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Astrophotography

IC1396 Elephant Trunk Nebula
Mark Firary

What an amazing hobby! I have been collecting data for DSOs since 2019 and over the holiday, I decided to revisit some old data stacks and re-do the post-process (I use PixInsight) to see if I have learned anything in the past two years. Image #1 is my original result on IC1396 from the data I collected in Dec 2019



Image #2 is the result from re-processing in Jan 2022 (same stack of the original Dec 2019 data)



Wow! I can't believe how much more signal was in my original data set. I have gone back and re-processed some of my best data on the ED80 over the last two years and every object looked better but this one probably had the largest signal-jump.


Equipment:

Orion Sirius EQ-G mount

Orion ED80 Refractor (600mm f7.5) with 0.85x field flattener

ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera (4144x2822 pixels)

ZWO ASIair computer

ZWO EAF focuser

ZWO Filter Wheel


Data Collection:

Dec 27 2019 in Upper Peninsulas of Michigan Bortle 2 (46.2371N 88.0068W)

Not auto-guided

Camera at -20C and 200gain

60x60sec frames

1.25" Astronomik L2 UVIR cut filter


Data Process:

Calibrated, Registered, Normalized and Integrated in AstroPixelProcessor (Darks, Bias)

Post-process in PixInsight


Update:

The more I looked at the second image, the more I felt I was too aggressive in some of the post-process. Below I present a third version that I think still brings out more signal in the key areas but doesn't do it at the expense of losing detail elsewhere.




Lou Varvarezis

Mark,


The image labeled DBE, (I am assuming that's the one processed with PI), is a big improvement over the other. However, I think it can benefit even more with further processing in PI. You can start using further noise reduction with the SCNR function. Keep the default settings (color to remove = Greeen and protection method = Average Neutral) but decrease the amount, you might want to try 0.5 as a starting point.


Of course they way you process your images is entirely personal preference but I think too much data has been clipped in the second image. I think if you add more data to the stack, the signal will increase and give you a little more flexibility during processing.



Great work!


-Lou

Mark Firary

Here are the full resolution images


1) ends in DBE is the original post-process in early 2020

2) ends in SXT-1 is the first post-process in Jan 2022 (over stretched)

3) ends in SXT-2 is the final post-process in Jan 2022 (medium stretch)

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