Thursday, April 11, 2013

Adding 112 subs to my Orion stack

In February I stacked a series of 168 subs, 30 darks, and 30 bias frames to create my best attempt at the Orion Nebula (M42). Now, with Orion getting lower and lower in the sky, I wanted to try adding to the stack before the constellation dips below the horizon. Unless I get an exceptionally clear night, this is probably going to be my last Orion attempt of the season.

I added another 112 subs to my stack (no additional dark or bias frames) for a total of 280 subs. Because I noticed quite a few were trailing or out of focus, I kept only the best 70% for a total of 196 subs - which I believe is around 4 min 21 sec total exposure time.

This new set was shot using the same ISO and magnification, but at 1.3 sec rather than 1.6 sec. Deep Sky Stacker gave me a warning message, but handled the difference in exposure times remarkably well.

196 frames at ISO 1600, 300mm, f/5.6, 1.3 and 1.6 s frames
This is a fairly quick pass at processing, I'm a little rusty since I almost never do deep sky stuff! Not much in the way of color, but the dust cloud is large and clearly visible. I also captured a whiff of the Running Man Nebula about 1/2 degree above the Orion Nebula. The running man is actually a combination of 3 objects (NGC 1973, NGC 1975 and NGC 1977) separated by some dark space in roughly the shape of a person. In my image you can only see a little blob of gray.

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