Urban NGC6960

Here is an example of what a little processing can do. I was testing some wiring changes to my imaging system and when I was finished it was still clear, but clouds were in the forecast. My gear is set up an a Scope Buggy so I wheeled it out to my driveway to try a little urban imaging. I used an Optolong L enHance LP filter and got three 15 minute subs in before the clouds rolled in to shut down my evening. One of the subs had so many clouds move through that the guiding failed and the other two had some clouds move through the frame during the exposure.

Needless to say, with only 45 minutes of filtered subs, this image is nothing to write home about and much of the detail was lost to noise reduction. That said the image compares well to an unfiltered hour long exposure taken from much darker skies. It is still worth processing these kind of shots as it can be a great learning exercise.

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Object NGC 6960  Object  RA 20:45.7 Dec 30:43
Date 3 October, 2020
Exposure 44 minutes (3 X 15 minutes)
Conditions Bortle 8 skies, high light pollution levels with an almost full Moon..
ISO 1600
Camera Canon 60Da DSLR
Optics Prime focus of a  SkyWatcher Esprit 120 f/7 APO refractor with a focal length of 840 mm
Filter Optolong L-enHance
Location Bedford, Nova Scotia
Processing This image was captured using Sequence Generator Pro, telescope control provided by Mosaic Engine and processed entirely in Images Plus.  Initially an arcsinh stretch was used to brighten the image enough to see where to crop. The image was cropped then a starless mask made using the feature mask tool. The image was split into star and DSO layers using the feature mask and the DSO layer was noise reduced using a large radius, selective neighbourhood detail preserving filter applied with a mask to limit the amount of blurring applied to the nebula. The background was further smoothed using a frequency domain lowpass filter. The stars were then recombined with the noise reduced nebula image and another arcsinh stretch was applied using the starless mask made after the first stretch. A slight star reduction was applied to bring the nebula out more without stretching it as the noise floor won't support much more brightening. The star trail caused by the guiding issues was fixed using the star reduction tool. Curves were used to set the contrast and the image was binned by two for web download.