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Thread: The Great Orion Nebula

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    Default The Great Orion Nebula

    Got this image of the Great Orion Nebula this evening. This is a single frame shot with the E-500, DZ-150 + EC-14 = 212mm, f/4.0, ISO 100, 60 second exposure, guided with motorized drive, resized from crop (exif embedded).

    This nebula is the middle 'star' in Orion's dagger. I am pleased with the way this image came out considering it isn't a stack of multiple images (stacking sounds like way too much work for me! ).

    Fred

    Click image for full-sized crop (1200 X 900):

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    I used to dream about getting shots like these !!! Well done. Late Thursday we had to drive 200 KM to take my son somewhere. Orion was in a perfect spot and even in the car you could see almost everything.

    All I could think about is why didn't I bring my camera and my telescope (for giding the camera).

    Very well done !!!

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Wow. Awesome photo. Just when I was feeling pretty comfortable with my gear, now I'm thinking tripod with tracking motor.

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    That is a very good image Fred, I'm envious! Most of the time the seeing is pretty bad here, very moist atmosphere and lots of light pollution. Orion is my favorite, on good nights (very sparse) I can vaguely see the nebula without aid. Thanks for sharing.
    Regards,
    Henk
    ---------------------------------------
    photography is my passion
    you are invited to visit my gallery at http://mordisco.smugmug.com

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    I'm envious of this photo, not just because it's technically good, but because your skies allowed you to take it at all. A winter of cloudy skies can really be a drag when one really wishes to photograph the northern hemisphere's most prominent nebula!

    BTW, don't fear stacking. It's only a small investment on top of setting up your mount and shooting a sequence, and the payoff is high.

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    An excellent shot, and an inspiration to all of us who've tried to capture this sort of image - and failed!

    Regards, Tony

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Very nice image. I visit a astronomy forum that has an area for astro photography and this image would fit in well.

    I originally bought my E-500 body for this type of photography but the time investment was more than I could give.

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Awesome shot, Fred! Funny you should post this--I started thinking just the other night about trying this very shot. I don't have a telescope or any kind of tracking equipment or stacking software, just the 50-200 and EC-14. I don't expect the same results, but I wonder what might be the best strategy with the equipment I have?

    Julie

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    An amazing shot, Fred, certainly if you consider the way it was taken.
    Luc

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Frankel View Post
    I used to dream about getting shots like these !!! Well done. Late Thursday we had to drive 200 KM to take my son somewhere. Orion was in a perfect spot and even in the car you could see almost everything.

    All I could think about is why didn't I bring my camera and my telescope (for giding the camera).

    Very well done !!!
    Thank you Garry!

    While I always have my camera along on road-trips short or long, I too will often forget to pack my telescope in a vest pocket... that 200 lb metal and glass gorilla hasn't been further than my back yard since the 1980's!

    Thanks again for looking and commenting!

    Fred

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by AbeakerZ View Post
    Wow. Awesome photo. Just when I was feeling pretty comfortable with my gear, now I'm thinking tripod with tracking motor.
    Thank you Mr. Beaker!

    I'm pretty sure that Webster defines 'fleeting moment' as... that split second instant in time when photographers delude themselves into believing that their current gear is completely adequate for the task at hand!

    Fred

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by Henk Peter View Post
    That is a very good image Fred, I'm envious! Most of the time the seeing is pretty bad here, very moist atmosphere and lots of light pollution. Orion is my favorite, on good nights (very sparse) I can vaguely see the nebula without aid. Thanks for sharing.
    Thank you Henk for the kind comment!

    Our skies here in Oklahoma are often clear and transparent, but we too suffer from terrible light pollution. From my back yard, fogging from light pollution sets a practical exposure limit of 1 to 2 minutes but a quick levels adjustment to the black point cancels out most of the yellow-brown yuk (at the expense of fainter detail of course).

    Fred

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by acme View Post
    I'm envious of this photo, not just because it's technically good, but because your skies allowed you to take it at all. A winter of cloudy skies can really be a drag when one really wishes to photograph the northern hemisphere's most prominent nebula!

    BTW, don't fear stacking. It's only a small investment on top of setting up your mount and shooting a sequence, and the payoff is high.
    Thanks Acme!

    Having grown up in the very northwest corner of Ohio, where the sun goes behind the clouds in October and doesn't reappear until sometime in May, I know just how you feel!

    I'm sure you're correct about stacking but my real fear is that I might enjoy it too much! I spend way to much time stalking birds and animals in the daylight and certainly don't need to compound my obsessions by getting hooked on stalking stars, planets and deep-sky objects in the moonlight! That being said, what stacking software would you suggest?

    Fred

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by tb2 View Post
    An excellent shot, and an inspiration to all of us who've tried to capture this sort of image - and failed!

    Regards, Tony
    Thank you Tony for the gracious compliment! In reality though, this is an embarrassingly simple photograph to take as long as one has access to a motorized tracking drive. What I do is center a bright star under the center AF point on the E-500 and acquire an auto focus lock (always close but seldom perfect). I then switch to manual focus bracketing (5 frames, 1 step) and mount the camera on top of my telescope to use its drive motor for tracking. I then take the five sequential frames with one of them certain to be in perfect focus. A total acquisition time of 10 minutes, unless of course you're waiting for a special lady in a red coat to enter the scene!

