy related Photoshop actions.
-When I am happy, or feel like I am beginning to do more harm than good with a picture, I will save it as a JPEG, and a new TIF file, being sure that I can still access my original file as it came out of DSS.

I hope this helps and if anyone needs clarification on any of the steps, please let me know, I would be happy to help!
Mike
04-05-2012, 09:40 PM   #261
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My 2c worth on DSS. I don't use Photshop, rather PSE4 and PSE6. I have found I cannot open the autosave.tiff in PSE6 as it squawks I need PS CS2 to open HDR files even though DSS is set to save 16 bit TIFFs. After banging my head on this for a while, I found that if I "save picture to file", it gives me the option of saving in 16 or 32 bit TIFF or FIT files. I save to the desktop,usually, as a 16 bit TIFF which PSE6 can then open. Doing it this way seems to overcome the HDR issue.
I have just got a new laptop (8 Gb RAM, Win 7, Intel i7 CPU) and DSS just hums along. It takes about 4 mins to do a 20 frame PEF stack with 6 darks. My old Vista machine would have taken some 20 mins to do the same thing.
04-06-2012, 03:51 AM   #262
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Just received my solar filter today in the mail!


$15 + $1 shipping. Absolutely unbeatable! This was snapped a prime focus thru my 130mm Newt with a 25mm eyepiece. Not sure how all that math adds up but, you get the idea. The wind was terrible and I need more practice focusing. It was definitely a little more difficult than the Moon or stars. A few sunspots are noticeable, and of course the rest are clouds. Not bad for $15! Next, an Hα filter!
Here's a link, if I may post it here, to the website for the filter.
Draco Productions Baader Solar Filter Material
K-5, 1600 ISO, 1/80sec.
04-06-2012, 12:38 PM - 1 Like   #263
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QuoteOriginally posted by GWARmachine Quote
Just received my solar filter today in the mail!


$15 + $1 shipping. Absolutely unbeatable! This was snapped a prime focus thru my 130mm Newt with a 25mm eyepiece. Not sure how all that math adds up but, you get the idea. The wind was terrible and I need more practice focusing. It was definitely a little more difficult than the Moon or stars. A few sunspots are noticeable, and of course the rest are clouds. Not bad for $15!.
Good first effort. Keep practising as there is a Transit of Venus June 6. Next one will not be until well into next century.

04-06-2012, 02:10 PM   #264
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Just a photo I took the other day, I didn't keep in mind the rule of the 500, I just wanted to take a photo to see what I can get with the kit lens.

It's a simple photo, no stacking whatsoever, 18mm, 30 sec, ISO 1600. Haven't done anything in PP just export to JPEG.

Name:  IMGP2080.jpg
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I only took 6 images, 3 with the 43mm and 3 with the 18-55mm kit lens, it was freezing cold, the front window of the car was covered with ice :-)
04-06-2012, 02:31 PM   #265
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Nice I can see sagittarius and scorpius. Were you in the Canary Islands? If so you must have been up high to be that cold. What was your altitude?
A lot of color is visible in the stars.
Hank
04-06-2012, 02:44 PM   #266
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QuoteOriginally posted by oneeyedhawk Quote
Nice I can see sagittarius and scorpius. Were you in the Canary Islands? If so you must have been up high to be that cold. What was your altitude?
A lot of color is visible in the stars.
Hank
Observatorio Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma. What you see in the foreground is the Gran Telescopio de Canarias (GTC) a 10 meter telescope and in the back Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) a 3.5 meter one. I think it was like 2300mts, shot from one of the heliports, the highest point of the island is 2423mts do. I couldn't work that night because of the high humidity, when the weather got better there was the problem with the ice so no chance for opening the dome...

Last edited by fmerges; 04-06-2012 at 02:49 PM.
04-20-2012, 09:30 PM   #267
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Here is my most recent acquisition - M64, the black eye galaxy. It is a stack of 12, 6min light frames, darks, flats and biases tweaked in ps5.5. Comments welcome.
Mike

04-20-2012, 10:16 PM   #268
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QuoteOriginally posted by zambonikane Quote
Here is my most recent acquisition - M64, the black eye galaxy. It is a stack of 12, 6min light frames, darks, flats and biases tweaked in ps5.5. Comments welcome.
Mike
Image way too small for me. Hard to see anything. Sorry.
04-21-2012, 01:31 AM   #269
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QuoteOriginally posted by zambonikane Quote
Here is my most recent acquisition - M64, the black eye galaxy. It is a stack of 12, 6min light frames, darks, flats and biases tweaked in ps5.5. Comments welcome.
Mike
Looks great after I realized I needed to click on it. Ha! I just received my new setup...pictures coming soon. Orion ED80mm CFT. A real triplet apochromatic telescope. Now all I need are some CLEAR SKIES! ARGH THE IRONY!!! The day before I received it the skies were perfect...and now it's been terrible for three days.
04-21-2012, 04:05 AM   #270
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QuoteOriginally posted by GWARmachine Quote
Looks great after I realized I needed to click on it. Ha! I just received my new setup...pictures coming soon. Orion ED80mm CFT. A real triplet apochromatic telescope. Now all I need are some CLEAR SKIES! ARGH THE IRONY!!! The day before I received it the skies were perfect...and now it's been terrible for three days.
Welcome to the Dark Side.
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