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December 24, 2017

I have been cleaning up my viewing blog and moved all of 2016 entries and most of 2017 entries dating back to before October 15, 2017. If you wish to see entries before that date, click on the link above to go the Astronomical Viewing Blog Archive.

December 20, 2017

Continuing my endeavors of trying out new software, I recently tried the Demo Version of ImagesPlus. The interface is more clean than the MaximDL, but both software does the job well when stacking my Nikon 810A Raw files. I also have been playing with layering in Adobe Photoshop. I am using the older version of CS2 of Photoshop, but it is more than adequate for layering pictures. I chose as my subject for layering the Jewel of the winter sky, the Orion Nebula M 42. I took the picture using my HyperStar Lens on my 14 inch Celestron Scope and my D810A Camera. I took two different shots of the nebula for layering purposes. The first layer is a longer exposure in order to capture the entire nebula and gas clouds. The problem is when you do this you lose the center "Trapezium" of the nebula as it is too bright. The second layer photo was taken with much shorter exposure. I lose the gas and dust clouds, but I gain resolution of the center trapezium stars. I then overlaid or layered the two photos to get the final image. The Images are shown below.

M 42 Orion no Layering

M 42 Layered showing the Trapezium Stars

A larger picture of the layered version is shown in the Gallery.

November 17, 2017

I have been trying out the Demo Version of Maxim DL so that I can stack my NEF images from my new D810A Nikon Camera. I have exclusively been using DeepSkyStacer, but the color was not rendering properly with that program. I stacked 5 images of the Fireworks galaxy and the color came through. Compare the image below with the image shown on the August 27 post on this blog.

Fireworks Galaxy NGC 6946 Stacked with Maxim DL. Notice proper color rendering.

November 3, 2017

I made an addition to my "Warm Room". I added a 32 inch HDTV as a third monitor. This was something that I had in mind from the inception of the observatory. Its purpose aside from giving me more viewing space is to give a larger view of photos when I have people over to the observatory. Now the photos can be seen by everyone instead of hovering around a couple of computer monitors. I connected it to my computer as a monitor through a "USB to HDMI/DVI Adapter" purchased from "Best Buy". The cost of the adapter was around $40.00 and the Samsung TV was around $300.00. I connected the Adapter to a USB port and then ran an HDMI cable from the adapter to the TV. After setting up the Adapter Drivers, the system worked perfectly. A photo of Before and after is shown below.

Before and After

The color of the room is actually rendered like the before picture. That picture was taken with a Nikon D3 Camera. The one on the right was taken with my iPhone 7. No mater what people want to say about cell phone cameras, the D3 rendered a more precise picture.

October 26, 2017

I received an Email today and was given a recommendation by Peyton Vogel to add "Home Advisor- Backyard-Astronomy" to my web site. I have looked over this site and it gives great information on the basics of astronomy. I have added this to my "Friendly Links" page found at the bottom of each page. Thanks Peyton for your suggestion.

October 15, 2017

Allot has occurred in the last two months in my personal life. I have traveled to Scotland and visited that beautiful area of Great Britain. It was a great vacation and the people were extremely friendly. I would love to go back and visit again. I enjoyed the vacation so much, that I decided to retire from my day job and enjoy activities that I enjoy most, which is spending time with my wife and children along with my hobby of viewing the cosmos. On October 14, I decided to use some of my new "Free Time" by taking some pictures of some of the well known summer nebulas. I took pictures of the Lagoon Nebula M 8 and the Trifid Nebula M 20. I'm still having problems with my stacking program DeepSky Stacker. The program stacks the images perfectly, but the color is not rendered correctly when using my Nikon D810A camera. In order to get the color rendition of the photos, I was only able to use one image with no stacking. Even without stacking, the camera produces incredible pictures.

Lagoon (Lower) and Trifid (Upper)

I like the above picture as it shows the relationship of the two nebulas. This was taken at full frame of the D810A camera and the HyperStar lens on my CGE 14 inch telescope.

Trifid Nebula (M20)

The above image was taken using the same setup, but the camera was setup in "DX" mode. This allows the camera to crop and zoom in on the image using only the camera. It amazes me that this camera can produce fairly noise free images without using image stacking.

Lagoon Nebula (M8)






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