What you see is not what you get — calibration / integration / processing

I wanted to show how important the process of acquisition, calibration, and post processing is for astronomical images. I don’t want people new to astrophotography to be discouraged by what they see on the camera from a single exposure. When done correctly, the data is there!

The first image above is a single 6-minute RAW exposure from my IR-modded Canon 550D DSLR attached to a Vixen ED80sf f/7.5  telescope. Not a single change was made, except conversion to JPEG.

The second image is an integrated (stacked) and histogram stretched version of the same target. 33 RAW DSLR exposures, all calibrated with loads of dark, flat, and bias frames.

The third pane is the fully post-processed image after extensive work in PixInsight.

See the final Rosette nebula below — nothing magical is done, just a lot of work and patience. If you do it right, it works!

Final image details:
33x6min ISO800 sub exposures, 3.3 hours total integration time
21 dark, 35 flat, 107 bias

Vixen ED80sf 80mm APO refractor
Celestron CG-5 ASGT mount
Orion SSAG autoguider + 50mm guide scope
Canon T2i 550D DSLR (Baader IR modded)
Orion Field Flattener

Image acquisition with BackyardEOS
Guiding with PHD
Calibration/alignment/integration and post-processing with PixInsight

1 comment on “What you see is not what you get — calibration / integration / processingAdd yours →

  1. Have you ever considered doing a post on your post-processing workflow? I know that people (meaning me) would be very interested to see more in-depth steps on exactly what you do in either Photoshop or PixInsight so we can create images as beautiful as yours! Just a thought (though I know it would be a lot of work)!!!

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