Sunday, March 14, 2010

M81 & M82

Okay, so this is my first attempt at M81 and M82 using long exposures and guiding. The post-processing is rough, and I tweaked with it for HOURS. Still not happy with the result. I think the problems with this photo are:

  1. Not in focus. I should have slowed down on Friday night and "focused" on "focusing"! ;-) As a result, it's not as sharp as it could be by a long shot.
  2. Stars are too bright and "burned out" in my opinion. But I couldn't decrease star brightness without decreasing the nebulosity of the galaxies. Very annoying.
  3. There is still a digital feel to this image. I'm trying to get a nice, glossy image and seem to be far from that. Not sure how to do that.

Having said that, it's a vast improvement on my attempt from last year and definitely a step in the right direction. You can clearly see the spiral arms of the main galaxy and there's some nice color there too.

Image Details:
  • Imaging Scope: AstroTelescopes 80mm ED Refractor
  • Imaging Camera: Nikon D40
  • Guiding Scope: William Optics 66mm Petzval Refractor
  • Guiding Camera: Meade DSI-C
  • Mount: Celestron CGEM
  • Exposure Time: 1 hr 20 mins (8 * 10-minute exposures)
  • ISO400
  • Aligned and Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
  • Post-processing in GIMP
  • Noise reduction in NeatImage

3 comments:

Johany said...

These are beautiful pictures Phil! They're so crisp and clear! Absolutely beautiful!

Sidewalk Universe said...

Good pic here Phil as you captured this intrepid pair in there glory!

Phil said...

Thanks a lot, guys!!! I really appreciate the positive feedback. I was happy to get this result with my new gear and am looking forward to tackling other types of objects over the coming months.

Clear skies!