Big class this year, and not much "evaporation" - a hardy bunch. Everyone but two got images from the Big 12" scope thanks to decent weather, and looks like some nice polishing of the raw images of those that were turned in on/before the Friday Dec 11.

Assembling light curves for RV Tauri variable star R Scuti, eclipsing binary Beta Lyrae, and archetype pulsating variable star Delta Cephei

Alex, Catherine, and Jacqueline earned honors for doing the best job of judging the weekly magnitudes of these stars. Congratulations!

Here's the Deep Sky gallery pictures...

Sylvia Rhoda Xaverine Ndusha captured NGC 7000, (also known as the North American Nebula 

which lives in the Lyre Constellation) with the  12' Meade Dome telescope Alt. pointed at 67° North
Photographed on November 3,2015 starting at 8:00 pm Pacific Central Time.
3X 5 minute exposure taken with the ST2000XCM camera with a chip temperature of -27°

Sky conditions were mostly clear taken when completely dark with little light pollution at the Cabrillo College Observatory in Santa Cruz, California. The moon was in its 3rd quarter. Post storm weather with no condensation on the camera lens. Post Storm Damp. Image processing Steps: In the program CCDOPS I edited with dark subtraction dk523 , flat fielding fsept22-15-4  and converted the image from B&W to Color with SRGB +Gamma. This was done with all three images. Next the three photos were stacked in the Registax program for a more even and smooth picture. The last step; Polishing in Photoshop using Astronomy Tools Actions. Using the Astronomy Actions Less Crunchy more Fuzzy, Space Noise reduction, Enhanse DSO, and Light pollution removal. Adjusting the levels and curves fixes the brightness for different parts of the image. To accentuate the magenta I adjusted the Saturation and Hughes. Alas, a Masterpiece. 

 

Jackie Williams
Astro 8A
Fall 2015

The Fireworks Galaxy, NGC 6946, was taken on September 15, 2015. The night sky was clear with a little amount of clouds to look through in the distance. There was a small sliver of moon out so the sky was dark and perfect for photos. There were 4 exposures taken with the 12 inch Mead LX200 telescope. Each image was dark frame corrected and colorized images stacked in the Registax program. After Registax the image was edited in Photoshop 7. I used astronomy tools in the program. Make stars smaller 2X, Curves (output 19), Curves (input 165), space noise reduction (output 10) (Input 16), Increase star colors 3X. It was fairly dry outside because it was the beginning of the semester and the photo was taken early in the evening. There was no dew forming and the night was calm. No wind.

 

Cindi Farrell Astro 8A

Veil Nebula, NGC6960, Constellation Cygnus, September 15, 2015, 20:31 - 20:50, Photographed at the Cabrillo Obsevatory by Cindi Farrell and Rick Nolthenius. I preformed a dark frame subtraction by subtracting a 5 minute dark frame at a chip temperature of -24° Celsius labelled dk5-24.st4k. I performed a flat field correction by applying a flat field labelled fSep22-15-4.ST2K. I used the color converting method sRGB+gamma. I loaded 3 of my astrophotography images and aligned them by choosing a large star and clicking on the Align button... then I chose the Optimize & Stack button to finish. Photoshop Processing: Space noise reduction x 2, Levels - lighten 0 midtones 0.64 darken 142, Curves - to darken and bring out color (slight S curve), Vibrance - +100, Saturation - –23, Cropped and sized for print and gallery.

 



Gina Stephani, Iris Nebula, NGC 7023, Cepheus constellation, 11/3/2015 9:31 PM - 9:45 PM. CCDOPS: 12” Meade, Dark Subtract dk5-27.st2k, Flat Field, Color Processing, RGB + Gamma. Registax: Stack frames 1-3. ?Photoshop: Adjustments - Brightness & Contrast, Curves (Green, Red & Blue Channels) & Levels, Sharpen, Hue & Saturation.

