The Milky Way Setting in the West

From Winton, QLD Australia

Uploaded 7/29/06

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 Every effort was made in processing this image to maintain the most natural appearance of the Milkyway presented here, seen setting over the trees on the western skyline in the Outback. Centered in this image is Eta Carina, a giant emission nebulosity complex in a rich star cloud. Above it is the dark Coal Sack Nebula, a dust cloud blocking the light of the more distant dim stars of our galaxy. At the top you can see the two bright colored stars Alpha and Beta Centauri, amongst the very closest stars to earth.

At the bottom are the Eucalyptus trees found at the sheep station we stayed at in Winton.

Processing notes:

This is an unmodified Canon 10D, and several unusual steps had to be taken to maintain image quality. A steep gamma curve was followed by a precise setting of the sky background to neutral using curves. To keep it that way, a layer mask was used that was made from the image itself to saturate the brightest objects above the sky background and keep the sky neutral. This Photoshop technique is extremely powerful to enhance deep sky images.

To do this, make a new adjustment layer and select Hue/Saturation. Alt Click on the layer mask, and the entire image will show the mask as pure white. Now paste in over it a black and white image of the object - black conceals, white reveals. This will become your new extremely precise layer mask for saturation. Alt click again on the mask to go back to the normal view. Now increase the saturation as desired. Only the brightest objects will be affected.

All of the emission nebula in this image were "Hue shifted", so the blue heavy magenta color would be the correct hydrogen pink.

Finally, NO grain reduction was used here. After subtracting the dark made right after the image, the background is smooth and has low noise. I typically only use noise reduction only in extreme cases, if there is no other way.

Instrument: Canon 17 - 40mm L @ 17mm Platform: Robotic Barn Door Camera: Canon 10D @ ISO800 Exposure: 10m Filters: UV Location: Near Winton, Queensland, Australia Elevation: 700 ft. Sky: Seeing 9/10, Transparency 10/10 Outside Temperature: 50F Processing Tools: Photoshop CS, Maxim DL, PixInsight, Pixmantec RAW HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS FastCounter by bCentral