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Subject: "M31 Andromeda" Previous topic | Next topic
RABaker Registered since 01st Oct 2003Thu 18-Oct-12 10:48 PM
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"M31 Andromeda"
Fri 19-Oct-12 04:30 PM by RABaker

Sunnyvale, US
          

Here is my first successful image of M31 (Andromeda galaxy) from last January. Of course it also includes the small elliptical galaxy M32 (left of Andromeda's center) and the slightly larger elliptical (spherical?) galaxy M110 (below and to the right of Andromeda's center). I had tried to image Andromeda previously from my very light-polluted backyard in Sunnyvale, CA with rather miserable results. This image was taken at a reservoir about a one hour drive away where the sky is noticeably darker.
Lens: Nikkor 300mm f/4 ED AFS
Aperture: Approx. f/6.8 (manually set between 5.6 and 8)
Camera: QHY-8 (6MP dedicated CCD astro-camera) (Note that the camera's sensor is the same physical size as the Nikon DX cameras)
Mount: Orion Sirius GoTo equatorial mount
Guide scope: Orion Short Tube 80
Guide camera: Orion StarShoot Autoguider

This image is a stack of 27 10-minute sub-exposures taken over two nights, captured with Nebulosity software and processed with Nebulosity and PixInsght. Earlier attempts with the Nikkor 300mm lens at wider apertures showed considerable coma on stars away from the center of the image. Even at f/6.8 there is still some visible coma, but nowhere near as bad as at wider apertures. Because the images from the two nights were not centered exactly the same, there was some cropping done to eliminate the areas where the stacked images did not coincide. I am still learning to process astroimages, and especially having trouble with color balance, but this was the best I could do. I plan to try this target again to see if I can improve on my results.



Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
gbowen Gold Member
19th Oct 2012
1
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
RABaker
20th Oct 2012
3
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
nrothschild Silver Member
19th Oct 2012
2
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
lastdaylight Gold Member
21st Oct 2012
4
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
RABaker
21st Oct 2012
5
     Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
lastdaylight Gold Member
21st Oct 2012
6
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
2pixels_short Gold Member
21st Oct 2012
7
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
MotoMannequin Moderator
30th Oct 2012
8
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
RABaker
31st Oct 2012
9
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
spraay2236
01st Feb 2013
10
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
Shakenbake
01st Feb 2013
11
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
jmascharka Silver Member
03rd Feb 2013
12
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
polardan
04th Feb 2013
13
Reply message RE: M31 Andromeda
glxman Silver Member
06th Feb 2013
14

gbowen Gold Member Nikonian since 31st Mar 2011Fri 19-Oct-12 11:43 AM
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#1. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0


Canton, US
          

You did that with just a 300mm?? I was thinking a big scope, maybe a 6 inch refractor or a large SCT. I guess I better get outside and start really looking around. Would help if the stupid weather would cooperate!

George

  

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RABaker Registered since 01st Oct 2003Sat 20-Oct-12 11:44 PM
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#3. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 1
Sat 20-Oct-12 11:45 PM by RABaker

Sunnyvale, US
          

"You did that with just a 300mm?? I was thinking a big scope, maybe a 6 inch refractor or a large SCT."

George,

Andromeda is about 2 degrees wide, or about 4 times as wide as the full moon. It is best imaged with a moderate focal length telescope or a photographic telephoto lens (or a longer telescope with a focal reducer). With a DX-sized sensor the 300mm lens gives a reasonable sized image of Andromeda while also including some of the "environment." For us in the Northern Hemisphere I think Andromeda is the only galaxy that comes close to this size - most galaxies are pretty small and do need much longer focal lengths to image well. However, there are many other faint deep sky objects that are large enough to also be good targets for telephoto lenses (or short telescopes). For instance, I recently captured some frames of the North America Nebula with the 300mm lens and I hope to finish the processing this weekend (if I can find time from my chores).

Thanks,
Richard

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 19-Oct-12 05:08 PM
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#2. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

WOW! That is a great image, and it is great to see it taken with a conventional photo lens. I too am surprised at the resolution you got at 300mm.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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lastdaylight Gold Member Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 09th Dec 2007Sun 21-Oct-12 01:37 AM
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#4. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0


Dallas, US
          

This is a fantastic result, Richard! Love it. Tell us more about the camera. I'm assuming you are liking the results. How does it compare to a DSLR?

Best,

Mark Smith
Just like I previsualized it, more or less...

