M57 – taking what I can get….

Let’s begin by saying that I know this image is based on a flawed series of captures. The alignment was slightly off, and I idiotically decided I could fix it without stopping the whole sequence and re-aligning the mount properly. Things went rapidly downhill, and all of the stacked images show some motion in right ascension, declination, or more usually in both.

But how much can be recovered from the images even with the flaws? I’ve cropped the images down to a 400-pixel square section of the original and aligned them so you can see how far I managed to get.

Roll your mouse over the caption below the image to show other versions of the Ring…

M57 area single frame

ROLLOVER –> 28-frame stack; pushed a little; pushed, with text

The single frame shows lots of sky fog due to the moon and the city, but the 28-frame stack makes it possible to remove the sky fog to show the Ring Nebula alone. By pushing levels and accepting a little more noise it is possible to see even more details. In the labelled version of the pushed image, some of the stars are labelled with the magnitudes shown in Starry Night 4.52, and the region of IC1296 (a distant galaxy) is circled.

With more and longer exposures and a corrected alignment, much of the detail in the pushed image would move to the main stack, and details lost due to the processing required to adjust for the motion blur would return. Even though M57 is a small object at the FLT-110’s prime focus, it returns a good reward for time invested.