Mars and Pleiades Conjunction First Go

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primeshooter Veteran Member • Posts: 6,127
Mars and Pleiades Conjunction First Go

So this is my first shot at deep sky style astro. I found both capture and processing are a steep learning curve but very satisfying in a way once you get going. This image is about 36 mins of data from a bortle 4-5 location (my backyard) and a stock DSLR, stacked in DSS and processed in PS 2021. I would have got more data but had star tracker "turning off issues" at the start so I missed the first few hours of possible data (turning off issue resolved now thankfully). I had a big gradient to fix which took the time and occured because I had to track the cluster down to the hoizon, the sky was also blacker at one side, and more light polluted at the other (any tips?).

18x2 min exposures, ISO 400 at 200mm f/4, nikon D850.

10 x dark frames

30 x bias frames

30 x flat frames

Stacked in DSS, any advice for best settings in there or am I okay all on default?

I was pushed for time, and had to bin a lot of data because the tracker kept turning off which I resolved (the app was overriding the manual setting on the mount). So I was frustrated at that (was planning to get 2 hours).
Would more darks, flats or bias frames improved this further, or would it only be light frames that would have? (I would have taken more darks if I had time but issues kept that from happening last night). I take it the LP gradient is just something one has to deal with, and the calibration frames won't change it? Can I get more data from a bortle 5 location if I keep going next time?

Thanks in advance.

Nikon D850
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