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M42 Progression


Perkil8r
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Thought I would start a new thread for my continued work on M42. Previously I had 10 x 5 secs, 10 x 15 secs and 10 x 20 secs. Today I have added 12 x 20 secs and 3 x 30 secs (all I could get in after the clouds went and before SWMBO arrived with KFC.) All taken with modded 350D at ISO 400 with SW 200p, Stacked in DSS and Processed with PS Cs5 Extended. Best 90% for now.

Bgining to get a bit more detail now. Still need to work on my processing though.

I intend to update this thread with progress as I get any. All pics are stacked from various days (2 at present) unguided but tracked with RA drive only.

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Thanks for the words of encouragement, it certainly helps to know that I'm headed in the right direction.

A mask thing Bahemoth or whatever is required I think as focusing is the biggest time killer for me. Certainly starting to get there now I think, although I must admit the pics from tonight appear to have more blue than the previous lot. I might do a stack of just tonights so I can compare the two evenings. I believe the seeing was alot better tonight untill the clouds started coming in.

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Data collected 20/03/12 stacked on it's own. I think this proves that the data from tonight is better than from the 12th as I feel it has more depth etc than the whole stack. I'll let you decide. Very minimal processing was required!

12 x 20 secs and 3 x 30 secs @ 400 ISO darks and bias from archive.

Edited by Perkil8r
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I think if I can get some more good quality data I may well ditch the earlier stuff. Do you agree the earlier data is dragging tonights down?

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Added another 9 subs, 30 secs @ 400 ISO. 25/03/12 and removed the previous data, so now starting with the 20/03/12. I have decided to ditch the previous stuff all together, I think it is begining to come together now.

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Thanks Felix ;) So far now, I'm at 12 x 20 sec and 12 x 30 sec best 90%. Hopefully get some more data tonight as the forcast is good again. Last night I was restricted due to other commitments, I only got the 9 subs in before a chiminey stopped play :lol: just started to creep into the frame lol.

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Would adding shorter exposures help tighten the trapezium? When focusing I'm using a short exp to capture the stars for checking and they are pin sharp, but in the longer exp they are "growing", I kind of assume that shorter exp would show better definition on the stars, but does it actually work like that once stacked or would it make no difference?

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Big thanks to Craig who supplied a link to a program to recover my lost RAW files from last night. Now added a further 43 subs of 30 secs @ 400 ISO and 2 subs of 20 secs @ 800 ISO. Really begining to get some detail. I am really quite pleased as M42 sits directly above the city LP, I don't have any filters and I've only been turning to the dark side for a few weeks. Any advice greatly recieved.... Another session tonight hopefully. Still stacking at 90%, hopefully as I add more I will reduce the % which I assume will improve the quality.

Any advice on processing also greatly appreciated as I am not sure if I am doing it justice.

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I think this as far as I can get with what I have so far. I intend starting on 800 ISO frames next.

So far I have: 20 x 2.5 sec, 10 x 5 sec, 10 x 10 sec, 12 x 20 sec, 105 x 30 sec all at 400 ISO plus 2 x 20 sec at 800. Taken over the 20th, 25th, 26th and 27th March, stacked and aligned in DSS with a good few darks and a bias. Cropped and tweaked in Photoshop Cs5.

Not sure if my processing is too harsh or not? I have tried with different curves which do show more of the detail but that washes out the core. I intend having a play with masking etc to try and bring the detail up and patch the core back in.

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I intend to yes. I'm sure I can get better detail yet. I think I might be over doing the processing in an attempt to gain colour rather than detail. I'm going to have another play and see what I can dig out of it as is. I may have to wait untill winter now to add more data as it's getting a narrow time slot from my location. Unless of course I get myself out to somewhere darker and with better aspects.

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I'm looking straight out over the city on M42 at this time of year, so that might not be helping much TBH. I don't have any filters at all lol

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Had another few attempts at processing what I have so far. I think this is a more "realistic" processing of it. I still have to play about with blowing the middle and masking to bring detail back in, but for a single stack I consider this is getting there now. Still getting the contour effect coming through, but not as bad as it was. I need to figure that problem out, but for now I am happy I think.

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