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Horsehead and Flame Nebulae

crimbfighter

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I imaged this last night while freezing my butt off.. Located in the Orion constellation, the Horsehead and Flame Nebulae are next to each other and flank the lowest of the three main stars in Orion's Belt, Alnitak, which is the biggest and brightest star in the image. The Horsehead Nebula gets its name from the distinct shape of a horse's head in the red nebulocity. This was a difficult image for me to capture because the nebula is very dim.

Nikon D500
Nikon 200-500 @ 500mm, f/5.6
Celestron AVX mount, guided
15 x 360sec sub exposures @ ISO640
90 min total integrated exposure time
Calibrated with dark, flat, and bias frames
Stacked using Deep Sky Stacker
Processed in PS

Horsehead Nebula 111320 V2.jpg
 
Really nice!!
 
Well worth getting cold for. Great effort.
 
Outstanding! And we appreciate you freezing your butt off for us.
 
Stacked using Deep Sky Stacker

Taking full advantage of these moonless nights with excellent results I see. I've used Sequator and SharpCap (new to both). You have way more experience with astro than I do so I am curious about your thoughts regarding stacking apps. I imaged M31 last night from the lake house (less LP) and stacked with 29x30 seconds with Sequator and SharpCap with differing results. This time SharpCap performed better. What is your experience? Do you always use Deep Sky Stacker? Or, is the stacking app less important than the post processing app? Do you stack raw or jpeg?
 
Stacked using Deep Sky Stacker

Taking full advantage of these moonless nights with excellent results I see. I've used Sequator and SharpCap (new to both). You have way more experience with astro than I do so I am curious about your thoughts regarding stacking apps. I imaged M31 last night from the lake house (less LP) and stacked with 29x30 seconds with Sequator and SharpCap with differing results. This time SharpCap performed better. What is your experience? Do you always use Deep Sky Stacker? Or, is the stacking app less important than the post processing app? Do you stack raw or jpeg?
When shooting targets like galaxies and nebulae, I always shoot RAW and stack them using Deep Sky Stacker. You're losing too much potential data by shooting jpeg. You have to keep in mind that sometimes your individual exposures are only capturing a tiny fraction more photons each, so any data loss is bad. I know others have success with different workflows and software, but that combo has always worked well for me. The tiff file it outputs is good.

I've found that the results I get out of the stacking process are more dependant on the quality of the frames I put in, as well as the stacking settings I choose. I found over time that rushing the capture process to get more frames is worse than less frames captured well. And don't forget the dark, flat, and bias frames. Especially the flats and darks. Its always a pain to wait another however many minutes to capture the darks after the light frames, cause you just want to be done for the night and check the data on the computer, but darks are really helpful. And if you're guiding,, make sure you dither. All those little steps are very important in squeezing the extra quality out of the stacked image. Plus, I don't feel like trying to learn yet another piece of software...

When shooting planetary, including the moon, I capture video and stack the video frames using Autostakkert! I've tried PIPP, but it didn't give me better results.
 

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