M51 Processing Comparison using MaximDL, Photoshop CS6, and Noel Carboni’s Astronomy Tools

M51 Whirlpool GalaxyWhile on vacation, I guess I have nothing better to do at night as I am without my imaging gear so I decided to reprocess some of my older images for fun. To my surprise and delight, one of images came out much better than I had originally processed the first time around. Then, I remembered that the first time I processed M51, I tested out color combining and stacking just using Photoshop. This time, I color combined the image and aligned it using MaximDL and then further refined it using Noel Carboni’s Atronomy Tools actions for Photoshop.

When I took the RGB images, there were a few things that I was not doing.  First, I did not discover that I could cool the camera, which introduced the a lot of noise to the images.  The color subs only had 3, 5 minute exposures each, which is not very much.  I had also had not calibrated these images using flat frames so I had a few things working against me as went to process this image.

As I set out to reprocess this image, I first opened up the RGB TIFF image and ran the HLVG (Hasta Lavista Green) filter, which removed a nasty green hue to the image.  Then, I ran the image through some of Noel Carboni’s Astronomy Tools and used the following:

1.  Deep Space Noise Reduction

2.  Increase Star Color x 2

3.  Soft Color Gradient Removal (the image had a rainbow cast to it before

4.  Color Blotch Reduction (I had blue and red pixels all over the image)

Given that I had many things working against me to process anything out of my M51 image, here is the side by side comparison and details:

L: 9 x 5 min
R: 3 x 5 min (2×2)
G: 3 x 5 min (2×2)
B: 3 x 5 min (2×2)

Total exposure time: 1.5 hours

M51 Comparison

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>