My Top Dozen - Personal Favorite Astrophotographs

The Best of the Rest

The Orion Nebula. Oct 7, 2007 at Pinnacles. 7x5min stack. Photoshop levels, 5x 'make stars smaller', 'space noise redux', 'deep space noise redux', 3x 'local contrast enhance', 'enhance DSO/reduce stars', saturation. No cropping

The Veil Nebula - Sept 16, 2007 from Mono Hot Springs, CA under black skies. ST2000XCM + 8" f/4 Mead LXD75. 6x5min stacked in Registax 3, "sRGB+gamma" single-shot color processed in CCDOPS5, Photoshop CS2: levels, AstroTools: 'make stars smaller', 'space noise reduction', color saturation.

The Andromeda Galaxy - Aug 10, '07 from near Bridgeport, CA under black skies. ST2000XCM + Megrez. 6x5min stacked in Registax 3. "sRGB + gamma" single-shot color processed in CCDOPS ver 5, Photoshop CS2: levels, AstroTools: 2x 'make stars smaller', 'space noise reduction', 'local contrast enhance', color balance (towards blue), unsharp mask. No cropping. Note improvement in technique from essentially identical exposure on 'best of the rest' page.

Running Man Nebula- Jan 18, '07 from Coast Rd. Reservoir. 11x5min stacked in Registax3. Photoshop CS2: curves, cropped, unsharp mask, AstroTools 2x 'make stars smaller', 'space noise reduction', 'deep space noise reduction', 'DSO enhance, reduce stars', 'local contrast enhance'.

Comet McNaught, 6:59pm Jan 20, '07 from Bonny Doon Airfield. 1 minute guided. sRGB single shot color processed in CCDOPS5. Photoshop CS2: levels, color balance, rotate canvas, cosmetics on undersampled stars, AstroTools 'space noise reduction'. 4% cresent moon 3 degrees up, behind those trees, and lightened the sky significantly

The Lagoon Nebula - Oct 14, 2007 from Bonny Doon airfield with the Astro 9 students. 5x5min stack The nebula was low in the southwest, only 15 degrees up, and color separation due to refraction is evident on the brighter stars. Photoshop CS2: levels, saturation, smart sharpen (gaussian). AstroTools: 4x 'make stars smaller', 'deep space noise reduction', 'space noise reduction', re-leveled. Then 'enhance DSO/reduce stars', 'lighten DSO', saturation, cropped, releveled, unsharp mask. Compare this fine photo with one I took using the 80mm f/6 Megrez refractor, under perfect high Sierra conditions. The bigger, faster Meade 8" f/4 here is the easy winner, plus more experience with Photoshop.

Comet McNaught, Jan 11, 2007. From Hort Hill at Cabrillo College. Single 0.01sec exposure through the Megrez refractor in bright twilight and post-storm clouds. DDP single-shot color processing in CCDOPS. Slight hue/saturation and 'sharpen edges' in Photoshop CS2.

The Pelican Nebula Nov 4, 2007 from Coast Road Reservoir with Jessica G. Complete with bill full of fish, brightly H-alpha'd neck, and oyster pearl above his bill.

Comet Holmes, Oct 24 7:50pm from Horticulture Hill at Cabrillo "Don't Cross the Beams!". Two laser pointers show the near-stellar comet less than 24 hours after it's million-fold outburst, while students (and Karl w/ binoc's) look on. Minolta Dimage A1, 20 sec at ISO 100 to preserve S/N

The North America Nebula, from the Panama Canal to the Mississippi delta. 9x5min stack. Photoshop CS2: levels, smart sharpen (gaussian), Astro Tools: 2x 'make stars smaller', 2x 'space noise reduction', levels, saturation.

Gamma Cygni Complex. 6x10min stack taken with the 8" f/4 and ST4000XCM at Mono Hot Springs. Stacked in Registax 3 as Registax 4 failed repeatedly to keep the levels consistent. Pretty much every Photoshop and Astronomy Tools trick was put to use.