 

Casey Aglietti, Heart Nebula, NGC 896, Cassiopeia constellation, 11/3/2015 ~ 9:00-9:30 PM. CCDOPS: 12” Meade, Dark Subtract dk5-27.st2k, Flat Field, Color Processing, RGB + Gamma. Registax: Stack frames 1-3. Photoshop: Curves, Hue and Saturation, Brightness and Contrast, Sharpen.

 

Date/time: 10/6/15; 9:00-9:30pm
Telescope: 12” Dome Telescope 
Camera: ST2000xcm
Sky Conditions: No moon, sky looks clear, some spots of coastal fog on the west and north-west horizons.
Dark Frame Correction: dk5-20.ST2K 

Flat field: fSep22-15-4.ST2K

Photoshop:
Noise Reduction (reduce noise)
Level Adjustment (darken and adjust color)
Vibrance (adjust color)
Sharpening (sharpen image)
Crop 

 

-Catherine Siefert

-Helix Nebula (NGC 7923) is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Aquarius. Its size is 25', its magnitude is 7.3, and it had an altitude of +31 when photographed.

-I took four 5-minute long exposure pictures with Rick Nolthenius on 11-10-15 at 8:00 PM, but only two of those pictures were usable for this photograph shown above. We used a 12'' Mead LX200 Telescope and a ST2000XCM Camera. The chip temperature was -29 degrees Celsius. 

-sky conditions: night after a storm, clean sky, dark sky, no moon, object photographed in the west

-steps in CCDops: dark subtract, auto apply, flat field, single shot color process, sRGB+gamma, saved image and repeated these steps for the second photo

-steps in Registax: I only used the first two photo's we took because the other two were too off centered to align correctly; stretched intensity levels, set the parameters as instructed, chose my alignment stars, checked "stack size," clicked "limit" and "optimize & stack" buttons, and then saved the image

-steps in Photoshop: used levels & curves, increased the saturation, rotated the canvas upside down, and desaturated the green channel in order to get rid of the green dots 

-Lastly, I followed the size adjustment instructions in order to create the correctly sized images for my printed picture, the gallery picture, and the thumbnail gallery picture. 

 

Pacman Nebula (NGC 281), Emission Nebula in Cassiopeia. Alec Roumimper, 12’ Meade Lx200 Dome Telescope, ST2000XCM, 3x5 min, October 10, 2015  20:29:05, Cabrillo Observatory. Sky Conditions: clear, no moon, patchy fog in the east. CCDOPS: version 5, Mag.1:2, Dark Subtract -20c(dk5-20.st2k), Flat Field(fsep22-15-4), Single shot color, Color process sRGB+gamma. Registax: Version 6, stacked 3 frames. Photoshop: Version 7, Image adjustments: Levels(darken) Curves(channel green, compress), Healing Brush(remove bad pixels), Saturation(lighten/darken color), Clone stamp tool. Photoshop Actions: Space noise reduction(twice), Local contrast enhance, Make stars smaller, crop and size, label.

 

 

Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635), Emission Nebula. (Max Logan), 12" Meade LX200, ST2000XCM, 2x5min exposure, 1 Dec 2015 20:05-20:20 PST, Cabrillo Observatory Dome Sky Conditions: patches of high cirriform clouds, relatively dark sky no moon, lower heavier clouds after 20:20 PST CCDOPS: Version 5.56 Dark Subtract -29C, Flat Fielded, sRGB+gamma color processed, Registax: version 6, stacked 2 frames Photoshop: Version CS1 and CS7, Curves, Levels, Unsharpen mask 172%, radius 1.1 pix theshold 0. Color balance blues emphasized, layer mask overlay+paint brush tool to expose refracted light, paint brush tool star shine effect. Vibrance emphasized magenta/nebulosity. sized 1024x768 pix, rotated image 180 degrees clockwise for a preferred position.

 

Kevin McDermott

M-27 “Dumbbell Nebula” located in the “Vulpecula” constellation

Sept. 15th, 2015 at 20:59:14.000, Altitude of +75°

Sky conditions were prime. There was a little sliver of moon, clean skies`, dry air.

