Old data, new techniques

Astro imaging has come a long way since I started this blog many years ago. Equipment and software has improved to the point where galleries on sites like astrobin are beyond incredible!

I haven’t been very active with imaging recently, to say the least. But I still have a passion for the subject and enjoy witnessing its continual evolution and I try to keep up to date. Recently I came across a video by Nico Carver explaining his techniques for processing astro images. What caught my eye was a free piece of software called Starnett++ which effectively removes all the stars from an image. Doing this allows the star and nebula data to be edited independently of one another. An absolute game changer.

Inspired by the potential improvements, I spent the late hours of last night reworking a shot of the Andromeda galaxy which I captured a whole 9 years ago, back in 2013. Below is the original version. You can see how bloated and distracting the foreground stars are compared to the newly edited version above.

Image details: Nikon D7000Nikkor 180mm f2.8 at f2.8. 64 minutes (48 x 80 seconds) at iso 800. Using didymium filter. Tracked with barn door tracker. Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker, edited with Photoshop.

Below is the image of the galaxy having been through the star removal process. I believe this technique holds the key to major improvements in my images. I’ll no doubt go back to revisit much of my old captures to see what improvements can be made. I may even find time to take some new astro images – no joke!

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