This is from a session that I did back on Sept 25, using the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. Been banging my head against it in Deep Sky Stacker, Siril, and Sequator for the stacking and pre-processing, and then finishing up with The GIMP for post-processing. I just was not happy with the results.
I’ve created, deleted and recreated that picture I don’t even know how many times. Actually, looking at what I have there, this is a fairly weak example. I’ve done much better since then…and deleted them all for being not very good. At first I thought it was out of focus but that isn’t the case. I was looking at those blown-out stars. Those are chromatic aberrations and they tell me that I need to stop down my lens from f/2.2 to probably something like f/2.8. I’ll still be able to get 3 second exposures, and those stars should all go nice a crisp.
To help with focusing, I purchased a Bahtinov mask that snaps into my 52mm lens. Probably overkill, especially for anything under 100mm, but it was short money. I messed around with it a bit the other night to get the hang of it and it seem to sharpen things up a bit at 200mm. I actually purchased it from a reseller, but I went to the company that makes them because what I originally received did not fit the filter ring, even though the packaging all said it was the correct piece. The manufacturer said that they probably tossed the wrong one in the bag and they sent me a replacement. If you are in the market for telescopes, astronomy gear, photography gear, or astrophotography gear, please give the fine folks at FarPointAstro at least a look. Seriously, they could have told me to get stuffed or to deal with the reseller, but the owner took responsibility and fixed the issue. The least I can do is give him a plug.
Back to the story, I remembered this morning that I had a 30-day trial of Astro Pixel Processor installed that I hadn’t been using. This thing does damn-near the whole workflow, from stacking to post-processing. My favorite feature is the light pollution removal tool. I need a bit more practice with it, but wow, what a difference. While working in APP, I made peace with my Andromeda being so small in the field. This is closer to what we should be able to see in the sky.
Wednesday should be clear skies. I am going to get back out there and try out the Bahtinov mask and f/2.8.