Hello, and welcome to Deep Sky Workflows! I picked this name because most of my images are deep sky objects (DSO) and I wanted a place to post what I learn as I gain experience with astrophotography and image-processing or workflows.
On this site, you can:
- Read the blog
- View my astrophotography gallery
- Watch a web-based astrophotography slide show
- Check out my progress photographing the entire Messier catalog
You can also visit related websites:
It’s great to have a place to share my deep sky explorations and astrophotography journey with you. In the beginning of 2021, I purchased an observation station named Stellina. It is a fully automated system for capturing deep sky images. What intrigued me about the unit was the claim that it could handle light polluted areas and the ease of setup. I took a chance, purchased the scope and have not been disappointed.
Stellina pointed at the stars
My first observation was the popular M42 Orion Nebula. It is a bright nebula, so it photographs quite easily. Despite shooting from a deck next to a street lamp over the glow of downtown Monroe, WA, Stellina still pulled off an amazing image.
M42 Orion Nebula
I quickly learned that the images are produced by stacking. Multiple 10-second exposures are combined to create the result. The average of the images helps reduce noise and increase signal. Some images like this picture of the bright star Arcturus only need a few subframes (referred to as “subs”).
Other images, like the elusive Triangulum Galaxy, require far more subframes to draw out the detail. I learned I can pull the subframes from the telescope using a thumb drive and process them on my computer. That allows me to combine data from multiple observations (even different nights of the year) to produce a final result. This image was combined from 1,200 subframes for a total exposure time of over three hours!
Eventually, I purchased additional hardware and pieced together my own system. This is an image taken by a Celestron EdgeHD 9.25" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope using a dedicated one shot color astrophotography camera called the ZWO ASI294MC Pro.
M33 Triangulum Galaxy
Running Man Nebula
There are many tips and techniques involved with processing images and I’ll share them in this blog.
That’s it for the introduction. I’ll keep it short and sweet for now, and I look forward to sharing more!
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