12/30/2023 – A Flaming Star Nebula

The scope has been put away for the last couple weeks due to the weather and just all the stuff going on with Christmas and such. The forecast looked pretty good for Saturday night, even though the Moon was nearing full, so I figured I’d try to get one more session out of 2023.

I set up, leveled, and balanced the scope. I shot a new set of 180 second darks. I need to shoot some new flats since I have the ZWO Duo-band Filter and the SVBONY .8 Focal Reducer Flattener in the image train, but just going with what I have for now.

Once the Sun set I ran the Ekos Focus Routine, focus steps were set to 10335. Plate solving is calculating the focal length to be 569.6 mm, F/5.6. With the scope in focus and plate solving working I ran the Ekos Polar Alignment. It was a fair bit off but I was able to get it dialed in pretty quick. I ran the polar alignment routine 3 times – West, East, West.

Primary (Imaging) Secondary (Guiding)
Scope: SVBONY SV503 102ED, SVBONY 0.8 Focal Reducer
Filter: ZWO Duo-band Filter
Camera: ZWO ASI294 MC Pro, Cooled to -10 C
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Mount: Sky Watcher EQ6-R Pro
Scope: SVBONY SV106 60mm Guide Scope
Camera: Orion Star Shooter Autoguider (OSSAG)
Equipment Control and Imaging Software: KStars/Ekos connecting to INDI Server on a Raspberry Pi
Processing Software: Siril

I set a capture sequence to capture 60 x 180 second exposures at 121 gain, 30 offset, and bin 2×2 of the emission and reflection nebula IC 405. I have captured IC 405 in the past but not using the duo-band filter, and not for this length of time.

After the sequence finished I captured an additional 3 x 3 minute exposures in case I need to throw any away due to airplanes or whatever. I wanted to make sure I had a pretty solid 3 hours of data. Parked and covered the scope just after 10 PM.

IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula, is an emission and reflection nebula in the constellation of Auriga. This is the results of a Siril processed stack of 63 x 180 second exposures, 3 hours and 3 minutes of total time.
IC 405, The Flaming Star Nebula, 12/30/2023, 63 x 180 seconds, processed in Siril.
I think it turned out pretty nice. Needs new flats, but… not bad, was able to tease out some of the details in the clouds. Had fun processing this one.

I am starting to learn a bit more about Siril and not just pushing buttons. I used the Siril OSC_Extract_HaOIII script to apply calibration frames (some old flats and the new darks), stack and extract the OIII and Ha data. Using pixel math I applied Ha to the Red channel, OIII to the Blue channel, and 70% OIII and 30 Ha to the Green channel. Cropped, removed green noise, color calibration and saturation, background extraction, stretched the Histogram and saved the image using Siril.

That’s it, my last light captures in 2023. I have learned a lot this past year, observed and imaged many interesting targets. Looking forward to learning even more in the new year.
Have a Happy New Year Everyone!!!

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