Flaming Star Nebula

After a bit of a dry spell a couple of RASC members and I made it out to the St. Croix Observatory (SCO). SCO is the local Centre club observatory with dark skies and a great roll off facility. One thing that we really appreciated was the warm room as it was -10 degrees C during the imaging run!

After setting up and polar aligning, the wind picked up and caused a lot of guiding problems. The result was fat, but round stars and a blurred nebula. The image below is a simple stretch of the calibrated and stacked data.

The image is definitely not one of my best but with a little work I was able to rescue it, well sort of…All the processing was done with Images Plus employing split star techniques, masked stretching and star reduction. The masked stretches help to control the star bloat that would otherwise ruin the image. for those that want some details on the type of processing involved, check out this paper on the technique.

The image is the average of 40 three minute subs calibrated with bias, flats and flat darks. No dark frames were used as my Canon 60Da has built in dark suppression so they are not necessary. A single dark was used as a hot pixel map using the adaptive high/low pixel reduction functions of Images Plus. When I first started using this technique I was skeptical, but after making some measurements the technique really does work and it save quite a bit of time when you don’t have to shoot darks at the end of an imaging run.

Clear skies and keep imaging.

 

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