Our Final Exam day is part pot-luck, part final lab projects, and fun showing off our astrophotography. Our last lab projects are to construct folded light curves for our project variable stars: Delta Cephei, and eclipsing binary Beta Lyrae, and post up the photometry magnitudes from the students for our other variable stars; the RV Tauri star R Scuti, and the long period variable Chi Cygni. The fun is having the students post their magnitudes on the whiteboard light curve charts, and then I free-hand in the actual magnitudes with the help of the astronomical community's brightness measurements, and then celebrate the student who's magnitudes best fit the real light curve. Winners of each light curve get 3 extra credit points (out of 100) added to their Night Labs book total score, or about 1/3 of a grade, so it's substantial. Cole won two of the light curves, for 6 extra credit points!

Cole was our winner, for both Beta Lyrae and R Scuti. Congratulations!

Shannon nailed both the bright and faint ends of the Beta Lyrae light curve

Here's our photo gallery. Got some nice shots; we lucked out on some good clean nights while the 12" dome scope was working well.


Kazandra Angelo. Hercules Globular Cluster (M13), Hercules constellation. 12” Dome, ST2000XCM, 3X5 min, 9/13/2016, Cabrillo observatory dome. Mostly clear night, with some clouds sweeping over, moon was at 90% waxing and at opposite end of my object. CCDOPS: Dark subtract -23C, Flat Field, Color Process sRGB+gamma. Registax: stacked 3 photos. Photoshop: Saturation +45 (enhance color of entire photo), saturation increase (only blue), cropped edges, curves (darken background/brighten other colors).


Step 1. blow up the image and use the spot healing brush to smooth out the stray pixels caught in the camera

Step 2. Open the HUE editor and remove the green form the image. 

step 3. use the healing brush to lend the "donuts" with the background space. 

step 4. use the make stars smaller macro

step 5. Deep space noise reduction macro

step 6 adjust the the curve in order to brighten the nebula and darken the surrounding skies.




Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888), Emission Nebula. Brian Orser, 4x5min exposures, Meade 12" LX200 12" in Dome, ST 2000 XTM, Oct. 4 2016, 5:40-6:20 UT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome, Aptos, CA. Declination: +38. Chip Temperature: Exp. 1-2 -20C, Exp. 3-6 -23C. Sky Conditions: Clear sky, a bit of humidity. No moon, no clouds, no wind. Notes: We had trouble due to object being high in sky, and gravity pulling lens out of focus. For image 1 and 2, chip temp. was -20C. We had to lower to -23C to improve focus for images 3-6. Images one and two out of focus and discarded. CCDOPS5: Dark Subtract -23 C, Flat Field, single shot sRGB color process. RegiStax 4: Stack four frames. Photoshop CS6, using Neil Carboni's "Astronomy Tools for Photoshop": Hue/Saturation to reduce greens, "Lighten Only DSO and Dimmer Stars," Curves, Unsharp Mask, "Enhance DSO and Reduce Stars," Curves, "Lighten Only DSO and Dimmer Stars," Curves, Unsharp Mask, Hue/Saturation to reduce cyan, Color Range Selection and Match Color to remove remaining greens, Unsharp Mask, Healing Brush to remove hot pixels, Crop.


Cole Dudley
, Globular Cluster in the constellation Lyra, 12" Meade LX200, ST2000XCS 3x1min photos with adaptive dark subtract. Oct. 26th 2016 21:09 UT, Patchy cloudy conditions, Waning Crescent moon with 16% visibility, Cabrillo Observatary Dome CCDOps using Adaptive Dark Subtract -23c, Flat field, Color process DPP, Registax5, 3 stack frames Photoshop cc, Color Blotch Reduction X2 (remove bad pixels), Spot healing Brush at 5. Thickness (to take out bad pixels), Curves (to increase the contrast), Space Noise reduction (to sharpen the image), Cropping and size for print and gallery.



