StormEffects

Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti


     M31 Andromeda Galaxy

M32 & M110 Companion Galaxies

Andromeda

 

Messier 31 is a large spiral Galaxy in the constellation of Andromeda and was once known as the "Great Andromeda Nebula". This galaxy is a gigantic collection of more than 300 billion stars, and possibly up to a trillion stars and  is located 2.5 million light-years from Earth.  It is actually the most distant deep space object that can be seen with the human eye!

M31 is heading towards our Milky Way Galaxy and may collide with it and possibly merge into a gigantic elliptical galaxy in about 3 billion years.  M31 is bright enough to easily be seen with the unaided eye from a dark-sky observing site, but as with any other deep-sky object, its visibility can be drastically reduced by light pollution.

Companion dwarf elliptical galaxies M32 (just above M31)) and M110 (lower right of image frame) are also visible, as well as NGC 206, a brighter stellar association visible inside of M31 as a bright collection of stars in the lower left of the galaxy.

North is to the right in this image.

IMAGE DETAILS:

  • Date & Location:  November 8th/9th & Nov 15th/16th, 2015 - StarEffects Observatory, Bernville. PA

  • Weather:  N1 calm winds/Average Temp 33F - N2 light air/Average Temp 40F

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with Above Average Transparency transition to Average both nights. 

  • SQM-L:  Start to Finish  NI 20:32 - 20:40 - 20:30,  N2 20:30-20:40

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is 540mm w/Field Flattener @ f5.4

  • Filter:  Astronomic  EOS clip-in CLS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  TeleVue TV60is - Orion Star Shoot AG - 5 second exp - excellent graph

  • Camera:  Canon 6DH Hutech Full Frame Modified UV/IR - DSLR

  • Exposure:  N1-16-1 min/16-5min/21-9min, N2-29-8min ISO800  (total 8 hours 40 minutes)

  • Calibration Frames: No Darks or Bias 37F average - 10 Flats Used acquired w/Alnitak Flat Man

  • Processing:    Images Plus 5.75a  DD-HDR Combine, PS CS6, DSLR-LLRGB, NIK filter tools 

  • Comments:  This was a target I had attempted to photograph soon after getting started with astro imaging (see below), and it was time to try again with a more sensitive camera, more exposure time, and better processing techniques.  I am overall pleased with the results since I was able to extract much more detail and clarity to this beautiful deep space object. 

 

Previous Image Attempts Shown Below

December 2009 below

 

The Andromeda Galaxy is thought to appear very similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy and is also our closest neighboring galaxy at 2.2 million light years.  It can be seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy patch from moderately dark skies.  Satellite galaxies M32 & M110 are visible in the above photo  as well.

IMAGE DETAILS:

  • Date & Location:  December 17, 2009 (evening) - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Light winds, 27F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Scattered Cirrus clouds with average transparency. 

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor with 0.8x TeleVue Reducer = 432mm @ f4.3

  • Filter:  Astronomic  EOS clip-in CLS-CCD (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  Losmandy G-11 equatorial with Gemini V4

  • Guiding:  Orion Solitaire w/TeleVue TV60is

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  48 min (6 x 8 min) @ ISO 800 RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  No dark frame subtraction (27F)

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, GradientXTerminator, NIK 

  • Comments:  Cirrus covered a good part of the sky resulting in loss of signal and and enhanced light pollution.  Compare  with image captured 10/19/09 with smaller aperture scope and 10 minutes less exposure time. 

October 2009 Below

 

The Andromeda Galaxy is thought to appear very similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy and is also our closest neighboring galaxy at 2.2 million light years.  It can be seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy patch from moderately dark skies.  Satellite galaxies M32 & M110 are visible in the above photo  as well.

IMAGE DETAILS:

  • Date & Location:  October 19, 2009 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind - 38F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with average transparency. 

  • Optics:  TeleVue TV60is Refractor (360mm -f/6) with field flattener.

  • Filter:  Hutech IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  Losmandy G-11 equatorial with Gemini V4

  • Guiding:  None

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  38 min (2 x 5min, 7 x 4min) @ ISO 800, RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  In camera dark frame subtraction

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, NIK 

  • Comments:  This is one of my first light images that was tracked, but not guided.  Polar alignment was off in part due to an off center reticle in my polar alignment scope and PEC was needed as well.

 

 

 

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