My Nikonians Gallery

My Website, www.lastdaylight.com

  

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RABaker Registered since 01st Oct 2003Sun 21-Oct-12 02:57 PM
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#5. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 4
Sun 21-Oct-12 02:59 PM by RABaker

Sunnyvale, US
          

Mark,

The QHY8 camera uses a 6MP DX-size CCD sensor made by Sony (some say it is a close relative of the sensors used in the Nikon D40 and D50). In many respects the QHY8 (and any so called "one shot color" astro camera) is similar to a shutterless DSLR - it uses software to control its exposure time rather than an electro-mechanical shutter. Probably the biggest optical difference is the IR filter. As far as I know, all DSLRs (except a couple of Canon models aimed specifically at astrophotography) have an IR/UV filter in front of the sensor that is broad enough that it unfortunately cuts out some of the red light near the edge of the visible spectrum. As a result, most of the DSLR astroimages are somewhat deficient at the red end of the spectrum - and, depending on the IR/UV filter used, some are also deficient at the blue/violet end. As far as I know, all dedicated astro cameras use either no filter at all, or a much more narrow IR filter to be able to capture more of the available red light.

Another difference between the QHY8 and a DSLR is that the QHY8 does not have any built in color balance settings - it cannot be set to Daylight, Tungsten, etc. The photographer must adjust color balance of the image in post processing. This is one of the areas I am still struggling with at times. Also, the QHY8 must be connected to, and is completely controlled by, a program on a computer - it has no ability to function on its own. That brings with it the need to have a laptop with you when imaging.

I originally began astrophotography with my D200. After a few months, I decided that I wanted a dedicated astro camera in order to capture more of the visible red light and, hopefully, present a more "natural" color in the resulting images. I bought the QHY8 used as a *relatively* inexpensive step into the world of dedicated CCD astro cameras.

I hope this information helps.

Thanks,
Richard

  

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lastdaylight Gold Member Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 09th Dec 2007Sun 21-Oct-12 03:10 PM
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#6. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 5


Dallas, US
          

Thanks for the info, Richard. One thing's for sure, you're making it work very well.

Mark Smith
Just like I previsualized it, more or less...

My Nikonians Gallery

My Website, www.lastdaylight.com

  

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2pixels_short Gold Member Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 16th Oct 2003Sun 21-Oct-12 07:19 PM
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#7. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0


Anchorage, US
          

I keep coming back to look at this image.

Once I got past the Moon and the planets I began to search out the galaxies and Andromeda was always fun to view.

Mike in Alaska


Visit Fortymile Photo

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Tue 30-Oct-12 10:53 PM
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#8. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0


Livermore, CA, US
          

Beautiful image! Do you mind sharing what reservoir you shot from? Always looking for dark places in the Bay Area...

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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RABaker Registered since 01st Oct 2003Wed 31-Oct-12 02:19 AM
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#9. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 8


Sunnyvale, US
          

Larry,

This was shot from the boat ramp parking lot at Coyote Lake near Gilroy. From my home in Sunnyvale it takes about an hour to get there in "normal" traffic - during rush hour more like an hour and a half. Here is a link to The Astronomy Connection (TAC) home page (a Bay Area online astronomy group):
http://observers.org/
At the top of the home page under the heading "Observing" you will find a link to "Sites." This will take you to a list of about 15 or 20 observing/imaging sites in the Bay Area (and a few outside the Bay Area) along with some information about what restrictions may exist at the various sites.

Just for information: There is a restroom building with some relatively moderate lighting that remains on all night and a malfunctioning brighter light that comes on and goes off all night long on a cycle of about 80 to 90 seconds. These lights are on the western side of the parking lot and I believe they have little or no effect on images made primarily on the East side of the meridian - and that is the darkest part of the sky anyway. However, the light is bright enough that it can and will affect a person's ability to become dark adapted, so I believe this site is better for imaging than observing.

Good luck,
Richard

  

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spraay2236 Registered since 27th Feb 2012Fri 01-Feb-13 11:57 AM
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#10. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

This is impressive. I'm going to have to learn about this image stacking software. I've wanted to do a little astrophotography, but clear skies very common here. Images like this make me want to try some more.

Thanks for sharing.

SP

Learning a little bit more, every day...

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Shakenbake Registered since 22nd Nov 2007Fri 01-Feb-13 05:10 PM
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#11. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0


Brevard, US
          

Well done. I have work to do.

A Bike can save your life!
www.pixeljuicephotos.com

My Nikonians gallery

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jmascharka Silver Member Charter MemberSun 03-Feb-13 01:20 AM
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#12. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0


livonia, US
          

Great shot! I'm really impressed with it. I'm researching techniques for astrophotography and hope to get started this summer. You're really inspired me to get moving on it.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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polardan Registered since 30th Sep 2012Mon 04-Feb-13 03:40 AM
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#13. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 12


Gisborne, AU
          

Brilliant, and inspiring.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Wed 06-Feb-13 03:51 AM
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#14. "RE: M31 Andromeda"
In response to Reply # 0
Wed 06-Feb-13 03:52 AM by glxman

South Australia, AU
          

Truly amazing image Richard,
Got me all exited there for a while, Ive also got a 300 f4,
Reading further down your post and subsequent google results soon showed me that there could be a "fiscal cliff" I would eventually fall over!

Thank you for sharing, even with all the "gadgets", you have shown an incredible skill,
Regards,
Gary

  

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