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M78 – Reflection Nebula in Orion

This sure was challenging! Two out of the three nights I arrived late and couldn’t start work until Orion well into the light pollution of north San Diego county. Taking stuff out of the car, polar alignment, mount alignment, focus and framing really eat up my dark sky time but I don’t have much of a choice when I can’t leave work until five and the dark site is three hours away in traffic. Still worth it!

But because it was setting I had a lot of problems with gradients, very tough to get rid of but I think I did a decent job. I must say, my new 1100d is a fantastic camera! I modified it three days after picking it up.

Processing was a challenge because of the gradients. Pixinsight’s DBE tool got quite a workout but I was careful not to get rid of any of the faint dust and gas that IS actually there. I plan on dishing myself some more punishments by creating a mosaic of this region later in March for an art show I was invited to participate in.

Image Location and Date: OCA dark sky site in Anza, CA on February 17th, 24th and 25th, 2012
Object: M78
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150mm Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 71x300sec @ ISO 1600
Calibration: Darks, flats
Guide scope: Tair-3c with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in PixInsight + Photoshop for final color adjustment.

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