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Galaxies

Astrophotography Weekend

Spent a few nights out in the desert doing some astrophotography. Didn’t have much else to do out there so I figured I’d make a short film about the process of photographing and processing an image of M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy.

M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy – 3 Panel Mosaic

Haven’t really been able to post in awhile, been working on other projects that are taking up way too much time. Finally got two nights over Labor day weekend. Figured I’d do M31 since its been a long time since I’ve attempted it. I’m imaging at 800mm with a Canon T3 so I had to do three panels to get it all to fit and even then the wispy bits on the edges are cut off. Lots of nasty gradients to deal with on account of lots of high altitude haze. This summer in Socal has been too humid. Only got about two hours per frame over two nights because of the clouds. Processed in Pixinsight and Photoshop.

Image Location and Date: SDAA club site, Tierra Del Sol.
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ F3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded and cooled to 12c.
Lights: RGB 25x300sec @ ISO400 per frame (3x)
Calibration: flats, Bias
Guide scope: 60mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight + Photoshop

Cassiopeia to M31

Taken during Julian Starfest

Canon 6D unmodded
50x300sec @ ISO800
Nikkor 50mm 1.8 @ F4
Atlas EQ-G unguided

M83

m83large

Image Location and Date: OCA dark site in Anza, CA May 3rd
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 25x300sec @ ISO 400 Cooled to 0C
Captured with APT Processing done in Pixinsight

Coma Galaxy Cluster

I’ve always wanted to go after this one and while the site I use really isn’t dark enough for this sort of work I decided to have a go at it anyways.

I also noticed that my T3 has the dark line under bright stars problem! I always use 1600 ISO but for this image I decided to experiment with 800 ISO. So back to 1600 ISO from now on.

Image Location and Date: Orange County Astronomers dark site in Anza, CA, Feb 16th
Object: Coma Cluster
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 40x600sec @ ISO 800

Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: Tair-3c with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight + PS

You really have to see the full scale image to see all the tiny galaxies in the background. Pretty cool.

Here is an annotated version pointing out Quasar HB89(1256+280). This is an object over 10 BILLION light years away.

NGC4565

Did this over two nights with excellent conditions. Wish I had more aperture and a longer focal length for it but I think I got some detail.

Image Location and Date: SDAA dark site @ Tierra Del Sol, CA
Object: NGC4565
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150mm Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 29x600sec @ ISO 1600 (4 hours 50 minutes)
Calibration: Darks, flats
Guide scope: 50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in PixInsight.

Markarian’s Chain

This is always a fun target, good test to see how deep I can push the new camera. Pretty damn deep it looks like! You can easily pick out M 84, Ic 3303, Ngc 4387, Ngc 4388, Ngc 4402 , M 86, Ngc 4407, Ngc 4425, Ngc 4435, Ngc 4438, Ngc 4461, Ngc 4473, Ngc 4477, Ngc 4458, M86, M84, Ic 3393 and Ngc 4479. I need to find some reference material to see how deep I’m getting. I also plan on shooting this area again next month in a mosaic from Tierra Del Sol which is a bit darker than Anza.

Image Location and Date: OCA dark sky site in Anza, CA on February 25th, 2012
Object: Markarian’s Chain in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster.
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150mm Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 22x600sec @ ISO 800
Calibration: Darks, flats
Guide scope: Tair-3c with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in PixInsight + Photoshop for final color adjustment.

Leo Triplet

Image Location and Date: OCA dark sky site in Anza, CA on February 17th, 2012
Object: Leo Triplet. M65, M66 and NGC3628
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150mm Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Unmodified
Lights: 28x300sec @ ISO 1600
Calibration: Darks, flats
Guide scope: Vixen 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in PixInsight + Photoshop for final color adjustment.

M33 Triangulum Galaxy


Image Location and Date: SDAA dark sky site at Tierra Del Sol on November 28th, 2011
Object: M33 Galaxy
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150mm Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: Modified Canon 350D
Lights: 15 x 600sec @ ISO 800 (2.5 hours)
Calibration: Darks, Flats
Guide scope: Tair-3 300mm f4.5 camera lens with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, processed in PixInsight. DBE>BN>ColorCal>HT>HDRWavelets>DSE>SCNR>MT>Saturation>Curve stretch.

M31 Andromeda Galaxy Mosaic

This one was very very tough. I had some very bad gradients from light pollution, upper atmosphere clouds and a red LED that somehow leaked light into the scope causing some nasty images in the core frame. I’m not sure if I’m happy with the colors or not so I may come back to this one shortly.

