RBA Premium Astrophotography

M16, The Eagle Nebula (True Color)

Posted: July 27th, 2008

Original size & wider field: 3908x2606

July 27st, 2008, 10:30pm to 1am PST

Exposure: 14 x 8 minutes
Focal: 540mmm, f/5.4

Imaging Scope: NP101is
Camera:Canon 40D IR/UV filter
Guide camera: StarShootAutoGuider
Guide scope: Orion Short 80mm
Mount: Takahashi EM-400

Back of Lick Observatory (Mount Hamilton), San Jose, CA
Transparency: Average

Stacking: DeepSkyStacker
Processing: PixInsight + Photoshop

The night of July 26-27 I went to the Lick Observatory as a volunteer for their Public Music event. I was the only one out of 8 amateur astronomers doing imaging, but that was actually cool. While the visitors had fun peeking at the other people's scopes, they asked questions about how to take photos of nebulas and deep sky objects.

I spent the night imaging only the Eagle nebula - I figured I'd choose a famous and bright object, so I'd have something to show on the screen on my red-filtered laptop from just one raw image - which I did and it looked pretty nice.

This image is one of two (the other one is here) resulting from the processing. While on the other version I forced certain crhomatic ranges to become yellowish, this is the "natural color" image. Some people say that the center of the nebula is too pink in this image, but the processing of this image, as far as color goes, it only involved some general curve adjustments. It was during one of those eadjusments that the pink came up stronger, just like the area surrounding the center came up orange-brown, while the rest remained reddish. Considering no color replacement was involved, if anything, this shows that either these different emmission areas do produce colors slightly different, or that my camera was capturing a mix of tones, due perhaps to its particular sensitivity (or lack of) to H-Alpha emmissions. Or whatever. I'm not an expert :-)

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