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NGC 2024 (Flame) and B33- Horsehead

This is the last of the experimental shots with the Orion ED-100.  After analyzing these pictures with the help of others in the community and eliminating possible problems such as poor focus the conclusion was that the Orion ED-100 I was using did not have the optical quality for the high resolution pictures I was taking

Alnitak after image integration (linear image)

Therefore this is the last of the pictures with the ED-100.  I have an FSQ-106EDX III on order.

  1. NGC 2024 (Flame) and B33- Horsehead 
    1. Closeups
    2. Processing Details
    3. Previous Attempt
    4. Use of MorphologicalTransformation

map to NGC 2024

This photo of NGC 2024 and B-33 was taken on 11/28 and 12/1 2010.  It consists of  20 exposures of ten minutes each.  Processing was done with PixInsight . This image was unfiltered in city light so there are NIR components included.  The background is degraded by light pollution.

This was the other image set taken at the same time as my M33 sequence with the SBig 8300M camera.  

Processing this image was considerably more difficult to process than the M33 image.  Once I understood how to reuse PixInsight Process Containers I found it very easy to experiment.  Thus this is the nth version where n is a large number. The picture still suffers from bloated stars which I am still diagnosing.  I gave up on trying to process the image at 1.2"/pixel so this image was immediately bined to 2.4"/pixel.

NGC2024 reduced to 800x600
Click Image for a full size JPEG

Here is the same image as a PNG

SkyTools Map
SkyTools Map superimposed on my image


Since the full resolution image is rather large, here are full resolution closeups of two areas of the image

NGC 2024
Close up of NGC 2024

B33 - Horsehead

One of the challenges is with the 900mm Orion ED-100, the pixel scale winds up under 2"/pixel so even normal seeing is a problem.  For these images I photographed at 1.2"/pixel, but binned to 2.4" after the images were combined.

Processing Details

As I said earlier I did a number of experiments to see what the best order of operations and how to parameterize them.  Since I preserved the PixInsight operations I was able to quickly experiment with different paths of processing.

T4 Processing details
The camera was cooled to -25C.

Previous Attempt

I published a previous version of this on 12/18/10. As a comparision here is NGC2024 and the Horsehead from the previous versions. These are displayed at the same bin 2x2 as above. Note the artifacts on the stars.

Use of MorphologicalTransformation

Much of the result is subjective.  The final product is as much a work of art as science.  Hence a lot of the effort goes into determining what operations in what amounts make the image "better" and what makes it "worse".  The left was a processing step before deconvolution and stretching radically changed the image.  The middle is the final image.  In the image on the right I used an erosion mask to soft the stars. This was applied after stretching, but before HDR.  I judged this result as "worse" hence it was not included.

My own preference is to have crisp stars which means using deconvolution.  This effectively deblurs the image.  Since the image required that it argues that the focus was not perfect.  I did try a processing sequence that left out the deconvolution.  That helped the stars some, but deconvolution also brought out detail in NGC 2024. By not doing it the image of the bright nebula was not as distinct.

Pre Deconvolution and Stretching
Is is a screen shot of STF from PixInsight


MT before HDR

Creative Commons License

Copyright 2010, 
Robert J. Hawley Some Rights Reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.