Elephant's Trunk Nebula

08 August 2021

Now that I don't have to search for my objects anymore, I thought it would be nice to take a photo of a more challenging DSO - at least for an unmodified stock camera. I also wanted to choose a target I did not shoot previously. My choice was IC 1396 aka the Elephant's Trunk Nebula.

Admittedly I had a hard time pulling out the color of the nebula and the result has quite some amount of noise. But since it has become so easy to point my camera to the correct position I might just add some more time to this project the next time the weather allows for it.

My current process to process an image:

  1. Stack data with Deep Sky Stacker
  2. Remove gradient, perform color correction and initial stretching with Siril
  3. Perform more stretching and some vibrance and saturation modifications with Affinity Photo
  4. Create a starless version using Starnet++
  5. Combine images from step 3 and step 4 using Affinity Photo to create an even more colorful image
  6. (Optional) Use Lightroom for some luminance and color denoising
  7. (Optional) Upload image to nova.astrometry.net to get annotations and use this to add annotations to the image using Affinity Designer

Below are the images of the various steps. Hover over the image to see it before and after the respective processing.

Single Lightframe VS Stacked Image (Step 1)
Stacked Image VS Processed with Siril (Step 2)
Processed with Siril VS Initial processing with Affinity Photo (Step 3)
With VS Without Stars (Step 4)
With + Without Stars VS Final Image (Step 5)