This image was produced with a half meter RCOS telescope and a SBIG STL-11000 camera between June 19- July 21, 2006.
Exposure times: 435 minutes Luminance, 255 minutes Red, 144 minutes Green and 288 minutes Blue (1X1)

The Omega Nebula (M-17) in Sagittarius

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The Four Seasonings

When concocting a new batch of astronomical images, all the leading celestial chefs say a well prepared picture should have a distinctive flavor! But it's not enough to select the right blend of exposures and the correct software program to cook them- a good astral baker also needs to master the art of blending the right seasonings with the right combination of data! Without the correct spices, even magnificent renditions that are feasts to behold can taste bland and uninteresting!

There are an unlimited number of visual herbs, sauces and condiments at our disposal. But, to me, four seasonings are the most helpful when trying to whip up a new image:

  • Contrast magnifies the natural flavor of an image and increases its richness or makes it appear more delicate;
  • Clarity tenderizes the meat of the subject, makes it easier to digest and lets the eye's pallet relish all the subtle textures hidden within nooks and crannies;
  • Hue adds an appetizing value that's important for any optical cuisine. For example, studies have shown color stimulates glands near the eye-tooth that aid in picture digestion (I hope you are still with me...);
  • Saturation adds zest to picture preparation and, for many, is the crowning touch to a culinary delight! Top gourmets use this to kick their dishes up several notches and make their repas visuel (...that's French) hearty, exciting and memorable!

Of course, each of the items on our personal menu of pictures are a reflection of our tastes, skills and our judgements. Some are created in a microwave or convection oven while others, like mine, are prepared over time in a slow cooker. Regardless, all result in something that's nutritious for the imagination, stimulating to the mind and leaves you hungry for more!

So, I hope you have taken this as the tongue in cheek discussion that it's meant because I'm certainly not tying to make a virtual poke in the eye of any astro-imaging Executive Chef!

Bon Appetite and please pass the salt!

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