Heart and Soul Nebula

01 September 2021

Capturing deep-sky objects on working days is difficult. This statement is based on personal experience. It's not the imaging itself, that is harder, that is the very same procedure as on weekends. It's the required additional data (darks, flats, dark-flats) that is hard to acquire on those nights.

Why? Simple: When the planned amount of actual data (e.g. the light-frames) is taken it's typically around 1 am. But instead of simply going to get at least some sleep before the alarm goes off at around 6 am you should take dark- and flat-frames.

On this particular day/night I was just too tired for that and now I am stuck with around two hours' worth of data that shows a heavy vignetting and some sensor-dust spots.

Stacked and stretched data. Not optimal at all.

Anyway just not using the data would be a shame and so I used flat frames from this exact same setup from another day and stacked the data without darks. The vignetting is mostly gone, which is good, but the sensor-dust wandered to another location which left me with two noticeable areas on my image. So I had no other choice than to crop the image.

Anyway: My plan was to collect 6-10 hours of data throughout this winter for the final image. But since I cannot use the data from this iteration due to the lack of matching flat frames I am considering switching cameras to the D7500 which has a much better noise performance but requires me to use batteries instead of an external power supply.