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M33 - 17 Hours for Triangulum Galaxy
In 2014 I made an attempt to image this beautiful galaxy, the result you can here. Unfortunatly, back then, out of two nights of imaging, only 6 hours of data made it to final stacking. And I remember how hard was the processing for me, dealing with all the noise. Now, in 2016 I decided to take the opportunity and image it again and combine all the data together. This time I were much luckier and weather played well and I managed to bring additional 11 hours of clean data.
My big surprise came when I compared the linear stacks of 6 and 17 hours for the first time. Now I think that my expectations were set too high, because I couldn't find almost any difference in "revealing faint stuff" in both stacks. I couldn't believe my eyes, I called my wife, I sent images to my friend and we all came to same conclusion, that there is no more faint stuff revealed in 17 hours stack and they look almost identical. Only when I zoom-picking I could find that there is more of very faint stars that popped out in far reagions of galaxy's arms.
The advantage of going deep though, revealed it self in processing - big time. SNR were so good, that Deconvolution process worked very well. My background noise levels were also very low, so I didn't had to apply agressive noise reductions. The color signal were also much stronger in 17 hours stack, so pulling it were also not a problem. And of course, all those faint stars that I mentioned above, started to pop out above the noise levels adding to a larger apparent size of the galaxy. All in all, high SNR data played along with everything I threw at it and I enjoyed processing it even more this time, but no way I'm going to say that this is an easy object. Inspite of good amount of data it is stll very challenging to process.
The Galaxy's Core
Optics : GSO 8" f8 Ritchey Chretien Astrograph @ f/5.4
Reducer: Astro Physics CCDT 0.67x @ 0.67x
Camera : Canon T3i (600D) Baader Mod
Mount : NEQ-6 Pro (Self Hypertuned/Belt Mod)
Guiding Scope: TS OAG9
Guiding Camera: SX Lodestar X2
Acquisition : Sequence Generator Pro 188.8.131.52
Exposures : 68 x 900 sec @ ISO1600 - 17 Hours
Stacking : PixInsight 1.8
Processing : PixInsight 1.8