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M12, Globular Cluster in Ophiuchus

This week (7/13/03) we continue the quest to see just what can be done with the 8" telescope. In addition to this one being in color, it is also the first image processed in a new image processing software package known as AIP. This was brought to my attention by Al Kelly who seemed to think my color images were somewhat lacking. So I sent him some raw images to see what he could do with them and the result was quite impressive so I ordered AIP.

I wish I could say it was an instant sucess but the bad news is, I find it rather user unfriendly. However, it seems that the results it produces are well worth learning to use it. So far, the only useable images I have produced are ones wherein I followed a procedure spelled out, step by step by Al. Unfortunately, Al does not come with the software so I will keep plugging away at it.

This image was acquired by stacking 10 x 10 second lum images and combining them with 60 second, single guided RGB frames. What I like most about the AIP image is the vividness of the color. I simply can not achieve that using either AA or MAXDL. However, although I can't achieve it with AIP yet, I take AL's word for the fact that he prefers AIP for color processing. Happens also that we both prefer AA for image acquisition.

The only flaw in this image is the sort of funky hue to the colors and he suspected that this is because I have been cheating and not using an IR blocking filter for the color frames. Subsequent tests seem to confirm this.

For an interesting comparison of resolution, I have juxtaposed a monochrome image take with the 16" next to the above image, (reduced to fit in one view). It is fun to find star groupings in the two images and compare the differences. The 16" image was taken with the MX516 camera several years ago.

And for one more interesting comparison, below are images processed in AA (left) and AIP (right).

To be fair I should point out that this is not typical of the color or lack there of using AA but for some reason, I just can't get any more color from these images using AA. However, in general, the colors are much more muted using AA.

For the record, M12 lies at distance of about 20,000 light years and is one of many such objects populating the "globular halo" of our galaxy. It is not a particularly dense globular so it is fairly easy to resolve individual stars.

To get an idea of how globulars fit into the grand scheme of things, see "Galactic Wanderer"

For the most recent Astrophotos of the Week... RECENT PHOTOS

All film photos taken with the...JSP ASTROCAMERA

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