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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Astronomy & Celestial 
Thread started 20 Oct 2011 (Thursday) 11:46
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Milkyway nightscapes

 
davidfarina
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Jul 31, 2016 05:49 |  #3301

Wow crazy shots lately!!!!


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pdxbenedetti
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Jul 31, 2016 11:04 |  #3302

paloika wrote in post #18082222 (external link)
Love your work...please keep them coming!! Thanks for sharing the steps too!

Thanks, I try and share technical details when I'm not to tired to type them all out, ha. Probably after Milky Way season I'll start doing some tutorials on processing for these images.

Pagman wrote in post #18082256 (external link)
Lovely shots, I maight be wrong but I think some of your work may have been shown on Yahoo?

P.

Interesting, I haven't gotten any notifications from Yahoo, they do own Flickr so maybe they can use the images posted there without telling the photographer.


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Jul 31, 2016 11:20 |  #3303

basketballfreak6 wrote in post #18082444 (external link)
QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/KysW​Q4  (external link) In a dream (external link) by Tony (external link), on Flickr

Welcome to the world of stitching composites, one thing that is always difficult to control is the blue tint of distant mountains when layering over a sky shot. What I normally do in this case is after I mask my foreground I create a duplicate layer and just mask the mountains that are blue and then subtract some of that blue using curves. I've also started using masks on my sky near the horizon to increase highlights and make the transition from sky to the foreground a bit more natural instead of just a harsh contrast between the two. It's a good composite (saw the note about angle of the Milky Way on facebook ;) ), I'd just work on those blue mountains a little bit since they tend to grab your attention.


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basketballfreak6
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Jul 31, 2016 15:12 |  #3304

pdxbenedetti wrote in post #18082645 (external link)
Welcome to the world of stitching composites, one thing that is always difficult to control is the blue tint of distant mountains when layering over a sky shot. What I normally do in this case is after I mask my foreground I create a duplicate layer and just mask the mountains that are blue and then subtract some of that blue using curves. I've also started using masks on my sky near the horizon to increase highlights and make the transition from sky to the foreground a bit more natural instead of just a harsh contrast between the two. It's a good composite (saw the note about angle of the Milky Way on facebook ;) ), I'd just work on those blue mountains a little bit since they tend to grab your attention.

thanks Eric :D

my first ever composite after about 6 years doing this hobby lol...you're spot on about the distant blue mountains tho, it bothered me heaps but wasn't sure how i should approach getting rid of it

you said FB...guess you're on the LPN group too then hahaha ;)


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Jul 31, 2016 16:13 |  #3305

Coleyville in South East Queensland, Australia

IMAGE: https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8277/28562183962_af265a96da_o.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/KvWE​cC  (external link) Road to the Milky Way (external link) by Stephen Mudge (external link), on Flickr


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DavidWatts
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Jul 31, 2016 23:15 as a reply to  @ post 18082444 |  #3306

^ That's about as WOW as it gets. Print that one up big.


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Aug 01, 2016 00:24 |  #3307

DavidWatts wrote in post #18083220 (external link)
^ That's about as WOW as it gets. Print that one up big.

I totally agree!! Wonderful picture!!


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Aug 01, 2016 07:23 |  #3308

From the dock in Muskoka this weekend. 14mm, 25 seconds, f2.8, ISO 3200

IMAGE: https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8568/28608835331_b68dae7620_b.jpg

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Aug 01, 2016 14:40 |  #3309

pdxbenedetti wrote in post #18082185 (external link)
A couple from last night:

Shot this one at the end of astronomical twilight so there's a bit of a light gradient from right to left, still a little bit of light towards the west (far right of the shot) while it was pretty much dark to the east (far left of the shot). 4 shots for the sky, 4 shots for the foreground, sky shots are 3 minutes, ISO 800, f2.5, foreground shots are 1 minutes, ISO 800, f2.5. All shots taken with my Nikon D600 and Rokinon 24mm f1.4 lens on a Sky Watcher Star Adventurer tracking mount.

QUOTED IMAGE


10 shots for this one, 4 for the sky, 4 for the foreground, and 2 for the reflections. Sky shots were 3 minutes, ISO 800, and f2.5. Foreground shots were 3 minutes, ISO 800, f1.4. Reflection shots were 45 seconds, ISO 1600, f1.4. All were taken with my Nikon D600 and Rokinon 24mm f1.4 lens on a Sky Watcher Star Adventurer tracking mount. While I shooting one of the sky shots a beaver swam up near me and slapped its tail SUPER hard on the water, nearly jumped out of my skin it scared me so much, lol.