I took 3, 5-minute exposures with a ST2000 XCM at the Cabrillo College Observatory. The Chip temperature was -24° Celsius. I then opened the three photos and dark subtracted, flat fielded, and color processed them with sRGB+gamma using registax. In Photoshop I messed with the curves, levels, noise reduced, despeckled, then clone stamped the photo.

 



Drew Pavlos Comet C/2014 S2 (PANSTARRS).November 10,2015 @ Cabrillo Observatory.4x5 minute exposures with ST2000xcm on 12' Meade LX200.PANSTARRS is a 10th magnitude comet.On this humid November night the comet was photographed 12 degrees south of the North Star in a moonless sky. The temperature outside was 44 degrees fahrenheit while the chip temperature was -29 degrees celsius. There was no dew on the lens and very few clouds in the sky. The four images were initially processed with CCDOPS for dark frame correction using dark subtract. Then to correct the dark corners a flat field was applied to each image. The final step in CCDOPS was to convert the images to color. Using the single shot color utility I selected the sRGB+gamma option to add color to the images. After the images were colored and corrected I used the Registax program to stack the four images using a common star for proper alignment. The stacked image was then edited in Photoshop. Minor adjustments were made to the hue and saturation.Brightness was reduced to create a very dark grey sky.Levels and curves were adjusted to increase the luminosity of the comet and stars.Noise was reduced, and finally the image was sharpened and sized for gallery.

 

Wizard Nebula(NGC 7380), Open Cluster in Cepheus. Jessica McGlaze, 12’ Meade Lx200 Dome Telescope, ST2000XCM, 4x5 min October 20, 2015 8:00pm, Cabrillo Observatory.1st quarter moon, clear night,no clouds,stars look sharp. CCDOPS: version 5, Mag.1:2, Dark Subtract -22c(dk5-22.st2k), Flat Field(fsep22-15-4), Single shot color, Color process sRGB+gamma. Registax: Version 5, stacked 3 frames. Photoshop: Version 7, Image adjustments: Levels, Curves(channel green), Healing Brush(remove bad pixels), Filter/Sharpen, Saturation(+6) Space noise reduction, Local contrast enhance.

 

After the obligatory curves and "levels" editing, the first pivotal move was to increase the saturation of the image as this allowed me to accentuate the colors of the nebula before I darkened the image, reducing the green noise that covered black space. Small and multiple instances of "selective color" further helped reduce the unnatural green and provide deeper blacks while "despeckle" removed some of the overall graininess. 

Brightness and Contrast were both now free to increase as the green noise that usually appeared with any increased brightness was gone and contrast made the nebula's brighter colors look better next to the new deep black sky. "Sharpen-Medium" reduced some of the granular effect caused by the light from the stars against the black sky and a final despeckling finished the project.

NorthAmerica Nebula, Alex Maurer, 12" Meade LX200. st2000xm, 3x5 min October 6, 2015. 9:50pm, Cabrillo Observatory. Dark Subtract -20 deg C. Photoshop: Curves and Levels, Increase Saturation, darken, "selective coloring", despeckle, Brightness and contrast, Sharpen Medium.

 

M20 The Trifid Nebula – September 8, 2015 @8:50pm
Alexander Osuna, 3x5min, ST 2000 XCM

