Tag Archives: PixInsight

Comet Neowise: Stacked Image

Stacking a set of comet frames can become a real pain, since the outer solar visitor travels much faster than the stars (not exactly right, because the stars don`t move, but it looks like that because of the rotation of the Earth). So if you stack a set of frames, you either limit your set to a maximum of about 10 min. of total exposure time (before the comet starts blurring), or you use all of your frames and stack one for the stars and one for the comet, and combine them. This option didn`t work out for me this time, so I stacked 10 frames (out of 35), 60 sec. each. One can`t believe, how much more information a stacked image got. I`m using Pixinsight, a processing platform specialized in astrophotography. It got a steep learning curve, to say the least; because of that, I`m more than happy with the outcome. Enjoy!

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Single shot from that set, 60 sec., 200mm/2.8, full frame, Polarie, LR only…

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Stacked image, 10 x 60 sec., 200mm/2.8, Polarie, PixInsight, Viveza, LR, Stilfser Joch, South Tyrol, 07/19/2020…

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The Beauty Of The Night Sky

In my adolscent days, I spent the nights out partying with my friends, these days I silently spend them photographing the night sky. Have not been out at nights for almost one year now, so it got time to travel to my favorite destination in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Lots of people around at this time of the year, even more after loosening the coronavirus restrictions. But when the night falls in, everything calms down. Silence and solitude kicks in – what I like most. Enjoy!

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52 x 13 sec. for the stars, 1 x 200 sec. for the foreground, stacked with PixInsight, merged with Gimp, adjustments with Viveza and Lightroom, 5 D3 @ 35mm, no Polarie this time…

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Orion At Simplon Pass, Switzerland

Just a quick impression from last weeks tour to Simplon Pass, Switzerland. Two nights in a row with clear skies and moderate temperatures at an elevation of 2005 m – what more to ask for. Images are shot with a modified Canon 1100 D with a Sigma 1.8/20mm lens on a Vixen Polarie. Enjoy!

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One of the single shots for the stars straight out of the camera, 240 sec./f 2.5…

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A single shot with the Polarie turned off to get a clear shot for the foreground, 240 sec./f2.5, already processed…

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Stacked images, with PixInsight, a total of 76 min…

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Final image: foreground and background image combined, with the constellation of Orion in all its glory and the Rauthorn, 3268 m, to the left…

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Baade´s Window and SWEEPS

I got my first glance of Baade´s Window through Serge Brunier´s book “The Universe”, p. 24/25, in 2011 and  it almost felt like I could put myself into a bed of stars. The area looks like a nebula made out of stars, but in real, the millions of stars are separated by thousands of billion kilometres by each other. The area is mostly free of interstellar dust and therefore astronomers use it to view the galactic core of our home galaxy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baade%27s_Window. Within Baade´s Window is another small window called “SWEEPS”, used for monitoring the visible stars for extrasolar planets in 2006, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittarius_Window_Eclipsing_Extrasolar_Planet_Search. Being able processing images I had taken back in August 2013 in Australia and seeing the results now in 2018 is very satisfying and makes me wanna go back “to the stars” every time I look at the image. Enjoy!

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Looking straight at the core of our home galaxy, the Milkyway, towards the constellation of Sagittarius. 66 images stacked, with a total of 29 min. of exposure time, using a Vixen Polarie and a Canon 1100 Da with a 70-200mm lens @ 70mm, processed via PixInsight, ColorEfex and Lightroom, East coast Australia Aug. 2013, processed Feb. 2018

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Annotated image…does anyone notice the “skull like shape” between NGC 6357 and M6?

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The Milky Way-In All Its Glory

When starting digital imaging in 2010, I admired all the images showing  the milky way in all its glory, not knowing a single thing about how they were taken or even how they have been accomplished/processed. I knew back then, that there is a software out there for stacking multiple images, but that has been all Greek to me. While being in Australia in Aug. 2013, I took heaps of images of the milky way, which is in its own full glory at that time of the year, using a modified Canon 1100 D camera and a Vixen Polarie  star trekking device. Being back home, I had the images, but I still couldn´t figure it out how to process them and using a Mac/iOS made it more difficult to find a proper/for free stacking software. A friend of mine introduced me into PixInsight software, which is a fantastic tool, but it got a very steep learning curve. After years of try and error, being unsatisfied with the outcome, I neglected the project of stacking the images and putting together a multiple mosaic panel of the milky way. Again with the aid of my friend Bernd, who introduced me into processing the images via PixInsight, and a lots of free time during the winter months, I finally have been able to figure things out  I started almost six years ago. The downside of this? The longing for the stars increases more and more every time I look at the final image. To view the image in all its glory – click on it, best seen on a 27″ screen. Enjoy!