Image Location and Date: SDAA dark sky site at Tierra Del Sol on October 22nd and 29th, 2011
Object: M31 Great Andromeda Galaxy in Andromeda
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150mm Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: Modified Canon 350D
Lights: 14 x 600sec @ ISO 800 per frame (7 hours total)
Calibration: Darks
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, merged in Photoshop, processed in PixInsight and back to Photoshop for final color adjustment.

Supernova in M101! SN2011fe

Check it out! It’s REALLY bright, I could easily see it in my 8″ scope. It’s near the horizon right now so I couldn’t get a great picture of the galaxy, sorry.

Image Location and Date: SDAA site @ Tierra Del Sol on September 24th, 2011
Object: M101, SN2011fe
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150 Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: Modified Canon 350D
Lights: 13 x 180sec @ ISO 800 (39 Minutes)
Calibration: None!
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guided with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in DSS and processed in Photoshop.

M31 – Andromeda Galaxy

Image Location and Date: Tierra Del Sol (SDAA Dark Site) on August 30th, 2011
Object: M31 Andromeda Galaxy
Mount: CG5GT
Imaging scope: 300mm Tair-3c lens
Imaging FL: 300mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5.6
Imaging camera: Modified Canon 350D
Lights: 55 x 300sec @ ISO 800 (4 Hour 35 Minutes)
Calibration: Darks
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in Fits Liberator + Photoshop.

Supernova in M51

sn2011dh

M101 Pinwheel Galaxy

Image Location and Date: San Diego Astronomy Association Dark Sky Site @ Tierra Del Sol, March 5th 2011.
Object: M101 Pinwheel Galaxy
Mount: CG5GT
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150 Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: unmodified Nikon D60
Lights: 25 x 300sec ISO 800 (2 Hours 5 Minutes)
Calibration: Darks.
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guided with PHD, stacked in DSS processed in Photoshop, ran through it with Noise Ninja

Virgo Galaxy Cluster

Image Location and Date: San Diego Astronomy Association Dark Sky Site @ Tierra Del Sol, March 5th 2011.
Object: Virgo Cluster
Mount: CG5GT
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150 Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: unmodified Nikon D60
Lights: 2 x 900sec ISO 800 (30 Minutes)
Calibration: Darks.
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guided with PHD, stacked in DSS processed in Photoshop

M33 Triangulum Galaxy from Joshua Tree

Image Location and Date: Joshua Tree National Park, Indian Cove Campground September 10th 2010
Object: M33 Galaxy in Triangulum
Mount: CG5GT
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150 Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: unmodified Nikon D60
Lights: 60 x 120sec ISO 3200 (3 hours)
Calibration: Darks, flats.
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guided with PHD, stacked in DSS processed in Photoshop, noise removed with Noise Ninja

Virgo Galaxy Cluster from Tierra Del Sol

Image Location and Date: Tierra Del Sol on May 15th, 2010
Object: Virgo Galaxy Cluster
Mount: CG5GT
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150 Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: unmodified Nikon D60
Lights: 30 x 180 sec ISO 3200 (1.5 Hours)
Calibration: Darks, flats.
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guided with PHD, stacked in DSS processed in Photoshop

NGC4565 From San Juan Capistrano

Image Location and Date: San Juan Capistrano on April 06, 2010
Object: NGC4565 Edge On Spiral Galaxy
Mount: CG5GT
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150 Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: unmodified Nikon D60
Lights: 30 x 60 sec ISO 3200 (30min)
Calibration: Darks, No flats.
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guided with PHD, stacked in DSS processed in Photoshop

Yeah, there are a lot of crappy gradients in this photo. I had light leaking in from somewhere, I suspect my focuser was the culprit. I need to re-do the insulation around it. Light pollution was also pretty bad in that direction which didn’t help matters much either.

M104 Sombrero Galaxy from Tierra Del Sol

Image Location and Date: SDAA site at Tierra Del Sol on February 13th
Object: M106 Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo
Mount: CG5GT
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150 Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: unmodified Nikon D60
Lights: 4 x 300 sec ISO 3200 (20min)
Calibration: Darks and Flats
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guided with PHD, stacked in DSS processed in Photoshop

M81 and M82 from Tierra Del Sol

Image Location and Date: SDAA site at Tierra Del Sol on February 13th
Object: M81 and M82 Galaxy in Ursa Major
Mount: CG5GT
Imaging scope: Omni XLT 150 Newtonian
Imaging FL: 750mm
Imaging focal ratio: f5
Imaging camera: unmodified Nikon D60
Lights: 8 x 300 sec ISO 3200 (40min)
Calibration: None
Guide scope: Antares 8×50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guided with PHD, stacked in DSS processed in Photoshop