NGC 891 Edge-On Galaxy – Through Metro LP & Moonlight

NGC 891. 42x 5 min (42 x (10x30sec LiveStacks) w/SharpCap 3.2.) Televeu TV-85 @ F/5.6, UHC filter, QHY183c at -15C, Gain 42, Offset 42.

Here is an interesting experiment I did in shooting short, 10-sub x 30 sec “subs-stacks” with  LiveStacking in SmartCap 3.2 and stacking the stub-stacks in IRIS.  I used Fitsworks first to orient the 5 min stacks taken after the meridian flip with the first batch.   Final post-processing was done in PS.

I squeezed in two other shots this night – one of the moon and a test for guiding I did on Mirach.   The test involved changing the PHD2 camera selection to the Ascom Toupcam driver instead of the regular version I used that gave trouble in the last session.  That solved a problem with the camera dropping and losing connection.

Similar to NGC 981 above, I did twelve 10-sub stacks of Mirach for 5 minutes each for a grand total of 60 minutes of exposure:

Mirach and Mirach’s Ghost. 12×300 sec using 10×30 sub-stacks. TV-85 at F/5.6, UHC Filter, QHY183c @ -15C, Gain 42, Offset 42.

The moon was out and after shooting NGC 891, I captured it in a .SER movie with 100 frames.  I used 20 to make a still with the AutoStakkert software.   Here’s the result:

The Moon on Nov 16, 2019, early AM. Televue TV-85 at F/5.6, QHY183c, UHC filter.

Very clear conditions this night, but seeing was mediocre, with strong LP and moonlight interference.  Cold for Cajun country, too… it got down to mid-to-upper 30’s.  Brrr…


Two Images from Laptop Test and Guider Testing

Mirach and his Ghost.  140×30 sec, QHY183c, Gain 20, Offset 42, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6, UHC filter.
M81 & M82. 354×15 sec, QHY183c, Gain 42, Offset 42, Televue TV-85 at F/5.6, UHC filter.

I was testing a used i7 laptop for use with SharpCap 3.2 under a bright moon on Saturday night, Nov 9, 2019 and the session yielded two images so far from the data.  I was also testing a different guide camera.  I switched from the Orion StarShoot mono cam to my Rising Tech IMX224 color eyepiece cam.

I had mixed results in testing. It was promising at first, but after several hours, some instabilities with SharpCap and the guider cam means I still have work to do to debug some possible driver and compatibility issues.   Oh, well.  At least the new laptop seems to be able to stream the camera data better than the old Panasonic ToughBook I was using.

As far as the two images, the top one was the first object I imaged since I used it to do alignment and focusing .  I really wanted to see the “ghost” since I missed out getting it on Halloween.   It is a crop centered around the star and galaxy at 100% resolution.

The second one was in the muck and between the bright moonlight, the LP and the terrible seeing, I thought it would be hopeless, but I managed to pull out some data that at least shows some of the spiral structure of M81.   It is the full field of the camera.  The linked image is at 50% reduction from the full size, 20MP final image.

Pretty clear night but the seeing sucked bad.   The moon, which I did not shoot this night, was at 89%.   Normally, I would not shoot on a night like this, but I had some testing to do, which was a good enough reason to get out.

6 Minute Veil and the Moon

East Veil Nebula. 6×60 sec, QHY183c, Gain 25, Offset 31, -15C, UHC filter, TV-85 at F/5.6.
The Moon on Nov 5th, 2019. TV-85 at F/5.6, QHY183c, UHC filter, 200% enlargement.

I am amazed at how much signal is in just 6 minutes of sub-images for this new camera, QHYCCD’s QHY183c.  When you take the shot, there is really not much there  without significant stretching of the image.    But, since the noise is so low with this cam, it can be boosted beyond anything a DSLR image could keep up with.

Now, I did do quite a bit of noise reduction on the Veil image included here, but it had enough signal to preserve enough detail to make the image adequate for a display image.  I reduced it 50% to smooth it out more, but the original size is OK, too, just quite large to be downloading on a mobile phone.

Clouds were why the session was so short.  I was clouded out when it was in a prime position early on, then it went completely overcast at the end.  In between, I manged to get the 6 x 1 minute subs .   I gave up and tore down and stowed the rig after I couldn’t shoot anymore.   Almost as soon as I had put away the last piece of gear, I went back out and it was totally clear, just like when I had started setting up.   Sucker holes and I fall for them all the time.   lol

I was actually just testing some tweaks to my laptop I did hoping that they would improve performance.  I added memory and updated a few drivers. Stability was vastly improved, but the speed of the machine lacked.   I could not do a, “live,” shot of the moon at the lower exposure needed.   It would not stream with the exposure less than 350ms.  Too many frames per second for it to keep up with, I guess.    Means I need another field laptop.   🙁

Orion Nebula and The Crab

M1, The Crab Nebula. 100×30 sec, QHY183c on TV-85 at F/5.6, UHC filter. Gain 25, Offset 31, -23C.
M42, The Orion Nebula. 100×30 sec 15×120 sec and 4×4 sec for the core. QHY183c and TV-85 at F/5.6. Gain 20, Offset 31, -15C.
Lighter Version of M42, The Orion Nebula. 100×30 sec 15×120 sec and 4×4 sec for the core. QHY183c and TV-85 at F/5.6. Gain 20, Offset 31, -15C.

I started this session at midnight on Sat/Sun, Nov 2nd/3rd, 2019.  It was cloudy, but the forecast said it would eventually clear.   I went to bed early and woke up at midnight and checked and sure enough, it was clear.   I managed to get these two objects plus some other stuff that I haven’t had time to mess with.

The seeing was horrible when I shot the Crab and it shows.   I decided to take that data and combine it with previous efforts to see how it would look.    The image below is the result of 3 different sessions, 3 different cameras and 2 telescopes.   Check it out:

The Crab Nebula – Combined Data from a DSLR, Sony IMX224 eyepiece cam and a QHY183c astro-camera.

Test of Canon 200mm F/2.8 Telephoto with QHY183c Camera

M45, The Pleiades. 56×30 sec, QHY183c, Gain 20, Offset 31, -15C, Canon 200mm F/2.8.
The North American Nebula. 167×30 sec, QHY183c, Gain 2, Offset 31, -15C, Canon 200mm F/2.8.
The Horse Head Nebula Region. 8×120 sec, QHY183c, UHC Filter, Gain 20, Offset 31, -23C, Canon 200mm F/2.8.

I bought the adapters needed to mate my new QHY183c camera to my Canon lenses.   I tried it out with the 200mm F/2.8 telephoto.   No way to control the F-stop diaphragm, since it needs a Canon camera to do that, so I had to shoot with it wide open.  BTW, this was from the light polluted metro area I’ve been shooting from lately.

Since this is one of the cheaper lines of Canon lenses, it suffers from optical imperfections like astigmatism.   That makes the red focus to a line up and down and blue and green focus to a line left to right.   It really messes up the star shapes and there is no way to fix it except to stop the lens down to F/3.5 or higher.   Oh, well…

Images of Comets, Nebulae, Galaxies and Star Clusters