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  • Writer's pictureJames Paulson

Imaging at SASP 2023 (Part 3)


M33 is one target that I have shot multiple times with the ASI533MC Pro. I have done it using the SN6 in 2021, and also with the ED80. This is a challenging target due to it's low surface brightness. Galaxies in general represent a challenge, especially when it comes to color.


What I have learned is that to properly image most galaxies, you need to collect a lot of data. Shooting at f/1.9 with the Hyperstar 8, I collected 120 x 60 second lights for this target with the gain set at 100, and the temperature set at 0 degrees. The resulting image out of Astro Pixel Processor was the image shown above. Please note that the Hyperstar 8 does a bit of inversion and mirror imaging, so this requires a couple of flips to get it right.


You can tell that there is a lot of data there. One of the things that I have been after is the hydrogen alpha regions in this galaxy. From the first time I saw this on an image, I told myself that my goal is to be able to do this.


Ahmed Ibrahim, who is a member of our club and one of the guys we look up to for quality imaging asked me if he could have the data from my imaging session, so I gave him the stacked data out of APP (FITS file) for him to manipulate in Pixinsight. He processed this and came up with the image below. This is the exact same dataset used above.


After a flip and inversion, if you look closely, you can see the hydrogen alpha regions in M33. And this was all done with a one shot color camera, the ASI533MC Pro. I think in order to do more, you would have to venture into the world of narrowband imaging.


Having said that, there is a lot to be said for learning how to use Pixinsight. Ahmed had never used it until a few years back and he is very good at working with it, and the time spent to learn it is worth it.


Today's lesson is simple. If you want to get better at imaging, spend time to learn how to process your images., That's what cold winter nights are for.

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