This semester's intrepid astro-philes got some nice shots on their photo project. We got them the experience of using the 12" computer-controlled telescope with ST2000XCM CCD camera, and the popular objects were .... galaxies! We also had a rare opportunity for a bright comet. In early March, we met for the first half of class at the top of Horticulture Hill and watched Comet PanSTARRS make a beautiful conjunction with the cresent moon. More photos from that adventure are here.

Jonathan Neel

Image Subject: Black Eye Galaxy, M64 in Coma Berenice's
5/15/13, 3 x 5 min exposures at 22:00:52, 22:09:08, 22:15:41
Temp: -23 degrees C. Taken with the 12" f/6.3 scope
In CCDOPS I put each image through a dark subtrack with a dark frame for -23ST2K, and then flat fielded them and used SRGB + gamma color process.
In Registax, I set the Lowest quality at zero and attempted to align the photos. Since one of the photos was aligned far off of the other two, there was some difficulty in aligning all 3 at once, so I first stacked the two closer images together, and then used a larger alignbox to stack the problematic image to the other two.
In photoshop, I started by adjusting my curves and levels and then used the hue & saturation settings to bring out the colors in my galaxy. I used the Astronomy Tools "deep space noise reduction" and "color blotch reduction" to clean up the noise before finally cropping and sizing the picture to the proper orientation and specifications.

Benjamin Stahl. NGC 2683, Spiral Galaxy. 12" Meade LX200, ST2000CM, 6 x 5 min Feb. 27, 2013 05:49:13 - 06:25:15 UT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome. CCDOPS: Version 5 Dark subtract -30C, Flat field, Color process sRGB+gamma. Registax: Version 5, Stack 6 frames. Photoshop CS6: Version 13.0, actions from Neil Carboni's Astronomy Tools for Photoshop (Make stars smaller, Less crunchy more fuzzy, space noise reduction, deep space noise reduction, color blotch reduction) primarily to minimize noise, Stamp tool (remove bad pixels), Levels (adjust greens and blues), Brightness +11, Curves (adjust background brightness), Crop and size for print and gallery.

Samuel Jackson. Needle Galaxy - NGC 4565

3x5min, 5/21/13, clear skies with partial moon on Mead 12' telescope at Cabrillo Observatory

Image Processing Steps:

-dark frame correction
-flat field correction
-convert to color
   In Registax
-stacking and alignment
   In Photoshop
-brightness reduced
-contrast increased
-clone stamp on dead pixels
-sharpen filter
-curves adjustment
-PS action: local contrast enhancement
-PS action: space noise reduction
-PS action: deep space noise reduction

Dominick's photo (not his, from previous semester. Did not get photo) No name (N4414), 8" Meade IDx75, ST4000xcm, 1x8min 4x6min may 10, 2012 07:35 - 08:01 UT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome CCDOPS: version 5.54 build 15 Dark subtract -30C, Flat Field, Color process sRBG+gamma, Registax: version 4.1, Stack 5 frames photoshop: version 7.0, Levels (darken sky)Curves, color balance, hue/Saturation, brightness/ contrast, make stars smaller, light pollution reducer, less crunchy more fuzzy, space noise reducer, and reduce small blue/ violet rings, Crop to size and print for gallery

Faye's Photo: M63 Sunflower Galaxy. 3x5 min. 12 Meade LX200 April 11 22:17:32
Three five minute photos were taken on the 12" Meade telescope. Each one of my photos taken were flat fielded, dark subtracted, and color corrected. I used CCDOPS for these corrections. Then, in Registax, i stacked all three photos, alligned them. After that I brought the photo up in Photoshop. There i adjusted the levels of my image. I used the sharpening tool to let my image look less pixilated and clearer. Then to darken my sky and highlight my galaxy i used the curves tool. This helped emphasize my galaxy's natural color. I finally used the brightness/contrast tool additionally. Lastly I used, in PS actions, the space noise reduction tool, and also the "make stars smaller" tool as well. After using the "color blotch reduciton" tool, I completed my photo.

Francisco Cardenas,NGC 2903,Barred Spiral Galaxy,12" Meade LX200,ST200xcm,2x300.000 second exposure,we had problems calibrating the telescope, May 21, 2013 9:50:58pm,Cabrillo Obsercatory Dome CCDOPS:Version5.54 build 20 Dark subtract -20c,Flat field,Color process SRGB+gamma, Registax:Version 6.1 stack 2 frames Photoshop:Version 6, curves(darken the background), levels(make the sky more gray), Dust and scratchesx3( to make the image more clear),Despeckle,Sharpen,Cropx2(i was not happy with the first crop),Hue(made the hue dim),saturation(left as is),Image size for print and gallery

