My very first attempts at astrophotography
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27-10-2013, 02:25 PM (This post was last modified: 27-10-2013 02:33 PM by Logisch.)
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
Since it's obvious that this thread risks going off topic I would like to clarify a few things.

- I really don't care if you're a theist or atheist. Seriously, I don't. If you think they're beautiful pictures, great. That's fine. People can see beauty in different ways in the same pictures. Pictures are fun to look at, and they affect people in various ways, I get that. With this lack of caring on your stance on things, let's just drop the debate and we can all admire the universe. If you enjoy them for what they are, great. If you see a god in it, whatever, that's fine too.
- I don't want this to become a debate thread. I post these because it's a hobby I sincerely enjoy. I sincerely enjoy sharing it with others. I think it's beautiful, and to actually look at it with your own eyes through your own telescope is truly a wonderful experience. I enjoy sharing that with people, regardless of whether or not you believe in a deity. I give no fucks there, if you like it, that's awesome.
- It takes a lot of time in exposures and image processing to do these (sometimes hours) for even one photo, please be mindful of that. I'm not a professional astrophotographer, I do this by hobby, by choice. I choose to go outside and spend my time with this. I'm simply sharing the hobby, but still, try not to be a dick. Don't waste my time and I won't waste yours.
- If you want to debate whether the universe is beautiful because of a lack of creator or a creator, feel free to do so in a separate thread. If you're derailing this thread, you're wasting my time. If necessary, I'll ask a mod to split the topic from the point of derail, because it sincerely pisses me off which is hard to do. But when people waste my time, it genuinely pisses me off.

We Cool?

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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27-10-2013, 02:38 PM
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
(27-10-2013 02:25 PM)Logisch Wrote:  Since it's obvious that this thread risks going off topic I would like to clarify a few things.

- I really don't care if you're a theist or atheist. Seriously, I don't. If you think they're beautiful pictures, great. That's fine. People can see beauty in different ways in the same pictures. Pictures are fun to look at, and they affect people in various ways, I get that. With this lack of caring on your stance on things, let's just drop the debate and we can all admire the universe. If you enjoy them for what they are, great. If you see a god in it, whatever, that's fine too.
- I don't want this to become a debate thread. I post these because it's a hobby I sincerely enjoy. I sincerely enjoy sharing it with others. I think it's beautiful, and to actually look at it with your own eyes through your own telescope is truly a wonderful experience. I enjoy sharing that with people, regardless of whether or not you believe in a deity. I give no fucks there, if you like it, that's awesome.
- It takes a lot of time in exposures and image processing to do these (sometimes hours) for even one photo, please be mindful of that. I'm not a professional astrophotographer, I do this by hobby, by choice. I choose to go outside and spend my time with this. I'm simply sharing the hobby, but still, try not to be a dick. Don't waste my time and I won't waste yours.
- If you want to debate whether the universe is beautiful because of a lack of creator or a creator, feel free to do so in a separate thread. If you're derailing this thread, you're wasting my time. If necessary, I'll ask a mod to split the topic from the point of derail, because it sincerely pisses me off which is hard to do. But when people waste my time, it genuinely pisses me off.

We Cool?

I was gonna say all that, but I needed to go...

Oh well. I was just not gonna respond to any new provocations Thumbsup
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27-10-2013, 02:39 PM
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
(27-10-2013 02:38 PM)The_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  
(27-10-2013 02:25 PM)Logisch Wrote:  Since it's obvious that this thread risks going off topic I would like to clarify a few things.

