Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Lagoon, Eagle, Trifid, and Omega Nebulas 8/12/2017

Last night, I had the honor of doing a public outreach stargazing event for Niches Land Trust. The location was a beautiful dark sky site about 20 minutes out of town.

I took my f/4 newt, ZEQ25 mount, and Mallincam 16C with me, plus my projector to show large, colorful images of DSOs to the attendees. The only issue was that the location demanded the use of a generator, which always makes me nervous!  However, my little 1800W genny did the job very well for about 3 hours until the event ended.

With a public event, being able to capture images quickly is paramount. The binning mode of the DS16C enables rapid capture of DSOs with good resolution. Below are some of the images I captured. These are all 10-second integrations and are stacks of 10-15 images (except for the Trifid, which is a stack of just 5 images). Gain--and hence noise and amp glow--was high (20), but the images were fine for public consumption. Apart from a couple of histogram adjustments, these images are pretty much as captured with no dark field subtraction to reduce noise or amp glow.

For comparison, I've included a straight, unprocessed, raw capture (the second image below). It is interesting as the single image seems to show more detail (albeit with more noise) than the stack!

As a bonus, we also got to see some very bright Perseids with a rate of about one per minute!

Lagoon Nebula

Here is the single 10-second integration as captured:

and here is an enhanced version run though Corel Paint Shop Pro:

Eagle Nebula

Omega Nebula

Trifid Nebula