Letting go of an obsession, for now…

Ever since I saw Nico Carver's image of the SH2-129 Flying Bat & OU-4 Giant Squid Nebula, I've been obsessed with capturing my own version of it...after a summer spent collecting data and learning lessons, I'm ready to let the obsession rest (for now!)

SH2-129 Flying Bat & OU-4 Giant Squid Nebulae

Sh2-129 Flying Bat & OU-4 Giant Squid Nebulae; Seven-session image captured 18Jun2023 - 16Sep2023 from Powderhorn & Colorado Springs, Colorado

Capturing the Flying Bat and Giant Squid...

Capture Notes:

Since I saw Nico Carver’s image of the Flying Bat (https://www.nebulaphotos.com/sharpless/sh2-129/), I have been completely obsessed with capturing it myself.  Although I started diddling around with capturing this object in June and October of 2022, the obsession came to full fruition this summer, with my spending almost all of my Southern Cross imaging time on it, and learning a LOT along the way!  I was pretty successful in capturing the Ha region (which is actually the Flying Bat (seems miss named to me), but the OIII (blue) region that is the Giant Squid eluded me.  In desperation, I reached out to Nico to ask how he’d been able to capture the OIII region.  He suggested the OIII filter and the experimentation, data collection, and learning continued.   Experimentation with: gain (300 is better than 158 for this target), OIII filter (great for capturing the “blue” OIII OU-4 Giant Squid), and binning (2×2 binning in not a good idea).  All of the August OIII data is missing because I spent the month’s imaging sessions collecting data using 2×2 binning, which created the most un-Godly swirls in the images.  Tolga, Nico, Ann, and I pondered causes for over a month before I had the realization that it was coming from the 2×2 binning. 

Processing Highlights:  As usual, I captured the data with SGP, stacked in APP (stacked all RGB sessions together using HaOIII Color, Debayer, Camera White Balance; stacked all OIII sessions together using OIII color; registered RGB and OIII sessions), 
removed stars with Starnet++, and processed with LR/PS.   In the PS processing, I used Nico’s method of colorizing the OIII layer and blending it back into the RGB image.  

The OIII portion of the image could use some more work – I would like it to be there, but less “globby” and more transparent.  But with the list of unprocessed images growing, I feel like I need to call this good enough for now, set down the obsession for now, and come back to reprocessing it when I have time on my hands (did I mention my annual Christmas card obsession??).    The gallery entry, for the “rest of the story” is here: https://beersastrophotography.com/gallery/sh2-129-flying-bat-ou-4-giant-squid-nebulae/