- I really don't care if you're a theist or atheist. Seriously, I don't. If you think they're beautiful pictures, great. That's fine. People can see beauty in different ways in the same pictures. Pictures are fun to look at, and they affect people in various ways, I get that. With this lack of caring on your stance on things, let's just drop the debate and we can all admire the universe. If you enjoy them for what they are, great. If you see a god in it, whatever, that's fine too.
- I don't want this to become a debate thread. I post these because it's a hobby I sincerely enjoy. I sincerely enjoy sharing it with others. I think it's beautiful, and to actually look at it with your own eyes through your own telescope is truly a wonderful experience. I enjoy sharing that with people, regardless of whether or not you believe in a deity. I give no fucks there, if you like it, that's awesome.
- It takes a lot of time in exposures and image processing to do these (sometimes hours) for even one photo, please be mindful of that. I'm not a professional astrophotographer, I do this by hobby, by choice. I choose to go outside and spend my time with this. I'm simply sharing the hobby, but still, try not to be a dick. Don't waste my time and I won't waste yours.
- If you want to debate whether the universe is beautiful because of a lack of creator or a creator, feel free to do so in a separate thread. If you're derailing this thread, you're wasting my time. If necessary, I'll ask a mod to split the topic from the point of derail, because it sincerely pisses me off which is hard to do. But when people waste my time, it genuinely pisses me off.

We Cool?

I was gonna say all that, but I needed to go...

Oh well. I was just not gonna respond to any new provocations Thumbsup

I think it might make a very fun debate topic. If you wish, feel free to start a new thread. You can use some of the pictures for it if you wish even if it helps spark some inspiration for a point of debate.

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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27-10-2013, 02:42 PM
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
(27-10-2013 02:39 PM)Logisch Wrote:  
(27-10-2013 02:38 PM)The_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  I was gonna say all that, but I needed to go...

Oh well. I was just not gonna respond to any new provocations Thumbsup

I think it might make a very fun debate topic. If you wish, feel free to start a new thread. You can use some of the pictures for it if you wish even if it helps spark some inspiration for a point of debate.

(This is the last I'll say of it, we are unintentionally putting it off topic again)

I already have a Q&A thread so people don't necro threads that I post and disagree on. It's quite an interesting thread, you should read through it some time.
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27-10-2013, 02:50 PM
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
So how did you take the pictures? Did you simply point a camera into your lens or what? Which type of telescope did you use? Can you look at the moon anytime or at specific time/places?
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27-10-2013, 02:52 PM
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
(27-10-2013 02:25 PM)Logisch Wrote:  Since it's obvious that this thread risks going off topic I would like to clarify a few things.

- I really don't care if you're a theist or atheist. Seriously, I don't. If you think they're beautiful pictures, great. That's fine. People can see beauty in different ways in the same pictures. Pictures are fun to look at, and they affect people in various ways, I get that. With this lack of caring on your stance on things, let's just drop the debate and we can all admire the universe. If you enjoy them for what they are, great. If you see a god in it, whatever, that's fine too.
- I don't want this to become a debate thread. I post these because it's a hobby I sincerely enjoy. I sincerely enjoy sharing it with others. I think it's beautiful, and to actually look at it with your own eyes through your own telescope is truly a wonderful experience. I enjoy sharing that with people, regardless of whether or not you believe in a deity. I give no fucks there, if you like it, that's awesome.
- It takes a lot of time in exposures and image processing to do these (sometimes hours) for even one photo, please be mindful of that. I'm not a professional astrophotographer, I do this by hobby, by choice. I choose to go outside and spend my time with this. I'm simply sharing the hobby, but still, try not to be a dick. Don't waste my time and I won't waste yours.
- If you want to debate whether the universe is beautiful because of a lack of creator or a creator, feel free to do so in a separate thread. If you're derailing this thread, you're wasting my time. If necessary, I'll ask a mod to split the topic from the point of derail, because it sincerely pisses me off which is hard to do. But when people waste my time, it genuinely pisses me off.

We Cool?

Sorry Sad
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27-10-2013, 03:02 PM
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
(27-10-2013 02:52 PM)LostandInsecure Wrote:  
(27-10-2013 02:25 PM)Logisch Wrote:  Since it's obvious that this thread risks going off topic I would like to clarify a few things.