QUOTED IMAGE

Love the reflections. Will have to try that out :)


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pdxbenedetti
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Aug 01, 2016 17:14 |  #3310

gaabnz wrote in post #18083809 (external link)
Love the reflections. Will have to try that out :)

I think I've finally found the sweet spot in terms of getting reflection shots with the tracker, the 45 second exposures at ISO 1600 and f1.4 worked out really well. The longer the exposure the more star trailing I get when I use that tracking mount, I've even tried reversing the tracking (switching it to southern hemisphere) to try and account for the mirror effect, but that only made the trailing worse. I still get a little bit of trailing at 45 seconds, but it's hard to capture enough light with a lower exposure.


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MedicineMan4040
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Aug 02, 2016 01:03 |  #3311

Headed to a truly dark sky spot next week....with my luck it will be cloudy and there will be a sliver of a Moon
but it will be my best chance in a long time for a MW shot.
I have an Ioptron Skytracker but don't know/remember the 'settings'.
Can someone off a quick reminder.
Slider set to 'N' right for northern hemisphere.
The other slider?
I did try to find a manual on-line but failed :(

I have a choice of the Rokinon 14mm or 24mm, and forgot even the Rok 8mm.
I can also take the Tamron 15-30/2.8
Which would you choose? I bet most would say the Rok 14mm.


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Aug 02, 2016 01:13 |  #3312

Rok 24 for the faster aperture then stop it down a stop. Take multiple shots with your tracker and stitch. That's what I would attempt in your shoes


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Aug 02, 2016 05:31 |  #3313

xpfloyd wrote in post #18084253 (external link)
Rok 24 for the faster aperture then stop it down a stop. Take multiple shots with your tracker and stitch. That's what I would attempt in your shoes

Thanks Eddie just PRAY for no clouds!


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Aug 02, 2016 09:31 |  #3314

pdxbenedetti wrote in post #18083935 (external link)
I think I've finally found the sweet spot in terms of getting reflection shots with the tracker, the 45 second exposures at ISO 1600 and f1.4 worked out really well. The longer the exposure the more star trailing I get when I use that tracking mount, I've even tried reversing the tracking (switching it to southern hemisphere) to try and account for the mirror effect, but that only made the trailing worse. I still get a little bit of trailing at 45 seconds, but it's hard to capture enough light with a lower exposure.

If you are getting trailing while on a tracking mount then there are a few things to check.

First and foremost... which tracker are you using and what tracking rate is it using? For clean stars, you need to track at sidereal speed. Some trackers have rates for lunar tracking speed, solar tracking speed, and often a few arbitrary speeds. Make sure your tracker is set to the correct speed (stars move at "sidereal" speed -- more accurately, that is the angular rate of the Earth's spin. It's almost, but not quite, exactly 15 arc-seconds per second for a star located at declination 0º.)

Next, make sure the rotation axis is actually pointed at the celestial pole. Polaris (the North star) is located about 2/3rds of a degree away from the celestial pole. Polaris is located at the end of the "handle" of the "Little Dipper" (Ursa Minor) and the star at the opposite end of the constellation (end of the "bowl") is Kochab. If you were to draw an imaginary line from Polaris to Kochab then the true North Celestial Pole is located on that line, 2/3rds of a degree away from Polaris. Keep in mind that the diameter of a full moon is 1/2º. So the Celestial Pole is more about 1 and 1/3rd moon-diameters away from Polaris (farther than many might guess).

Here's a diagram:


HOSTED PHOTO
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(I see the text is a bit small... the text in red near the center has a tiny "+" and says "North Celestial Pole". Believe it or not you can actually fit a "full moon" between Polaris and that tiny little red "+" and have room to spare (the distance is greater than most people might guess.)

If Polaris is "centered" in the alignment scope then the mount would be "close" but not accurate (longer focal lengths or long exposures would see trailing.) I've gone 8 minutes with my 135mm with no trailing ... but that was after a very careful alignment to the true North Celestial Pole.

If you are using a polar scope to align the mount head WITHOUT the weight of the camera, then you add the weight of the camera only AFTER the head is aligned, this weight can cause the mount head to sag a little and take it out of alignment.

