Astrophotography Emission Nebula

Astrophoto: Monkey Head Nebula – Sharpless 252 – 03/21

Dear Monkey Head Nebula: I won!
I tried it countless times. I was never successful to get a picture out of this material. Now, almost 3 years later I got a workflow (and the software) to handle this!

Clear Sky Evenings

Monkey Head Nebula

I had several problems in those 3 nights when i took the photos. my main problem was a drift caused by bad guiding scope alignment.

I tried later to process the old data with Affinity Photo. Crap Data stays crap data:

NGC 2174, Monkeyhead Nebula
3 Evenings of clear sky and a long way to go!

But most problems could be solved post processing with PixInsight.

My fist post processing results came very quick and lead to my v 1.0:

NGC 2174 in Version 1.0

At a closer look, i sow some ugly artifacts. Ugly Noise. My solution was to use the CANON Banding Reduction in every single light subframe and in the flat frames using Process Container and Image Container in PixInsight. The quality increase was huge:

Left: my old default Process, Right: CBR used in all lights and flats before integration

I had another problem beside the CB: Ugly stripes. Should also be a result of the drift problem. I tried to fix it using the Cosmetic Correction in PixInsight. Think its called Walking Noise Pattern.

Stripes, caused by drift problem.

Therefor i started working again on my post process using PixInsight.

Lessons Learnd:

  • Calibration in PHD2 helps a lot and improves guiding 🙂
  • I should not play around with my guide scope without optimizing the field of view of the guide scope and the main scope after re-attaching it.
  • PixInsight does not bring magic into play, but i could at least rescue my results and made me happy.
  • Full Moon nights are there to photography the Full Moon!

3 Years later

3 years later I have a workflow that worked even on this material.

High resolution on Flickr:

Monkey Head Nebula
Same data – advanced processing

Technical Overview

TelescopeAPO, Entry-Class
Focal Length600mm
Aperture ratio7.5
Erecting Lense
MountHEQ5 Pro
Goto-ControlCartes du Ciel, (Open Source)
Mount ControlASCOM
Guiding Scope Focal Length162 mm
Guiding Camera Chip4.8mm x 3.6mm, 8bit
Guiding Camera Resolution1280×960
Guiding SoftwarePHD2, ASCOM Pulse
Dithering– (first time 12th, April 21)
CameraCANON EOS M100a
Camera ControliOS App CC&C
Photography Date03/29/2021
Exposure-Time Lights87x180s
SensitivityISO 400
CalibrationframesFlats, Darks, Bias
Processing Date04/01/2021
Reprocessing Date12/22/2023
Stacking, IntegrationPixInsight
Processing SoftwarePixInsight
Image Editing
Reprosessing SoftwarePixInsight
Capture PlaceKoblenz, Deutschland
LightpollutionBortle 5
Scattered lightstrong

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