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Six-panel mosaic, stacked with PixInsight and stitched together with Lightroom, no adjustments applied…focal length: 70mm…

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Six panel mosaic of the center of the milky way, each panel is a stacked image of multiple photographs. The final image contains 181 single frames, with a total of 74.6 min. exposure time. Stacked with PixInsight, some enhancement in ColorEfex and global adjustments with Lightroom. My all-time favorite is the so-called Cat Paws Nebula (NGC 6334), but there is so much more in it: NGC 6357, M6, M7,M8, M20, the Galactic Center, the “Kiwi” to the lower right and some sort of “skull” right in the center…

Re: The Milky Way – By Canon 1100 D(a) & Vixen Polarie

In 2012 I did a post about imaging the Milky Way combining it with a photogenic foreground (https://wp.me/p1aVSr-A8). The images were taken more than five years ago now, using a Vixen Polarie  and a modified Canon 1100 D – which makes it a 1100 D (a). Back then I took a set of images of the same subject, with exposure times up to 5 minutes, hoping that there might be some software out there for stacking star images and combining them with a static foreground image, preferably (but not always) taken with the same camera settings prior to the others. The only difference: turning off the tracker device while shooting the foreground. The shown images in this post are all composites, with a “tracked” background and a “non-tracked” foreground, using PixInsight (stacking), Gimp (merging), Viveza (local adjustments) and Lightroom (general adjustments). Next step will be putting together a mosaic of a set of stacked images of our Milky Way, taken in August 2013, East coast Australia. Enjoy!

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South Tyrol, Italy, left: 5 images stacked with Pixinsight, right: final image with a total of 423 sec. for the stars and 179 sec. for the foreground…

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The Dolomites, Italy, left: 6 images stacked with Pixinsight, right: final image with a total of 1024 sec. for the stars and 25 sec. for the foreground…

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Großglockner Ridge, Austria, left: 14 images stacked with Pixinsight, right: final image with a total of 1318 sec. for the stars and 357 sec. for the foreground…

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The Großglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, left: 23 images stacked with Pixinsight, right: final image with a total of 1191 sec. for the stars and 169 sec. for the foreground…

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Brennkogel and Hochtor, Großglockner High Alpine Road, Austria, left: 10 images stacked with Pixinsight, right: final image with a total of 1625 sec. for the stars and 25 sec. for the foreground…

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Going Deep With: Canon 1100 d(a), Vixen Polarie And PixInsight

Since about one year now, I got those deep sky images lying on my hard drive, which I took back then while traveling the East Coast of Australia in August 2013. All I could do was processing the single images via Lightroom and even making mosaics via Hugin software. The results have been satisfying, but I knew there must be more to it. So I got myself PixInsight (http://pixinsight.com), a special software for processing deep sky images, and most important to me, it also runs on a Mac. Taking images is one thing, but processing them (to me) is much more complex. So I got myself that miraculous piece of software, but could´t work with properly until my Austrian based friend Bernd Weinzierl got to my aid. Make sure you take a look at his stuff at: http://innerberg-astro.lima-city.de/index.html. We did some sort of joint-venture then; Bernd processed my images with PixInsight and the result almost blew my mind. Never before had I dreamed about making such MilkyWay shots myself – until now. Makes me want to head back to Australia right now and shoot the hell out of it while the center of our home galaxy is still at the zenith – a paradise for deep-sky-imaging. But for now, I got enough stuff already to process to, not speaking about the mosaics possible now…stay tuned. All you need for doing this is: a modified camera like the Canon 1100 d, a startracking device like the Vixen Polarie, a sturdy (carbon) tripod, two ballheads, an intervalometer, a fast lens (f2.8 or less) and of course clear skies. And most of all, someone who can operate the complex PixInsight software. Once you are into it, new dimensions will unfold – the stars are yours! Enjoy!

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Original Raw-file: 119 sec., f 3.5, Iso 1600 @ 20mm…looking right at the center of our home galaxy, the Milkyway…Scorpio to the left, Sagittarius to the right…including star clusters and hydrogen-alpha nebulae…

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Processed Raw-file via Lightroom 5 only…

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Screenshot: eleven images, stacked with PixInsight…

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Final outcome, done with PixInsight and CS5 by Bernd Weinzierl…high-res image can be seen here: http://innerberg-astro.lima-city.de/Bilder%20gross/Widefields/Milchstrassenzentrum.jpg

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“Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives. And if things don´t turn out, take another shot.”

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