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02-28-2014, 01:53 PM   #736
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QuoteOriginally posted by smigol Quote
I've been working on a project for a little while, adding data over a few sessions under the sky. Four different nights went into the stack, giving just about 10 hours and 42 minutes of integration.









Still using my modified and cooled Pentax K10D with my trusty Stellarvue SV4 telescope. I'm still learning better ways to handle the parts and I'm on a long quest to eliminate off-axis flare. I've been flocking the scope and my next step is to design and cut an optimized petal-style hood to keep bright stars from robbing contrast.



It's now galaxy season and if I can get out between the few rain clouds, I'll work on the Virgo cluster.

Wonderful!!

Such a reward for your efforts

03-01-2014, 08:55 AM - 1 Like   #737
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New Flickr Group: Pentax DSLR Astrophotography

Hello everyone.

I'd like to see Pentax DSLRs get more "exposure" (pardon the pun) as the great AP cameras that they are. A lot of people (like me) search Flickr to check out the performance of cameras and lenses and (astrophotographers check out the AP). So I've created a new group that is JUST for AP created with Pentax DSLRs (the lens or scope is irrelevant to being included). I hope that you will join if you are even INTERESTED in AP, and if you have AP images (such as are shared here) I hope you will ALSO post them to the group.

I know some people hate the Flickr interface. If so, try downloading and installing a different browser and seeing how it performs. If you are using an older version of Internet Explorer, you are more likely to experience display/performance issues on many of today's web sites.

This Flickr Group is not meant to supplant this forum in any way, but to provide ANOTHER avenue for interested people to find Pentax cameras and how useful they are in AP. In fact, we can "cross-pollinate" and promote this forum from Flickr. Please join us (well, actually, join ME as I type this... as I am the founding member.)

Flickr: The Pentax DSLR Astrophotography Pool

Darren Addy
Kearney, Nebraska
03-01-2014, 02:36 PM   #738
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QuoteOriginally posted by cheekygeek Quote
Hello everyone.



I'd like to see Pentax DSLRs get more "exposure" (pardon the pun) as the great AP cameras that they are. A lot of people (like me) search Flickr to check out the performance of cameras and lenses and (astrophotographers check out the AP). So I've created a new group that is JUST for AP created with Pentax DSLRs (the lens or scope is irrelevant to being included). I hope that you will join if you are even INTERESTED in AP, and if you have AP images (such as are shared here) I hope you will ALSO post them to the group.



I know some people hate the Flickr interface. If so, try downloading and installing a different browser and seeing how it performs. If you are using an older version of Internet Explorer, you are more likely to experience display/performance issues on many of today's web sites.



This Flickr Group is not meant to supplant this forum in any way, but to provide ANOTHER avenue for interested people to find Pentax cameras and how useful they are in AP. In fact, we can "cross-pollinate" and promote this forum from Flickr. Please join us (well, actually, join ME as I type this... as I am the founding member.)



Flickr: The Pentax DSLR Astrophotography Pool



Darren Addy

Kearney, Nebraska

Great! Joined (and added a few of my attempts)
03-02-2014, 02:34 PM   #739
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Guys, I came across this thread on SGL that I found particular well on AP basics for new guys like myself. I mean there are lots, TONS of posts like this on most forums, including here but the thread just struck as me as very helpful to the newbie:
Help please. Need advise on taking pictures of orion nebula - Getting Started With Imaging - Stargazers Lounge

I'm counting the days until I get my hands on my skytracker! and I'm pretty certain I'm going to go with Corel PaintShopPro X5 for PP needs. Anyone wanna talk me out of it?

03-02-2014, 11:32 PM   #740
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QuoteOriginally posted by Iksobarg Quote
...and I'm pretty certain I'm going to go with Corel PaintShopPro X5 for PP needs. Anyone wanna talk me out of it?
For my astrophotos, I use these software packages to get it done:

Maxim DL: for autoguiding and calibration - costs a lot of money but is the only software that I've found that actually works for calibrating my amp-glow-ridden K10D.
Deep Sky Stacker: free! should also work for calibrating cameras that don't have amp glow
PixInsight: Also costs some money and is challenging to learn, but is very powerful for working on astronomy pictures.
Lightroom: For publishing

If you went fully free, you could probably do it all in DSS and GIMP.
03-02-2014, 11:44 PM   #741
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Take a look at what Stephen (smigol) can do with a K10D and then get out there with your camera and experiment. With my K-3, I use the following software: DeepSkyStacker to process the stack and export the tiff bitmap, darktable for post-processing of levels, tone curve, etc., and fotoxx if I will be doing a mono/inverted image since it is uber easy with this underrated program. All of these programs are free/open source for my linux box. Note that Stephen and I use different strategies since he does long exposure stacks whereas I do short exposures. I cannot image the low surface brightness objects that he does since these generally require individual frames with long exposures and/or filters.

Jack
03-03-2014, 12:48 AM - 1 Like   #742
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
Take a look at what Stephen (smigol) can do with a K10D and then get out there with your camera and experiment. With my K-3, I use the following software: DeepSkyStacker to process the stack and export the tiff bitmap, darktable for post-processing of levels, tone curve, etc., and fotoxx if I will be doing a mono/inverted image since it is uber easy with this underrated program. All of these programs are free/open source for my linux box. Note that Stephen and I use different strategies since he does long exposure stacks whereas I do short exposures. I cannot image the low surface brightness objects that he does since these generally require individual frames with long exposures and/or filters.