    Fred

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by Will in Tejas View Post
    Very nice image. I visit a astronomy forum that has an area for astro photography and this image would fit in well.

    I originally bought my E-500 body for this type of photography but the time investment was more than I could give.
    Thank you for the compliment Will!

    I know just what you mean about the time investment! I really don't do too much astrophotography for that very reason, but sometimes after a slow or unsuccessful day of wildlife photography I enjoy taking a few snapshots of some slower moving and easier to find subjects.

    Fred

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by windsprite View Post
    Awesome shot, Fred! Funny you should post this--I started thinking just the other night about trying this very shot. I don't have a telescope or any kind of tracking equipment or stacking software, just the 50-200 and EC-14. I don't expect the same results, but I wonder what might be the best strategy with the equipment I have?

    Julie
    Hi Julie and thank you!

    Without a tracking drive I can't think of a strategy that will give you much more than star trails (fairly nice in their own right if you like colored streaks of light). I attached below an overlay of two photos taken last night, one tracked for 60 seconds and the other with the tracking motor off, to give you a feel for how much star trailing is involved in 60 seconds. Both were taken with the DZ-150 (no EC-14). From this overlay I'm sure you can see that the tracking motor is imperative if you want anything more than fuzzy streaks.

    What I would do is inquire locally about any astonomy clubs as they regularly have observing sessions which are open to all comers. Under a thin veneer of 'nerdiness', these folks are a truly great lot and will fall all over themselves to help out by allowing you to mount your gear atop their scopes! Trust me, you would have a blast at one of these 'star parties' and get some great tips and images to boot!

    Fred

    The fainter stars don't show a trail because the dim light emitted doesn't have time to 'collect' when they are moving.


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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke View Post
    An amazing shot, Fred, certainly if you consider the way it was taken.
    Luc
    Thank you Luc for your kind comment!

    Fred

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Without a tracking drive I can't think of a strategy that will give you much more than star trails (fairly nice in their own right if you like colored streaks of light). I attached below an overlay of two photos taken last night, one tracked for 60 seconds and the other with the tracking motor off, to give you a feel for how much star trailing is involved in 60 seconds. Both were taken with the DZ-150 (no EC-14). From this overlay I'm sure you can see that the tracking motor is imperative if you want anything more than fuzzy streaks.

    What I would do is inquire locally about any astonomy clubs as they regularly have observing sessions which are open to all comers. Under a thin veneer of 'nerdiness', these folks are a truly great lot and will fall all over themselves to help out by allowing you to mount your gear atop their scopes! Trust me, you would have a blast at one of these 'star parties' and get some great tips and images to boot!

    Fred
    Thanks for the reply, Fred. We don't have any astronomy clubs around here, but I know a few large observatories several hours away, so maybe one day (night) I will get a chance to get some tips and borrow some gear.

    In the meantime, I'll just try the shot at high ISO and also do some star trails. They won't be pretty like yours, but I'm sure the experience will be instructive and interesting--to me, anyway. I'm starting to enjoy even rudimentary astrophotography, because it really gives you the sense that the universe is vast and flowing. And even a grainy high-ISO pic shows stars and colors that can't be seen with the naked eye.

    Thanks again,

    Julie

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred G View Post
    I'm sure you're correct about stacking but my real fear is that I might enjoy it too much! I spend way to much time stalking birds and animals in the daylight and certainly don't need to compound my obsessions by getting hooked on stalking stars, planets and deep-sky objects in the moonlight! That being said, what stacking software would you suggest?

    Fred
    To date I've just used photoshop, manually aligning and merging successive layers.

    Software designed specifically for stacking will have a higher learning curve but with repetition should provide better results with much less effort.

    I've seen DeepSkyStacker recommended a couple times, and next time I see some starlight I intend to give it a shot myself.

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    A wonderful image Fred. How does a tracker motor work? Does it follow a source of light, or is it linear?
    Regards,
    Don

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Quote Originally Posted by Don B View Post
    A wonderful image Fred. How does a tracker motor work? Does it follow a source of light, or is it linear?
    Regards,
    Don
    The traditional (equatorial) kind has an axis precisely aligned with the earth's, attached to a clock that ticks in sidereal time (with respect to the stars, rather than with respect to the sun, as we get one extra solar day per year due to being in orbit). When everything is set up right stars hold fast in the view as if by magic, though additional fine guidance is required for long exposures or large focal lengths.

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Most good telescopes have motor drive that turnes the telescope on its polar axis at about the same speed as the earth turns. You have to align it well when you set it up and then you use very high magnification of the telescope to help keep it locked on a star you use for tracking. This lets you use VERY long exposures without star trails.

    You mount your camera on the telescope (piggy back) and use the telescope tracking motor and small manual corrections to keep the camera and lens on course.

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    Default Re: The Great Orion Nebula

    Really nice Fred, really nice. Reminds me of the great Carl Sagan " We search for the stars because we are made of star stuff "

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