Also keep in mind that polar alignment scopes may themselves not actually be aligned. Some of them have adjustment screws that allow you to shift the position of the alignment reticle. There are numerous techniques that can be used to validate the accuracy of a polar alignment

Imprecise polar alignment is typically the most-likely cause... but here are some less-likely causes:

It's also possible to pick up trailing caused by flexure of the mount as it tracks. If the camera and lens are "light" and if the tripod is beefy then this is unlikely to be the problem. A few of the trackers allow the camera to be mounted in a way that makes it neutrally balanced (my Losmandy StarLapse does this and there's an optional accessory for the Sky Watcher Star-Adventurer that does this). The idea is that as the camera is rotating, the center of gravity will shift and the mount can "flex" in response to this shifting center of gravity -- causing just enough movement to smear the stars. If the camera is neutrally balanced then the center of gravity won't change as it tracks. Flexure is more likely to occur in very long exposures (where the center of gravity can shift more significantly if the load isn't balanced.) Usually the weight is very slightly shifted to the "east" so that the gears have to "lift" the weight to drive the rotation. This is because with the camera locked in, there's probably just a tiny bit of slop (gear back-lash) and that can result in poor tracking. By gently shifting the weight so that it's mostly (but not quite perfectly) balanced will keep the gears engaged at one side of the backlash to avoid that being a problem.

Similar to "flexure" is vibration. A pretty good breeze can create enough vibration to ruin an image. Hanging a weight on the center-hook of a beefy tripod should be able to reduce that.

There are also some mechanical things that can cause the problem. "Periodic Error" is more noticeable at longer focal lengths. The idea is that the rotation is driven by a worm gear which engages a spur gear. That worm gear won't be precise. As it rotates at a steady rate, imperfections can cause the rotation to very fractionally speed up or slow down in parts of the cycle (and since the worm has a known period of rotation this error would occur at periodic intervals... hence "periodic error").

You can also get error caused by misadjustment of the gears. If the gear is too tight then the rotation of the "worm" gear might actually "lift" on the teeth of the "spur" gear. This is much less likely but I have known a few people to run into this problem.

The direction of the elongation can be a clue as to the problem. If you know which way is "north" in any image (from the center of any image... which way to the "north" celestial pole (assuming a north hemisphere observer). If the smear is parallel to that direction then it's often a problem with polar alignment but it could be a mis-adjusted gear where the worm is "lifting" on the spur. If the smear is perpendicular to that direction then it's often a problem with the tracking rate.

Lastly, my tracker wants 12v DC power but the manufacturer says the actual tolerance is pretty wide... it'll accept anything from 7v to 18v. The "problem" is that they also warn that at lower voltage levels, the motors lose torque and this *may* cause some slipping as it tracks. So make sure you have good power to driver your mount (if using batteries, make sure they're good batteries.)

Most of the time the trailing on stars is caused by imprecise polar alignment.

Flexure is usually only an issue with heavier loads (very light loads probably won't experience flexure unless the tripod is lightweight/undersized for the load -- a strong beefy tripod is better.)

Mechanical issues such as periodic error and problems with gear tension (and sometimes just dirty gears that need to be cleaned and re-lubricated) are "possible" but I suspect you wouldn't notice these errors (even if they're happening to you) unless you are using a very high focal length lens (super-telephoto or a telescope).



  
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pdxbenedetti
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Aug 02, 2016 10:08 |  #3315

TCampbell wrote in post #18084454 (external link)
If you are getting trailing while on a tracking mount then there are a few things to check.

First and foremost... which tracker are you using and what tracking rate is it using? For clean stars, you need to track at sidereal speed. Some trackers have rates for lunar tracking speed, solar tracking speed, and often a few arbitrary speeds. Make sure your tracker is set to the correct speed (stars move at "sidereal" speed -- more accurately, that is the angular rate of the Earth's spin. It's almost, but not quite, exactly 15 arc-seconds per second for a star located at declination 0º.)

Next, make sure the rotation axis is actually pointed at the celestial pole. Polaris (the North star) is located about 2/3rds of a degree away from the celestial pole. Polaris is located at the end of the "handle" of the "Little Dipper" (Ursa Minor) and the star at the opposite end of the constellation (end of the "bowl") is Kochab. If you were to draw an imaginary line from Polaris to Kochab then the true North Celestial Pole is located on that line, 2/3rds of a degree away from Polaris. Keep in mind that the diameter of a full moon is 1/2º. So the Celestial Pole is more about 1 and 1/3rd moon-diameters away from Polaris (farther than many might guess).

