First M35 Star Cluster un-modified webcam photo

Posted by XTSee on 31st March , 2009

After my previous attempts at getting some AVI captures of the star clusters in Auriga M36, M37, M38 and M35 in Gemini, with my webcam (which is not yet modified for long exposures) with my C6-SGT, this picture of M35 was the best out of them, although I admit it still pales in comparison to what could be achieved if the webcam were modified to allow longer exposures. (Click for full size).

M35 Cluster

M35 Cluster

The other footage of the Auriga clusters were not really bright enough, so did not make the grade!

Even in the above shot, only the brighter stars have come through, with the bulk of the cluster just too dim to have made any impact at such short exposure times. I used 5fps, and 1/25th sec exposure, with maximum Gain, and Gamma brightened slightly, and about 100 frames stacked. Then processed in K3CCDTools to align, stack and enhance, followed by further post-processing in Photoshop. I know I have overdone the Unsharp masking and curves, etc. resulting in a bit of a cartoony pic, but this was necessary to make the result worthwhile and get rid of the background noise, and I consider it more of an exercise in understanding the capabilities of the webcam as it is.

I was surprised to see the colours come out, and the two red stars helped me identify which part of the cluster I was seeing in the photo.

So the lesson learnt is that it certainly is possible to grab a cluster, but if I am to expect better photos, my SPC900NC webcam needs to be given the Steve Chambers long exposure mod. Good, it all adds up to more experience, and makes me appreciate the limitations of the gear I have, and a better understanding of what the next step must be.

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2 Responses to “First M35 Star Cluster un-modified webcam photo”

  1. Creazon (1 comments)

    Cool photo 4 webcam!

  2. how to photoshop (1 comments)

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