Horsehead and Flame Nebulae in Orion
Along with their very bright guardian Alnitak! I had severe blooming in the green and blue channels due to that troublesome magnitude -0.21 companion. The bloom was very hard to deal with in this case, I processed and reprocessed this image at least 10 times before finally settling on this version. The Tak 60 allows me the FOV to include the Flame where previously I could only do close ups of the Horsehead itself. This is my 4th annual shot of this area. Click here to see efforts from previous seasons.
Image processing consisted of dark frame subtraction, aligning and combining using CCDSoft. The individual channels were finely aligned using Picture Window and then RGB combined in CCDSoft using HA for the Red channel. Before combining the channels, the Green and Blue images were de-bloomed. This was done manually in Photoshop with a combination of techniques including rotating, copying and pasting, the patch tool, and the healing brush. Levels and curves were done in Photoshop where the HA data was used again as a Luminance layer for the RGB composite that was created in CCDSoft. Some selective noise reduction using the despeckle tool was done along with a mild unsharp mask to finish it off.