Wednesday, 30 September 2020

NGC 281 3 Ways

NGC 281 3 Ways

 After a summer hiatus, I've got my astro mojo back.  In my last post, I showed off a series of images taken during a recent run of good weather.  Even though Autumn is well and truly here along with the wind and rain, I've been busy on other astro related projects by learning about more processes and techniques used in PixInsight.  
I've spent a few evenings looking around YouTube and other blog sites to see what other techniques people are using and look to introduce some of them into my own workflow.  The newest technique I've tried to introduce is splitting the raw stacked image into 3 RGB colour channels.  In theory, it allows me to work on the three channels individually, before re-combining them to form a colour image.  One day, I will put an example of my workflow in a post, but I need to improve it significantly first.
One of the easiest ways of comparing processing techniques is by starting each workflow with the same original data.  I chose NGC 281 which is a lovely nebula which sits comfortably in the frame of the Altair Hypercam 183c used in conjunction with the 80 ED-R telescope.
Onto the images.  This is the first image processed with my regular workflow for a straight forward OSC camera.

Now it's time to start playing.  To be honest, I can't remember all the different parts of the workflow I used for this next image.  What is certain is that there is still a load of noise and other work to include, but as an experimental image, it's pleasing to get some other colour out of the data, and play with contrast and saturation settings a bit more.  Remember, this is from exactly the same raw starting image as the one used to create the image above.

Recently, there has been a new update released for PixInsight.  It includes the StarNet++ tool which used to be a separate import.  Even though I haven't managed to get it to produce a really clean result yet, it still produces some interesting results.  I think it perhaps will work better on targets that don't have quite so many stars but this next image gives an idea of what it could do.

And there you have it.  It's always good to show some experimental images from time to time.  I wouldn't call either of these last two images anywhere near complete, but definitely encouraging signs of what could be achieved.  Happy days!

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