David Duncan, M22 Globular Cluster, 12" Dome LX200 Telescope with ST2000XCM Camera, Chip temp. -23 Celsius, Fall 9/13/16 @8:55pm. 3x5min.exposures stacked. David Duncan, M22 Globular Cluster, 12" Dome LX200 Telescope with ST2000XCM Camera, Chip temp. -23 Celsius, 9/13/16 @8:55pm. 3x5min.exposures stacked. It rained earlier in the morning and was cloudy until 3:30pm. The moon was in a waxing Gibbous and over the lights of Santa Cruz, illuminating the sky. The visability was relatively clear besides some patchy fog that moved quickly through the air but did not affect the images. It should be noted that there was moisture in the air that night. Using CCDPOPS, I used dak subract with -23 Celsius and set a magnitude of 1.2, 9/22/15 #3 Flat Field to subtract dark corners and donut, single shot color process in CCDOPS, using the DDP function, saved as a 16bit Tiff file. Images alligned and stacked in Registax without image adjustments. Then the stacked image was processed in Photoshop. The color was sharpened twice and color blotch reduction was used, made stars smaller, and used the brush tool to spot heal burnt out pixels on the imaging chip, used the Curves tool to decrease glare and allow the stars to be more defined, the RBG output and input was also curved. The final image was saved as a jpeg file and then an 8x10 high resolution picture was printed at Bay Photo.


Rafael Soto Messier-92, Globular Cluster,(M-92) 10/25/16, 8:04 pm, 3x5 minute exposures, Cabrillo Obsrvatory Dome LX200, Camera:ST2000XCM, Chip Temp:-23c, CCDOPS:Dark subtracted DK5-23.st2k/ flat field, color processed with DDP, stacked in Registax:5.1, used Photoshop to the best of my abilities, removed bad pixels with healing brush tool (stamp tool), cropped and sized for print and gallery


M27 "Dumbbell Nebula" in Vulpecula constellation.

10-4-16 20:22
12'' Dome Telescope
ST2000XCM Camera
Sky Conditions: Moon 20%, low in sky, below tree lines. West from Saturn in Libra. Clear sky. No humidity. Dry night. Chip Temp: -20.

Imaging Processing Steps:

3 images of 5 min exposure each with CCDOP5. Subtracted dark frame, utility flat field, converted to color. SRB6 with Gamma. Saved as TIFF file. Stacked in Registax5 without image adjustments. Photoshop: Increased saturation levels, slightly increased contrast brightness. Adjusted blue output in curves. Deep space noise reduction, light pollution removal. Curved red in Nebula to keep pink from being washed out. Cropped photo, sharpened and properly sized.




Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) in the Ursa Minor Constellation (Shayna M. Troy) 3x-5 mins exposures taken on October 4, 2016; 9:06pm PST Cabrillo College Observatory, Aptos, California. Using a 12” dome scope, ST200 XCM Altitude: +24/Chip Temp: -20 degrees Sky Conditions: A clear and bright sky; above Santa Cruz; object was low; moon was in the sky, crescent ¼ size; minimal clouds, if any; object at least 90 degrees from the moon. *Notes: I originally was photographing M102 and it was way too low CCDOPS: This program was used for flat fielding, dark subtracting, and color processing with (sRGB+gamma) as well as change the format type. RegiStax 5.1: I used this program to stack and optimize my images. Adobe Photoshop 7.0: After importing my image into Photoshop, I had to crop the outside portion of my picture. Next, I used curves to darken the darks of my picture and lighten the galaxy itself. Then, I use hue saturation to eliminate the green speckles in my picture. Next, I used the clone stamp to remove my donut and the small donut at the bottom. Lastly, I did some last adjustments with the curves. Once I completed the Photoshop process, I changed the image size (brought down to a 1025 in order to keep the other measurement 763) then resized it again into a thumbnail at 216X159 and saved them as “web ready”. Finally I email the images and unformatted description to Rick on 12/6/2016.

Eagle Nebula (M16), Open cluster. (Evgeny Yakushev), 12'' Meade LX200, ST2000XCM, 3x5 min Oct. 4, 2016 19:53 - 19:59 PCT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome CCDOPS: Version 5.54 build 15 dark subtract -20C, Flat field, Color process sRGB+Gamma, Registax: Version, stack 3 frames, Photoshop: Version 7.0, Enhance DSO & Reduce Stars, Make Stars smaller x2, Space Noise Reduction, Local Contrast Enhance, Light Curves (darker background, brighter nebula)