12" Meade f/10 (w/ f/6.3 reducer) @Cabrillo Observatory

This picture of M20 the Trifid Nebula was taken at the observatory at Cabrillo College with a 12" Meade f/10 (w/ f/6.3 reducer) telescope and an ST 2000 XCM CCD camera on September 8, 2015 at 8:50pm. M20 was at 27° above the horizon. It was a warm, clean, and clear night. The moon was at a waning crescent and wasn’t due to rise until half past 2am. Three five minute exposures were taken as well as a dark frame and a flat field. Using CCDOPS, all three exposures were dark subtracted using a dark frame (dk5-18; chip temperature at -18°) and a flat field correction was applied using the flat field image (fSep22-15-4). The dark subtraction reduced the amount of image noise while the flat field corrected the blurry corners cause by the circular shape of the telescope. Each image was then converted into color using the sRGB+gamma method in CCDOPS. The next step was to stack the three dark subtracted, flat field corrected and colorized images in Registax which further reduced noise. Registax allows the user to choose a star as a reference point to neatly stack all three images. After that was done, GIMP was used to do the final editing touches. Curves were used to reduce the abundant greens dispersed throughout the image and attain darker skies. Curves were also used to bring out the blue in the reflection nebula and the red in the emission nebula. Brightness and contrast settings were adjusted to level out the image as a whole. Used gradient tool (black to transparent) on a transparent layer to reduce residual green noise on top corners, and used the eraser tool to bring out the stars that were hidden beneath the gradient.

 

Catherine Siefert. This is a photo of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7923). It is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Aquarius. Its size is 25', its magnitude is 7.3, and it had an altitude of +31 when photographed. I took four 5-minute long exposure pictures with Rick Nolthenius on 11-10-15 at 8:00 PM, but only two of those pictures were usable for this photograph shown above. We used a 12'' Mead LX200 Telescope and a ST2000XCM Camera. The chip temperature was -29 degrees Celsius. The sky conditions for that night were: night after a storm, clean sky, dark sky, no moon, and object photographed in the west.The steps I did in CCDops were : dark subtract, auto apply, flat field, single shot color process, sRGB+gamma, saved image and then I repeated these steps for the second photo. The steps I did in Registax: I only used the first two photo's we took because the other two were too off centered to align correctly; stretched intensity levels, set the parameters as instructed, chose my alignment stars, checked "stack size," clicked "limit" and "optimize & stack" buttons, and then saved the image.The steps I did in Photoshop: used levels & curves to bring up the Helix and reduce the sky, brought down the green curve to get rid of green pixels, increased the saturation and brightness, and flipped the canvas horizontally. Lastly, I followed the size adjustment instructions in order to create the correctly sized images for my printed picture, the gallery picture, and the thumbnail gallery picture. 

 

 


Selena Zamora. Crescent Nebula (NGC6888). 12" Meade Dome Telescope, ST2000XCM, 3x5min. October 6, 2015 @7:50pm. Cabrillo Observatory Dome. Clear sky, no moon. CCDOPS: Dark subtract dk-20c, Flat field, Color process sRGB+gamma. Registax: Stacked 2 frames (one frame had an airplane going across, so I decided to throw it out). Photoshop: Curve and Levels (dark gray sky), hue and saturation (brighten object, correct color), Unsharp mask (sharpen image), Space Noise Reduction, Clone stamp tool (fix pixels). Adjusted size for print.

 

Ricardo Espinoza, Messier 15(M15), globular cluster, 12" Meade LX200, ST2000XCM, 5x5 min, Dec.1,2015, 22:00:00 PT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome, CCDOPS: Version 5.54 build 15 Dark Subtract -30c, Flat Field, Color Process SRGB+gamma, Partially Cloudy, Moon visibility 68%, Registax: Version 6.1.0.8, Stack 2 Frames Photoshop Version: 7.0,Levels (darken background),Curves (reduced,red,blue,RBG),Exposure -0.56,Offset +0.0084,Gamma Correction +0.78,Crop and size for print and gallery.

 

 

Little Dumbbell Nebula Messier-76 in Constellation Perseus. -2 exposures taken at the Cabrillo observatory. The two exposures that were taken of the Little Dumbbell Nebula using a St2000xcm camera and a 12” telescope. Using CCDops5 for detail processing I lightened the Darkness by using Dark subtract, then used flat field to lighten and even out the darker corners and image as a whole. which corrected the darkeness on the photo evenly and finsihed the corrections with Single shot Color using RGB + gamma and usuing some color in the photo. I followingly stacked the two images on Registax6. After I aligned the pictures by selecting default method, Alignbox size 128 and choose the lowest quality to insure all the images would be used. First I choose 1 image using a very bright star near M-76 then converting it to a TIFF file for use in Photoshop. Once in Photoshop I used curves to slightly fix the dark sky color to get a more insured photo. I slightly increased the saturation to increase the blue-ish purple color. I then used a tool to shink the surrounding stars to have the main focus on the nubula. I changed the resolution to 300 pixels per inch and saved as a .jpg format, to export and frame my 8x10 photo. This process would have been a little more expeirencial if i had taken this photo myself. This picture was given to me due to the limited nights we had at the obsevatory. Nonetheleast it was great learning to edit this Little dumbbel Nubula.