Journey's photo: No name (M101) , 12" Mead LX200, ST2000XCM, 3x5 min May 5, 2013 04:25-04:37 UT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome CCDOPS: Version 5.54 built 15 Dark subtract -30C, Flat Field, Color Process sRGB+gamma, Registax: version, Stack 3 frames Photoshop: version 7.0 Level (darken sky), Curves (removing green), Space noise reduction, Select brighter stars, Clone stamp, Deep space reduction, Crop and size for print and gallery

M100 (NGC 4321). Austin Jacobs, 12" Meade LX200, ST2000CM, 3x5 min. April 9, 2013 21:20:14 UT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome. Three five minute photos were taken on the 12" Meade telescope. Each photo underwent dark subtraction, flat field correction, and color conversion using the CCDOPS Version 5 software. The images where then stacked using Registax Version 5 software. The final stacked imaged was edited in Photoshop. Curves was used to enhance contrast. Noise, sharpen detail, and white levels were reduced. Clone stamp was used to remove excess noise and to correct the image's overall appearance. The image was cropped to size and printed.

Kim's Photo: This photo was shot  with the ST2000CM on 4/16/2013 at the Cabrillo College Observatory.  The night was perfectly clear, dry with a 40%crescent moon.   Photo was aligned in Registax and then adjusted in Photoshop using curves, noise reduction, brightness, and hue/saturation.


Dean Cutter, 4/9/2013, Cone Nebula, NGC2264, between Canis Major and Orion, 12'' Meade scope @-20 degrees, 3 five minute exposures ending 9:59 p.m. A 4th initial shot was discarded for being off target. Object in west evening glow and city lights. Some haze. CCDOPS dark subtracted w/"Flatnut7.st2k", flatfield in stan- dard method. Color conversion in sRGB+gamma to bring out faint cone, saved as tiff file. Registax stacking parameters (alignment method: default, alignbox size: 128, lowest quality:0). Anchor star for alignment isolated and bright, all 3 photos aligned. Stacked image washed out, obscure, faint "v" indicated cone nebula. Photoshop used levels, curves, color saturation to enhance. Diminishing red made cone disappear but enhancing reds conflicted with realistic "deep space" look. Adding red made it look fake so stayed close to original value. Darkening brought out object but stopped before got too fake dark. It would be productive to attempt again using photo with more potential.

Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), Spiral galaxy.Jarred Gillette,12" Meade LX200, SBIG ST-2K Color Dual CCD Camera, 4x5 minute exposures May 1, 2013 04:53-05:18 UT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome CCDOPS: Version 5.48 build 13-NT, Dark subtract -23C, Flat field, Color process sRGB+gamma, Registax: Version 5.1, Stack 3 frames(first exposure did not track correctly), Photoshop:Version 7, Actions: Space noise reduction and Make stars smaller, Photoshop:Version CS6, Curves(reduced red,blue,&green curves to remove noise), Saturation(reduced green saturation), Stamp-tool(removed bad pixels), Crop and size for print and gallery.

Matt Partida Astro 8A Spring 2013 Messier 90 (Virgo) - Two five minute exposures were taken with a SBIG ST2000XCM color CCD camera through a 12" LX200 dome scope. Both exposures were dark frame & flat field corrected, then colorized in CCDOps. Next the two images were stacked into one with Registax 5, using the default alignment method. In photoshop CS2, the image was cropped and reduced of noise. Curves and levels were adjusted to show more detail. Brightness was slightly reduced and the imaged was sharpened before printed. Messier 90 (Virgo) - May 21st 2013 Matt Partida , 2 x 5 mins , ST2000XCM 12" LX200 @ Cabrillo Observatory

NGC 891, Spiral Galaxy. Kyle O'Hara, 12" Meade LX200, ST2000XCM, 4x5 min. Feb. 27, 2013 04:42:12-05:24:33 UT, Cabrillo Observatory Dome CCDOPS: Version 5 Dark Subtract -30C, Flat Field, Color Process sRBG+gamma, Registax: Version 5, Stack 4 frames Photoshop CS2, Levels (darken background), Stamp tool (remove bad pixels), Deep space noise reduction, Make stars smaller, Curves (adjust brightness), Saturation (reduce red by 5 points), Median (1 pixel), increase Brightness, reduce Contrast, Size for print and gallery. (sized right, with thumb correct as well. On time)

Orion nebula M42,NGC 1976. Richard Beach, Astro 8A. 12 in. Meade LX200, ST2000XCM. Feb, 26, 2013 20:01:09 to 20:30:25. Cabrillo Observatory dome. Clear sky, no moon. CCDOPS: Version 5.54, Dark frame correction, dk5-30.st2k, 300, -30 C, Flat field correction, Color conversion SRGB + gamma. Registrax: Version, Stack 5 frames. Photoshop Version 7.0, Image/levels to darken & bring out pink/purple clouds, Curves,Sharpen. Crop and size for print and gallery.

(Early, sized right. No thumbnail)