SNR for Morons and how to Get Your Best Ratio in Light Polluted Skies

Noise mitigation for OSC (One-shot Color) Cameras in polluted skies

We all know that SNR is the Signal to Noise Ratio, and that more signal and less noise is good, right? OK, if you didn’t know that, you do now.

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Image Processing in Photoshop

Bringing Your Time and Effort to Life

You’ve just spent hours, or even days or weeks collecting data for your latest object. You stack up all of your light frames with your calibration frames (darks, flats and BIAS) in DeepSkyStacker and let it do it’s thing. What comes out is a very dim view of your object, or a even what looks like a red hazy image with no object at all. If you did the first part of the job right, your data is in there, I promise. How do you pull that data out in the most effective way possible? Well, I’m sorry to say there is no magic bullet because everybody’s data is different. However, there are methodologies, workflows, and tools to help you along.

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Imaging from Late Summer Into Fall (waiting for Orion season)

So you’ve gotten through the Milky Way objects in Sagittarius and they’ve have started to fade off to the West. After that marathon, you might be wondering where to go next. Don’t worry, so many great objects are in prime spots, or are coming up!

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Anomalies Last Night!

It’s not a plane. It’s not a meteor. It’s not even a satellite. What is it? No, it is not little green men either. A few weeks ago I captured this while imaging M16, the Eagle Nebula. It’s probably something the size of a grain of sand skipping on, or burning up in the atmosphere. It just happened to be exactly in the middle of my frame.


Move up to last night and I saw something really odd that I’m trying to trace. So, if you were imaging in Cepheus, namely the Elephant’s Trunk. last night (7/30-31 11:20PM-11:36PM Central US) and saw something similar, let me know.

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Why Are We Always Whining About How Hard This Is?

You’re just taking pictures of the sky, right? How hard can it be to just point the camera up and click a button? Maybe set a timer. People generally aren’t that condescending when they ask me about the difficulties of imaging deep sky objects, but they clearly don’t understand how damn hard this is. And that’s fine, why would they? Most people just click away on their phone or point and shoot camera, and off they go. A more advanced photographer trying to stabilize a 500mm lens might have a slightly better idea of the difficulties of long exposure photography of a moving object through a telescope. Maybe I can offer a bit of a primer for what I find most challenging, and why I choose to take on the challenge.

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Summer Opportunities for Everyone

June has arrived and the treasures of the Southern Milky Way are coming into a viewable window for me by about 11:30PM. Great objects like M51 and M101 are still perched high in the sky after dusk, but if I’m being honest, they don’t pique my interest as much as the brightness of the Lagoon Nebula, the colors of the Trifid or the majesty of the Eagle. Just like I wait for Andromeda and the Triangulum galaxies to rise up in August and dominate the fall, and Orion to take center stage in November to dominate the Winter. The Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way can contain a Summer full of imaging in itself.

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Milky Way Treasures

I haven’t been out under the stars much at all lately due to weather and busy schedules, but I found myself staring up last night at a clear sky. It was too windy, and too late to bring out the whole rig. I dragged out the mount and my daughter’s 70mm f10 toy scope to show her Jupiter. It was windy and seeing was terrible as a cold front had just come through in the afternoon. We had our ten minutes of fun looking at a fuzzy Jupiter and I brought in the scope, Leaving the mount out as there was no chance of rain.

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