Here's a diagram:
thumbnail
Hosted photo: posted by TCampbell in
./showthread.php?p=180​84454&i=i214022902
forum: Astronomy & Celestial

(I see the text is a bit small... the text in red near the center has a tiny "+" and says "North Celestial Pole". Believe it or not you can actually fit a "full moon" between Polaris and that tiny little red "+" and have room to spare (the distance is greater than most people might guess.)

If Polaris is "centered" in the alignment scope then the mount would be "close" but not accurate (longer focal lengths or long exposures would see trailing.) I've gone 8 minutes with my 135mm with no trailing ... but that was after a very careful alignment to the true North Celestial Pole.

If you are using a polar scope to align the mount head WITHOUT the weight of the camera, then you add the weight of the camera only AFTER the head is aligned, this weight can cause the mount head to sag a little and take it out of alignment.

Also keep in mind that polar alignment scopes may themselves not actually be aligned. Some of them have adjustment screws that allow you to shift the position of the alignment reticle. There are numerous techniques that can be used to validate the accuracy of a polar alignment

Imprecise polar alignment is typically the most-likely cause... but here are some less-likely causes:

It's also possible to pick up trailing caused by flexure of the mount as it tracks. If the camera and lens are "light" and if the tripod is beefy then this is unlikely to be the problem. A few of the trackers allow the camera to be mounted in a way that makes it neutrally balanced (my Losmandy StarLapse does this and there's an optional accessory for the Sky Watcher Star-Adventurer that does this). The idea is that as the camera is rotating, the center of gravity will shift and the mount can "flex" in response to this shifting center of gravity -- causing just enough movement to smear the stars. If the camera is neutrally balanced then the center of gravity won't change as it tracks. Flexure is more likely to occur in very long exposures (where the center of gravity can shift more significantly if the load isn't balanced.) Usually the weight is very slightly shifted to the "east" so that the gears have to "lift" the weight to drive the rotation. This is because with the camera locked in, there's probably just a tiny bit of slop (gear back-lash) and that can result in poor tracking. By gently shifting the weight so that it's mostly (but not quite perfectly) balanced will keep the gears engaged at one side of the backlash to avoid that being a problem.

Similar to "flexure" is vibration. A pretty good breeze can create enough vibration to ruin an image. Hanging a weight on the center-hook of a beefy tripod should be able to reduce that.

There are also some mechanical things that can cause the problem. "Periodic Error" is more noticeable at longer focal lengths. The idea is that the rotation is driven by a worm gear which engages a spur gear. That worm gear won't be precise. As it rotates at a steady rate, imperfections can cause the rotation to very fractionally speed up or slow down in parts of the cycle (and since the worm has a known period of rotation this error would occur at periodic intervals... hence "periodic error").

You can also get error caused by misadjustment of the gears. If the gear is too tight then the rotation of the "worm" gear might actually "lift" on the teeth of the "spur" gear. This is much less likely but I have known a few people to run into this problem.

The direction of the elongation can be a clue as to the problem. If you know which way is "north" in any image (from the center of any image... which way to the "north" celestial pole (assuming a north hemisphere observer). If the smear is parallel to that direction then it's often a problem with polar alignment but it could be a mis-adjusted gear where the worm is "lifting" on the spur. If the smear is perpendicular to that direction then it's often a problem with the tracking rate.

Lastly, my tracker wants 12v DC power but the manufacturer says the actual tolerance is pretty wide... it'll accept anything from 7v to 18v. The "problem" is that they also warn that at lower voltage levels, the motors lose torque and this *may* cause some slipping as it tracks. So make sure you have good power to driver your mount (if using batteries, make sure they're good batteries.)

Most of the time the trailing on stars is caused by imprecise polar alignment.

Flexure is usually only an issue with heavier loads (very light loads probably won't experience flexure unless the tripod is lightweight/undersized for the load -- a strong beefy tripod is better.)

Mechanical issues such as periodic error and problems with gear tension (and sometimes just dirty gears that need to be cleaned and re-lubricated) are "possible" but I suspect you wouldn't notice these errors (even if they're happening to you) unless you are using a very high focal length lens (super-telephoto or a telescope).

Lol, I'm not getting star trailing in the sky, I get trailing in the REFLECTIONS in water. I have no problem with the precise polar alignment on both of my trackers and taking up to 15 minute exposures with no trailing up to 50mm focal lengths (haven't tried my 85mm at those lengths, but I imagine it would be no problem either).


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Milkyway nightscapes
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