- I really don't care if you're a theist or atheist. Seriously, I don't. If you think they're beautiful pictures, great. That's fine. People can see beauty in different ways in the same pictures. Pictures are fun to look at, and they affect people in various ways, I get that. With this lack of caring on your stance on things, let's just drop the debate and we can all admire the universe. If you enjoy them for what they are, great. If you see a god in it, whatever, that's fine too.
- I don't want this to become a debate thread. I post these because it's a hobby I sincerely enjoy. I sincerely enjoy sharing it with others. I think it's beautiful, and to actually look at it with your own eyes through your own telescope is truly a wonderful experience. I enjoy sharing that with people, regardless of whether or not you believe in a deity. I give no fucks there, if you like it, that's awesome.
- It takes a lot of time in exposures and image processing to do these (sometimes hours) for even one photo, please be mindful of that. I'm not a professional astrophotographer, I do this by hobby, by choice. I choose to go outside and spend my time with this. I'm simply sharing the hobby, but still, try not to be a dick. Don't waste my time and I won't waste yours.
- If you want to debate whether the universe is beautiful because of a lack of creator or a creator, feel free to do so in a separate thread. If you're derailing this thread, you're wasting my time. If necessary, I'll ask a mod to split the topic from the point of derail, because it sincerely pisses me off which is hard to do. But when people waste my time, it genuinely pisses me off.

We Cool?

Sorry Sad

You're fine, this is not directed at any one person. I want to make it very clear that I intend no hard feelings towards anyone in this thread Smile It's fine. I can tend to be a bit brash in the way I come across things sometimes, if it came across that way I apologize.

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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27-10-2013, 03:16 PM (This post was last modified: 27-10-2013 03:30 PM by Logisch.)
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
(27-10-2013 02:50 PM)The_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  So how did you take the pictures? Did you simply point a camera into your lens or what? Which type of telescope did you use? Can you look at the moon anytime or at specific time/places?

To clarify:

Depends on the photo. I'll cover a few of the basics.

Planetary and lunar objects
The moon is ridiculously bright, so it takes very few exposures to come up with a decent moon shot. Almost all of mine are one single shot. The way the equipment is hooked up is known as "prime focus" meaning the camera itself uses no lenses. It is attached to an adapter which fits directly to the telescope itself. The telescope in essence becomes the lense for the camera.

At this point, the focus is done through the telescope. Most lunar photos are taken at an extremely short duration (say an ISO or 400 or 800 and a 1/400 time).

Planetary objects are different. Things like jupiter can't really be done in one shot, at least not with my setup. So you end up needing to take video of it or many shots in a short succession with the best focus possible. Then you do what is known as "stacking" - using some imaging software (I use registax for lunar/planetar and DSS for nebula and deep space objects) it aligns all photos and then makes them into one photo. Sometimes you get lucky and one session goes right, other times you end up with no pictures worth decent stacking data, other times there's drift and some work out... sometimes it takes multiple stacking sessions to get it just right.

The end result is sort of like "filling in the dots" - think of it this way... if you have a resolution on a camera of say 4000x3000, each pixel is computer data of some kind. It holds a value. If you take a picture of an object at a focus and exposure time, you'll fill in data with the detail of said object. But keep in mind, no one single picture is "perfect" and maybe some of the data is unclear or missing. However, if you had say 20 or 30 or more of the same picture, it's safe to say that those parts of data will be filled in better on some pictures than other.

The principle idea is in essence that in stacking enough photos, you eventually fill in the missing data and are left with a composite picture of one good photo.


Deep space objects
Most of what I've been doing lately is deep space objects. They are a bit more tricky because unlike planetary stuff, you can't usually see that it's actually there in the sky. So you have to rely on your skills of understanding astronomy and constellations, or "waypoints" in the sky so to speak. More importantly, you need a tracking mount. You set it to polar north and it tracks the object in the sky. Although setting a polar alignment is a pain for me because I do it through my camera, not through a nifty scope.