Jack
The main reason why I use such long exposures for my shots is because the K10D has bad amp glow. This seems counter-intuitive. By experimenting with calibration styles, I've found that by using ISO 100 and longer durations vs a higher ISO setting and shorter durations, I avoid the saturation levels of the glow which makes it much easier to remove later.

Of course, camera temperature matters as well - which is why I use active cooling on the camera. I use a peltier device with a copper finger going into the camera body to assist with bringing the temperature down. The effectiveness is significant in the summer, not as noticeable in the winter.

With using filters or getting under darker skies, I can push the camera without blowing out the data with skyglow. My local dark sky site supports 1200 second duration subs at F6.5 with no problem. It could go deeper, but would have to make a new library of darks for calibration. At home, the story is different as 1200 seconds is too long by 1/3 depending on the conditions.

The choice of duration is also a compromise based on the mount I use, too. I've fine-tuned it pretty well now and could go longer, but to do that requires another leap in getting better polar alignment. I have to push hard to get under 1 arc minute. The effort of getting less error is not worth a single night under the stars.

While I'd like to play with a more modern camera, I'm too cheap to buy newer just to hack it up for astro work. Maybe when my K10D dies...

Last edited by smigol; 03-03-2014 at 12:49 AM. Reason: added url
03-03-2014, 01:06 PM   #743
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Thanks very much for the input, guys.
Ok, I'm going to be "processing" Stephen's AP process for a while. It's a bit rich for me but I'll get through it someday. Til then I am looking to get Cygwin running so I use DT myself. I didn't know was so inept at PCs until I encountered linux and the like.

I lost interest in gimp over it's 8bit limit and the 16 bit version (2.9/3.0?) doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon. Any ideas on why it's not out yet? (Adobe paying them under the table to not go there? maybe?)

I've gathered data from at least seven or eight targets in the past two months. It's either Corel or Darktable. I read about Stephen's article on calibration but have no idea how that process would apply to my K30.

Sharing here again: A gent named Jim Ferreira's site: Small Aperture CCD Astrophotography - Jim Ferreira
I have to say I don't understand why he calls it "small aperture" when those scope are F6 and 7s and such.
He must be on the forums somewhere. Anyone here know him?
I dropped him a friendly email commenting on his images and kit.

03-03-2014, 03:57 PM   #744
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QuoteOriginally posted by Iksobarg Quote
I have to say I don't understand why he calls it "small aperture" when those scope are F6 and 7s and such.
Refractors he is using are "slow" compared to "light-bucket" reflectors and such.
03-03-2014, 07:33 PM   #745
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Yes, Stephen, sensors have improved since the K10D was king. My K-3 has no amp glow to speak of and very little dark read noise. Both are pluses for ap work.

Jack
03-03-2014, 10:51 PM   #746
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
Yes, Stephen, sensors have improved since the K10D was king. My K-3 has no amp glow to speak of and very little dark read noise. Both are pluses for ap work.

Jack
It's just a budget thing now. If I were to upgrade, I'd have to commit to two bodies: one for Astro (plus the cost to convert) and one for everyday. Currently, I'm having too much fun with the K10D (and film).
03-06-2014, 12:02 PM   #747
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Ghost of Cassiopeia (IC 63 and IC 59)

Getting back to working on older data, here is an image that started in October 2013 at Calstar. Managing a data storage space issue was the main reason why I didn't work on this image earlier. Also, I was expecting to gather more data, which I haven't yet.

Here is a view around the bright star Navi (Gamma Cassiopeia) that shows the nebulosity and dark lanes near the star. The nebula glows in both emitted and reflected light, making it an interesting target.




Also on Astrobin

Standard digital setup for this image:
Modified and cooled Pentax K10D with Stellarvue SV4 scope.
10 sub exposures of 1200 seconds each for 3 hours and 20 minutes of integration
03-06-2014, 12:14 PM   #748
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QuoteOriginally posted by smigol Quote
Getting back to working on older data, here is an image that started in October 2013 at Calstar. Managing a data storage space issue was the main reason why I didn't work on this image earlier. Also, I was expecting to gather more data, which I haven't yet.

Here is a view around the bright star Navi (Gamma Cassiopeia) that shows the nebulosity and dark lanes near the star. The nebula glows in both emitted and reflected light, making it an interesting target.




Also on Astrobin

Standard digital setup for this image:
Modified and cooled Pentax K10D with Stellarvue SV4 scope.
10 sub exposures of 1200 seconds each for 3 hours and 20 minutes of integration

Someone buy this man a K-3! Awesome shots!
03-06-2014, 02:08 PM   #749
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QuoteOriginally posted by ironlionzion Quote
Someone buy this man a K-3! Awesome shots!
NO! It is so reassuring to see what an older 10 Mpx CCD can do in the right man's hands!!!

Awesome indeed.
03-06-2014, 04:05 PM   #750
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QuoteOriginally posted by ironlionzion Quote
Someone buy this man a K-3! Awesome shots!
+1.
I am lucky to get 12 second exposures before LP gets out of hand. I can`t even start to comprehend 1200 sec.
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