 

Erika Hernandez's photo was taken with Rick Nolthenius of M92, NGC 6341 in constellation Hercules. On 10/20/15 at 9:14pm with the st2000xcm camera through a 12" reflector. It was a clear and dry night, with the moon out. Stack size is "3/3", I was able to get three pictures that night. Each image was dark subtracted at -20 degrees and flat fielded. Finally on photoshop, I adjusted the brightness and color levels. I also sharpened the picture by using unsharp mask.

 

Kenia Escobar

Fall 2014
Astro 8A
Open Cluster NCG6830 in Constellation Vulpecula. Taken by ST2000, 12 inches Dome telescope. Time was 20:00, Cabrillo Observatory Dome, Temperature :-24c.
CCDOPS: Version 5.1, Dark Subtract, Auto Apply, Flat Field, Single Shot Color Process, sRGB+gamma, Saved image then repeated steps. 
Photoshop steps: Adjustments are levels and curves, then hue & saturation, changed the saturation only. Went to Filter, sharpen and then unsharp mask tab.  Last edit on image was Contrast. 

 

Object: Owl Cluster/ NGC 457 /C13

Picture taken 1Dec2015

Weather: 42 degrees F.
The Moon was at 68%(Moon was not present at time of the picture) at 2045.
Partially cloudy.

Equipment: Telescope: 12 inch
Camera: ST2K 2000 CM

Steps: CCDOPS Version 5 Dark Subtract, Flat Field -30, RGB+gamma, Stack 2 frames, Noise reduction made stars sharper and smaller, moved the curves, Brighten and Contrast. 

 

Calum Johnson The Lagoon Nebula M8, NGC 6523 12” Meade LX200 scope ST2000XCM 2.1 megapixel color CCD 3x5min exposures Steps in CCDOPS: First thing first, I reformatted the image to 1:2 so that I could see what I was working with. Then I did dark subtract on each using the -18 °C dark frame. Flat fields were used for each photo. When converting to color I opted with sRGB+Gamma method. Steps in Registax: I processed in color using the peripherals given: alignment method was default, alignbox size 128, lowest quality zero. I then found a uncrowded star to align the three frames. There weren’t any issues with the alignment, so I kept going. Steps in Photoshop: Right off the bat I started with getting rid of all the pixels that were solid green/red/blue. These were just artifacts left by the CCD camera. This was all done with the patch tool. The next problem was the overall haziness. To combat this I used curves to bring my darks down just a bit. I also opted for slightly more contrast to get a more definite nebula shape. Due to the awkward angle at the time of shooting, the telescope couldn’t keep very steady. This made the images look out of focus. I tried making the stars appear more in focus/smaller using the make stars smaller action. I also used the unsharp mask to get rid of some of the fuzziness. I also found using the space noise reduction really helped get rid of that extra noise. Lastly I cropped the image to an 8x10 format, exported it to JPEG with the highest image quality, and took it to Bay Photo Lab for some prints.

 

The dark frame was a dk5-24.s2k with a -24 degree Celsius  chip temperature. The image was flat fielded and to convert the image to color the method I used was the sRGB+gamma within the 16 bit range.

In Registax by selecting all images created in CCDops and compile them into 1 image usually showing some color before moving into photoshop.
By using the curve function first it immediately lowers the haziness of the photo, then by switching the levels back and forth the perfect light combination was achieved and moving on to saturation the color was brought out and the image was then sharpened, resized and printed/emailed.

-Jacob Coffelt