For instance, andromeda can barely be seen through the telescope. It shows up literally as what a lot of us call "big fuzzies"... so if you can find a big blur in the lense, you know you've found it.

So then comes the fun part, trying to actually focus a deep space object. I'm using a Canon T1i with what's known as a "baader glass modification" which the tl;dr version is "rip out stock glass filter, install new glass filter that allows h-alpha color spectrum"... It has an LCD that allows a 10x zoom, so I will try and find a somewhat nearby star, get it in the LCD and focus it till it is crisp and not blurring. I'll then focus it back on the object I want, take a picture, see if it's acceptable. If not, I repeat the procedure.

Once you've finally focused what you want, you need to figure out just how bright it is. Something like andromeda has a very bright core (and in mine on page 3, the core is somewhat blown out). In a perfect ideal stack, I should have either taken tons of the same exposure times of short exposures, or lots of longer exposures. What you're left with are what appear to be lots of pictures of faint, albeit focused pictures of fuzzy objects.

Something like Orion is more fun because you can take one single photo of the Orion nebula and it's clear as a bell on your LCD.

The next thing that's required is again stacking all the photos. So something like andromeda you take the same picture over and over. That may sound boring to some, but I enjoy it. You go back, check the last frame, make sure nothing changed, and keep taking photos, checking in every so often. When you have enough photos you think you have all the data for, you need to use a method of subtraction. Programs like DSS require you to take "darks" and "bias" frames. No camera is perfect, so the idea here is you take several "darks" which are literally taking photos with the lense cap on for the same duration you take the other photos with. Then you take 10-15 photos with the lense cap off the fastest your camera will go.

Once you've got dark and bias frames, the program calculates dead pixels and hot pixels on the camera that would make an "imperfect picture" and corrects them and compares them against the "light photos" (which are the actual photos of the object you took).

For a photo like andromeda, I used 5 darks, 15 bias frames and somewhere in the ballpark of 50-70 lights if I recall. It aligns them, stacks them, fills in the detail.

The final processing to a photo is to use something like photoshop so that you can actually pull detail from it by correcting the pixel values (My camera has the baader filter, so everything is inherently red on it and not true colors) and then lastly changing the brightness as stacked photos show up in a simple RGB format.

The result is what you see.

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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27-10-2013, 03:37 PM
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
(27-10-2013 03:16 PM)Logisch Wrote:  
(27-10-2013 02:50 PM)The_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  So how did you take the pictures? Did you simply point a camera into your lens or what? Which type of telescope did you use? Can you look at the moon anytime or at specific time/places?

To clarify:

Depends on the photo. I'll cover a few of the basics.

Planetary and lunar objects
The moon is ridiculously bright, so it takes very few exposures to come up with a decent moon shot. Almost all of mine are one single shot. The way the equipment is hooked up is known as "prime focus" meaning the camera itself uses no lenses. It is attached to an adapter which fits directly to the telescope itself. The telescope in essence becomes the lense for the camera.

At this point, the focus is done through the telescope. Most lunar photos are taken at an extremely short duration (say an ISO or 400 or 800 and a 1/400 time).

Planetary objects are different. Things like jupiter can't really be done in one shot, at least not with my setup. So you end up needing to take video of it or many shots in a short succession with the best focus possible. Then you do what is known as "stacking" - using some imaging software (I use registax for lunar/planetar and DSS for nebula and deep space objects) it aligns all photos and then makes them into one photo. Sometimes you get lucky and one session goes right, other times you end up with no pictures worth decent stacking data, other times there's drift and some work out... sometimes it takes multiple stacking sessions to get it just right.

The end result is sort of like "filling in the dots" - think of it this way... if you have a resolution on a camera of say 4000x3000, each pixel is computer data of some kind. It holds a value. If you take a picture of an object at a focus and exposure time, you'll fill in data with the detail of said object. But keep in mind, no one single picture is "perfect" and maybe some of the data is unclear or missing. However, if you had say 20 or 30 or more of the same picture, it's safe to say that those parts of data will be filled in better on some pictures than other.

