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RE: The North America Nebula

in #steemstem3 years ago

Beautiful! Really! I am starting to get interested in astrophotography (mainly thanks to one of a friend of my son whose family is heavily involved (and showed me their installation)).

I am wondering how long it takes you to take the picture and to work on it on the software size. Also, how big are the raw data files? My friend is spending hours both on taking pictures and working on them.


Thank you very much for your kind words @lemouth :-)
It's actually a great hobby if you like cold nights, a lot of tiredness and frustration :-D
Astrophotography and telescope installations can be very impressive. I never thought myself to get one day to this amount of equipment as I started with a DSLR, zoom lens and a small star tracker.

I'm actually never done taking the raw data for an image. If I'm able to do astrophotography and there is no other object I've chosen, I will collect photons for an already "finished" object again. Fortunately, the objects don't change that quickly and will look the same also some years later.
Especially for this image of North America Nebula, I captured images in two nights. In the first, I was not able to get one useful image. Either a neighbor turned on the light, or clouds came or the focus shifted. In the second night, I have got a total of 21 images with 5 minutes each. Then the clouds came in and stood until now at night. At the moment I'll try a lot to get some of the imaging procedure more automated and stable. Refocusing each hour is wasting a lot of time, which could be used for imaging. A new computer for controlling all is nearly finished, I just need to build some parts to supply power to all components.
My longest project was the Orion Nebula which took me around one week of sleepless nights. There went so many things wrong :-)
For the software side, It is going faster as more images are captured. Stacking itself needs more time, but working out the details goes a lot faster due to the better signal to noise ratio. Also for this image here, it took around 6 hours with a lot of trial and error. But somehow, an image is never finished. Either new RAWs are added, or after some time you are still not satisfied with something in it.
The RAW files of my camera have 46.2MB, which is OK for 24MP I think. My Nikon D7100 has around 27MB for a compressed RAW. It will take some time to fill a 1TB drive with RAWs that are good enough to be used for further editing.

Thanks for those details. Indeed, long nights are necessary (when I was at my friends place, we barely see a single star (thanks to the clouds). On the next day, the night was lovely (but I was busy elsewhere). In short, I didn't have the chance to experience it... yet. But this is on the to-do list for the next vacation, if weather permits. I have the chance to leave in a small village a bit far from everything. Even if Paris is next door (70 km from here), we are quite ok regarding light pollution.

You're welcome :-)
Soon the nights will be longer in autumn. Unfortunately, the air will be much more humid than, so that there will be more fog and clouds. I hope for a dry autumn anyway.
I'm pretty sure you will have the chance to experience it :-)
A small village is a good prerequisite. The 70km to Paris should also be far enough away. Sadly, light pollution has become a major problem of our time, which is not so really noticed. I'm very happy to live in a small town with still low light pollution but due to the cheap, energy-saving and powerful LED lights, it's getting more and more worse, even here.

In the village where I live, they move to a technology beyond LED that is even better concerning light pollution. I forgot the name of the technology, but light is really concentrated close to the source (and it consumes less energy in total)..

Anyways, I will see when my next experience will be ;)

That sounds really interesting. It would be also nice to see something like that here. In Germany, we are unfortunately quite far behind in technological terms. This is how it seems to me :-D

I hope you will have your experience soon :-)

I will have to wait at least 3 weeks as I will go to Germany tomorrow (2 weeks in Mainz) and then Italy (3 days in Trento). Work has restarted, and so have the trips :)

Oh... Time will run, you will see :-)
I had the chance last night. Haven't thought that it will work. This night I will try to let it capture images without, let's see what happens.
I wish a nice trip and a nice stay, especially in Mainz :-)