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M51 - Straight Down The Eye

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markt
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« on: December 21, 2010, 01:11:19 pm »

I've been practicing my processing skills using the back catalogue of data that's available from the Faulkes Telescope.  Here I looked at about 3 years worth of RGB data for M51 - running this through the FITS liberater application to stretch the luminosity data before saving as a TIFF file.  Then I let Deep Sky Stacker select the best files from this above a certain quality threshold before importing the separate master RGB files into SalsaJ to merge into a colour image.  This is then finally tweaked in Photoshop to maximise things aesthetically. 



There's alot going on in this galaxy!

Here's a 'raw' RGB file straight from the scope...



Quite a difference I think, and just shows what post processing is capable of!  I have a half hour slot booked on the scope tomorrow, and, weather permitting, plan to observe the asteroid/comet Scheila (596) that underwent an 'outburst' a week or so ago.  I can't find any fresh images of it since the 15th, so if the Gods are on my side I hope to right this.  I'll keep you posted as to whether I get anything (or not!).

Cheers!  Mark Smiley
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 01:13:28 pm by markt » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2010, 04:11:19 am »

Lovely job Mark! You're clearly very skilled when it comes to processing and you've brought out the likes of the dust lanes very well indeed without sacrificing detail at the brighter core by burning it out. The processing of astronomical images seems to become an ever steeper learning curve IMO as new software and processing techniques come to light. However the many astouding images that you routinely see on astronomy forums shows that the time & effort that many amateurs now put in to this extremely important step is worth every second!

Good luck with the comet. I think that you're wise using the Faulkes Telescope at the moment as opposed to risk damaging your own equipment by setting it up under such icy conditions.

Fingers crossed for you for tonight..............
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Remember:- If all else fails, read the Instruction Manual! Grin
 


Andy
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2010, 10:49:26 am »

Nice work Mark, sounds like a labour intensive operation.
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markt
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2010, 01:13:28 pm »

Thanks for the kind words Andy and Dave! 

I've managed to get post processing as one of those chores I can do whilst watching a film / tv, so while it can take a while I don't really notice it.  Sadly today it was cloudy at the Faulkes Telescope North in Hawaii, so no pics of Scheila i'm afraid.  Managed about 20 mins on Faulkes Telescope South in Australia, in between clouds, however the near full moon was not helpful!  Maybe I should have tried some narrowband imaging on reflection?  Next time I can get on the FT will be january now, though had an email from the team saying they are after people to do some imaging for the BBCs stargazing nights from 3-5 january, so I keep checking my inbox as once slots are available its a first come first served process.  I think i'll email them some of these post processed shots and see if I can get them featured...  Roll Eyes
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DaveH64
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2010, 01:24:35 pm »

Good luck with that Mark let us know how you get on.
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