The principle idea is in essence that in stacking enough photos, you eventually fill in the missing data and are left with a composite picture of one good photo.


Deep space objects
Most of what I've been doing lately is deep space objects. They are a bit more tricky because unlike planetary stuff, you can't usually see that it's actually there in the sky. So you have to rely on your skills of understanding astronomy and constellations, or "waypoints" in the sky so to speak. More importantly, you need a tracking mount. You set it to polar north and it tracks the object in the sky. Although setting a polar alignment is a pain for me because I do it through my camera, not through a nifty scope.

For instance, andromeda can barely be seen through the telescope. It shows up literally as what a lot of us call "big fuzzies"... so if you can find a big blur in the lense, you know you've found it.

So then comes the fun part, trying to actually focus a deep space object. I'm using a Canon T1i with what's known as a "baader glass modification" which the tl;dr version is "rip out stock glass filter, install new glass filter that allows h-alpha color spectrum"... It has an LCD that allows a 10x zoom, so I will try and find a somewhat nearby star, get it in the LCD and focus it till it is crisp and not blurring. I'll then focus it back on the object I want, take a picture, see if it's acceptable. If not, I repeat the procedure.

Once you've finally focused what you want, you need to figure out just how bright it is. Something like andromeda has a very bright core (and in mine on page 3, the core is somewhat blown out). In a perfect ideal stack, I should have either taken tons of the same exposure times of short exposures, or lots of longer exposures. What you're left with are what appear to be lots of pictures of faint, albeit focused pictures of fuzzy objects.

Something like Orion is more fun because you can take one single photo of the Orion nebula and it's clear as a bell on your LCD.

The next thing that's required is again stacking all the photos. So something like andromeda you take the same picture over and over. That may sound boring to some, but I enjoy it. You go back, check the last frame, make sure nothing changed, and keep taking photos, checking in every so often. When you have enough photos you think you have all the data for, you need to use a method of subtraction. Programs like DSS require you to take "darks" and "bias" frames. No camera is perfect, so the idea here is you take several "darks" which are literally taking photos with the lense cap on for the same duration you take the other photos with. Then you take 10-15 photos with the lense cap off the fastest your camera will go.

Once you've got dark and bias frames, the program calculates dead pixels and hot pixels on the camera that would make an "imperfect picture" and corrects them and compares them against the "light photos" (which are the actual photos of the object you took).

For a photo like andromeda, I used 5 darks, 15 bias frames and somewhere in the ballpark of 50-70 lights if I recall. It aligns them, stacks them, fills in the detail.

The final processing to a photo is to use something like photoshop so that you can actually pull detail from it by correcting the pixel values (My camera has the baader filter, so everything is inherently red on it and not true colors) and then lastly changing the brightness as stacked photos show up in a simple RGB format.

The result is what you see.

I like it. I looked through a pair of binoculars at the moon. Once.

Naturally, I see you as le gode de la astronimie.
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27-10-2013, 03:43 PM
RE: My very first attempts at astrophotography
Binoculars are actually great for astronomy! Most finder scopes are the equivalent of a pair of binocs, and you can see a lot of stars through them. Sometime, check out the Pleiades with a pair of binoculars.

This is your best friend for looking at the day and time something is available to you in the sky: http://neave.com/planetarium/

Look for a constellation that looks like a small club, a tiny version of the big dipper. Alternatively if you have a phone with gyro sensors, get "google sky maps" - I use it EVERY TIME I go out with my telescope.

But I'd say with a nice pair of binocs, you can find some great stuff. Orion nebula is visible through binocs, pleiades (at least the cluster) can be seen, andromeda (slightly) and often times you can spot jupiter and the moons (although they'll look like tiny dots in binocs, teeny tiny ass dots).

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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