My latest astrophotography, Orion Nebula, Running Man Nebula, Horsehead Nebula, Flame Nebula, plus how I did it


(click for large) 

I’ve made posters and t-shirts and other merch of the image, it’s here.
Some RGB re-arrangements I did of it, plus a mono:



My latest #astrophotography photo. It’s the Orion Nebula and Running Man Nebula top right, Horsehead Nebula and Flame Nebula bottom left. I’m BipTunia on AstroBin if you want to see more of my work.

Taken over two nights this week. I use an IR modified DSLR, a Canon 90D, RedCat 51 telescope, Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro mount. Guiding scope: ZWO 30mm Mini Guider Scope.

Guiding Camera: ZWO ASI120MM Mini. SharpCap on laptop for polar align and plate solving live. Used Phd2 on laptop for guiding.

This photo was done OSC (one-shot color), no filters, natural color. I did recently buy an Optolong L-Ultimate Dual Bandpass filter, but I haven’t tried it yet. Waiting for a night with a lot of moon when I can’t easily shoot OSC.

I shot about 5.5 hours total, all 60-second exposures, 800 ISO. Was 16 degrees F (-9 C) at the coldest part of the two nights, and 24 F (-5 C) at the warmest. All gear performed well, even with some frost on it. I used a generic USB dew heater on scope, right around the 51mm lens area.

Went through images manually to remove any that had odd framing, were blurry (usually at the start of session before tracking gets good), or there was a cloud or airplane. Deleted any of those. I know it can be done automatically in DSS or in PixInsight, but I’m new enough to get a kick out of seeing each image and doing it myself.) I’ve been doing this for about 3 months and half that time there was too much rain / clouds / forest fire scope to set up and do this.

I ended up with 5 hours and 9 minutes of good shots. (309 subs). Plus 72 dark frames, 15 flat frames, and 25 dark flats. Darks are same settings as lights, but with lens cap on. Flats were 1/200th second at 800 ISO with tablet in medium over scope end. Dark flats were same length but with lens cap on.

North East Oregon farm backyard. Bortle 3, though a bit of wind and a bit of forest fire smoke.

Stacked in DSS. Brought in lights, darks, flats, and dark flats I took during the session. Used defaults from there. Took about 20 min to process. I went and brought in my gear.

Brought output TIFF into PixInsight.

–AutoBackgroundExtractor. Target Image Correction (on bottom), Correction: set to DIVISION

Drag triangle onto image.

Delete ABE Background and Original file. Work now on (filename)_ABE

close AutoBackgroundExtractor.

–On ScreenTransferFunction, hit “Nuke” symbol.

–ColorCalibration / ColorCalibration. Hit little “document” icon (with nothing inside) at top below “workspace”.

Pick darkest small area of image, make a box.

On ColorCalibration, go down to BackGround Reference.

Click box to right of drop down area. Pick Preview01. Hit OK.

Change BackGround Reference Upper Limit to: 0.0050000

Drag triangle onto image.

close ColorCalibration.


ScreenTransferFunction: LINK LINK LINK and Nuke.


SCNR. Drag triangle onto image. (set to green) close SCNR. or skip if you want to leave some green.

–(still open): ScreenTransferFunction. Stay linked. Hit + Click on color bar to Zoom a few times. Click Arrow. Hit arrow left / top right, then Slide to change Background color.


Drag ScreenTransferFunction triangle onto HistogramTransformation bottom of gray bar at bottom of entire window.

–Drag HistogramTransformation triangle to image. Image turns white.

–ScreenTransferFunction reset. Bottom values should now be higher.

Use Bill’s Star Reduction (third party, free, I drag it in each time) to clone for Starless, then do Star reduction on Starless (name of clone image) with StarNet2 (third party, free, but after adding it shows up under “Ect” in PI process menu), then use Bill’s Star Reduction, drop on original image. I usually use the 2nd of Bills options, and if not enough use 3rd.

OUTPUT UNCOMPRESSED TIFF, pick 16 bit, the default is always 32 bit.
Bring into Photoshop, increase contrast, brightness, and saturation a tiny bit on whole image.

Selected M42 core, then feathered selection 8 px, then decreased brightness and increased contrast to bring out details. Did a few of those from different places around the core and around M42.

Only cropping I did was when I was all done to remove a slight weird halo border where I didn’t quite manually frame up the same the second night.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.