IC 1396 – The Elephant’s Trunk nebula in SHO

I had a lot of trouble with processing this in PixInsight and having it turn out looking like the SHO renditions I’ve seen floating around the Net. I ended up using Don Goldman’s tutorial on using Hue/Sat adjustment layers and clipping masks in Photoshop, but I really would like to find some native PI techniques and reprocess it without having to fiddle with it in PS CC. This is 90 minutes per narrowband channel – so not a lot of data, but it was all I could get before the nebula hit the pine tree tops lining the imaging location. Practice is a good thing, though… 
The Elephant's Trunk

Messier 33 in HaLRGB

It is hard to believe I haven’t imaged since the first week of August and we are about to start November in a couple of days. I love the winter target selection and I probably would have selected something besides the Triangulum Galaxy if I weren’t boxed in by pine trees at my imaging location such that near-horizon targets just can’t be reached. I picked Messier 33 for last night because it was high in the sky all night and provided plenty of imaging time for a multi-channel attempt. This represents about 6.2 hours of total data… 20x180s each R, G, B… 34x180s Lum… 9x600s Ha. I tried Silvercup’s HaRGBCombination Script for PixInsight, but it kept locking up my client, so I ended up using the Vicent Peris method that Harry has in his tutorial. The post-processing is trickier already with multiple channels and trying to blend in narrowband, but I kinda made it more difficult for myself by binning the color channels 2×2. I figured out the hard way that I needed to go back and shoot dark subframes that were also binned 2×2 in order to register and calibrate the color channels. It was a beautiful night out and a great learning experience. Let’s hope the next one isn’t another 3 months out! :)

Messier 33