Soul Nebula saved by MI

The Soul Nebula (IC1848) from Austin, Texas on 2021-12-28. I used a RedCat 51 f/5 250mm telescope, Optolong L-eNhance dual narrow band filter, ZWO ASI533 MC color camera, on a SW AZ-EQ5 Pro mount controlled by a ASIAIR Plus. Only 56 minutes of data were captured. Processed in PixInsight, StarXTerminator, Topaz DeNoise, and Photoshop

I captured data from the Soul Nebula late last month. I ended up with just less than an hour of data before clouds moved in. It wasn't worth processing at the time. I've been recovering from an ablation, and haven't been able to add more data. I started reprocessing old data and decided that my 56 minutes of soul would make a good test case for some new tools.

Processing software that uses machine intelligence (MI) trained algorithms is becomming common. I've had very good noise reduction results from Topaz DeNoise AI in the past. An Apple M1 native verison has just become available. I've also been using Russell Croman's StarXTerminator a MI trained app that seperates stars and background nebulosity for optimized processing. StarXTerminator is now available as a module for PixInsight that allows star extraction while data is still linear, offering more opportunities to improve processing.

I was surprised that I produced the usable image above with so little data. An autostretched version of the image shows how noisy and low contrast the original data was.

A comparison 1:1 crop of the original and final image processed with MI apps StarXTerminator and Topaz DeNoise shows a useable final result.

Content created: 2022-01-31




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