20/09/12: Imaging and processing review

September 20, 2012

It has been a busy couple of weeks on the imaging front with a number of clear nights on offer. I've decided that bi-colour imaging using H-alpha and Oxygen-III data is the way to go at the moment. Imaging vast nebulae is perfectly suited to my refractor and I feel that colour adds an additional layer of depth to H-alpha images. Going forward my plan will be to acquire O-III data for objects that I already have H-alpha data for from the last couple of years, and turn them into bi-colour images. Not only will this enhance my image portfolio, but also it will allow me more time to practice my image processing.

My first attempt at bi-colour imaging was with NGC 7000. Following instructions from a couple of fantastic imagers' websites (Steve Cannistra and Salvatore Grasso), I constructed what I thought was a bi-colour image. It turned out however that I had misunderstood the Photoshop steps and only colourised the H-alpha data! Whilst I think the result looked quite nice I realised what I had done wrong and had another go. This time I managed a decent bi-colour image with plenty of colour and contrast. Now I knew what I was doing I had a go at IC 5070, and another nice image was the result.

My latest image is a shot of the Elephant Trunk nebula in the constellation Cepheus. This feature is part of a much larger nebula complex which requires a shorter focal length scope and wider field to capture in totality. Obviously I hope to image the same object through the O-III filter to generate a bicolour image.

 



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