RIAN BERGEN

I sought יהוה, and he answered me, and DELIVERED me from all of my fears!

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The Orion Constellation - 20200127 Dataset

August 29, 2020

Full Resolution Image

The Orion Constellation is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and is visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. It is named after Orion, the hunter in Greek Mythology. Its brightest stars are Rigel (Beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis).

The Orion Constellation has a ton of interesting objects located within it, of which the following is visible in my image:

  1. NGC 1977 - A group of clusters and nebulae that are commonly referred to as the Running Man Nebula.
  2. Messier 42 - A diffuse nebula that is commonly referred to as the Orion Nebula.
  3. IC 2118 - An extremely faint reflection nebula that is commonly referred to as the Witch Head Nebula.
  4. IC 434 - A bright emission nebula, commonly referred to by the dark nebula (Bernard 33/Horsehead Nebula) in front (relative to us) of it.
  5. Bernard 33 - A dark nebula that is commonly referred to as the Horsehead Nebula.
  6. NGC 2024 - An emission nebula that is commonly referred to as the Flame Nebula.
  7. Messier 78 - A really faint reflection nebula.
  8. Bernard's Loop - Though very faint in this image, Bernard's Loop is part of the bigger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. This takes the appearance of a faint, red, semi-circle at the bottom of the image. It is not marked in the annotated image, though, NGC 2112 is marked. If you find NGC 2112, you should be able to see a red hue around it. That, is Bernard's Loop.

This is my first attempt at the Orion Constellation. It isn't the best due to the lack of "integration" time, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyways.

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Equipment:

  • Nikon D7500
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
  • NyxTech Barn Door Tracker
  • Software:
    • DeepSkyStacker
    • Adobe Photoshop
    • RC Astro GradientXTerminator Plugin for Adobe Photoshop
    • Noel Carboni's Astro Tools Plugin for Photoshop
    • Adobe Lightroom
    • AstroBin for Annotated SVG File (PixInsight)

Data was acquired on the night of 2020-01-27.

  • RGGB
    • 39 Total Exposures
    • 20 Second Individual Exposure Length
    • f/2.8
    • ISO 3200
    • Dark Frames
      • 47 Total
    • Flat Frames
      • 44 Total
    • Bias Frames
      • 40 Total
  • Total Integration Time
    • 13 Minutes (780 Total Seconds)
  • Location
    • Backyard: Comer, Georgia
    • 34°03'49"N 83°07'31"W (Closest Town)
    • Bortle Class 4
  • Weather
    • Average Moon Age at 2.41 Days
    • Average Moon Phase at 6.42%
    • Clear Skies

Image was Stacked and Calibrated in DeepSkyStacker. These were the settings:

  • Result
    • Standard Mode
    • No Drizzle
    • No Align RGB Channels
  • Light
    • Kappa-Sigma clipping
    • Kappa: 2.00
    • Number of iterations: 5
  • Dark
    • Median Kapp-Sigma clipping
    • Kappa: 2.00
    • Number of iterations: 5
    • Hot Pixels detection and removal
  • Flat
    • Median Kapp-Sigma clipping
    • Kappa: 2.00
    • Number of iterations: 5
  • Bias
    • Median Kapp-Sigma clipping
    • Kappa: 2.00
    • Number of iterations: 5
  • Alignment
    • Automatic

Image was then opened in Photoshop for the following:

  • Convert to 16 Bit's/Channel using Exposure and Gamma
  • Selected a spot above Messier 42 with the Color Sampler Tool
  • Levels Adjustment to balance Black Point
  • Astro Tool's Deep Space Noise Reduction
    • This data was very noisy. While not noticeable at this stage, it would have been impossible to remove once I began stretching the data.
    • Pros for doing this now: Less Noise to deal with later
    • Cons for doing this now: Slight Loss of Data. Image becomes more "fuzzy".
  • Astro Tool's Space Noise Reduction
    • Same Note as above.
  • Curves
  • Levels Adjustment to balance Black Point
  •  Curves
  • Levels Adjustment to balance Black Point
  • Used Lasso Tool to select area around Messier 33. Then inverted the Selection.
  • GradientXTerminate
    • Detail: Medium
    • Aggressiveness: Medium
    • Balance background color: Not Checked
    • This helped remove a very obvious gradient that had formed from the bottom left corner, all the way up to the top right corner.
  • Vibrance
    • Used Color Range Tool and some Feathering to select the darkest regions. This included Bernard's Loop and the Witch Head Nebula.
  • Levels Adjustment to balance Black Point
  • GradientXTerminate
    • Detail: Medium
    • Aggressiveness: Medium
    • Balance background color: Checked
    • Balance Background Color
  • Astro Tool's Reduce Small Blue/Violet Halos
  • Levels Adjustment to balance Black Point
  • Cropped to fit in 16:9 Image Ratio
    • This removed some stacking errors as well as helped in better framing the target.
  • Saved

For those that read this far, THANK YOU! Please let me know how if you have any questions, or if there is something I can improve upon.