|A normal night at Fredericksen Meadow.|
I casually threw out a comment to my friend Chris that I was thinking of a trip to the club's Antennas site to capture the data as he and I both live in advantageous locations for easy access to this dark sky site. However - and you knew there would be a 'however' - it's in the western part of Arizona in the low desert at the end of July. It is not uncommon for temperatures to sprint right past 110ºF early in the day and stay there until well after dark. My last time there - on March 31st - it hit 102ºF and it was blazing hot for such an early spring day. But I digress. Other club members told us we were crazy. I heard rumors that there was a collection taken up to have our heads examined. Since no one has approached us, I'll assume that nobody contributed.
|The 11" Edge HD and Hyperstar on a previous trip|
to the Antennas site.
To make a long story short, I constructed the mosaic and I was very happy with the result as shown above. My presentation itself didn't go as well as I'd hoped. I made the mistake (common with me) of trying to condense what was easily 45 minutes worth of material into ten. I was really pleased to show off how I'd processed the image in Photoshop and had a series of slides that walked through the process. The actual work in Photoshop went quite quickly so I put together a video-walkthrough of the steps that I took for some of my fellow club members who'd been asking me questions about my own workflow.
|NGC 7000 and IC 5070 Mosaic (North American & Pelican Nebulae)|
4 frame mosaic - 24 exposures - 2 minutes per sub exposure
Captured with a QHY8PRO CCD Camera
Celestron 1100HD Telescope with Hyperstar @ f/2 on a Celestron CGE Mount
It's just shy of 10 minutes a straight, unedited walkthrough that shows everything that was done in Photoshop to process the images after they were calibrated and stacked in Maxim DL. I've added the video here too for anyone that might get some benefit out of it. A couple of notes about the video:
- There is no audio track in the video. I simply hit record and did a walkthrough while Camtasia captured the screen for me.
- In the first step you'll see that I run an action against all 4 frames that isn't really shown. That action is simply a curve followed by four iterations of levels that adjust the gamma slider. I did this via action so that I could insure that all 4 frames were initially stretched with exactly the same settings. There is no hidden voodoo there - and the later iterations of levels are all done in the same way.
- Since I'm not sure how well this video is going to get mangled by the compression algorithms, Here is a link to a full Windows Media version. It's a 21MB file, so you may want to download it before attempting to watch it.
- The video does go through the steps pretty fast. The pause button is your friend if you're trying to follow along and try any of it yourself.