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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Andromeda Galaxy

Here's a final image that I managed to get during the recent clear skies. As often happens, the night skies cleared around the time of full moon. Full moon is the time most optical astronomers would prefer to have cloudy skies since they usually stop observing because the sky is so bright. However, I wanted to experiment a bit to see what I could do with my inexpensive 80mm f/5 refractor, so I ignored the bright sky to get an idea of what could be done with this telescope and the 20D.
My tagret for the evening was the Andromeda Galaxy, or M31. This galaxy is the twin of our own galaxy, The Milky Way, and one of our closest neighbors, residing only 2 million light-years away.
This image is made up of 157 - 15 second exposures, combined with a piece of freeware called Rot 'n' Stack. Once this software finished up, I then applied some additional processing in Photoshop, stretching and a radial gradient mask, to knock down the bright, uneven background. Not too bad considering how poor the conditions were the night it was taken. I'm looking forward to doing this under dark skies. Canon 20D - 39 minutes, 15 seconds total integration, 80mm @ f/5, ISO 800

3 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

Very nice image of M-31! I'm gonna have to download me a copy of Rot' & Stack and play with it. All those timelapse sequences of mine could be used for several stacked deep images....

10:46 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Thanks. This image is cropped a bit too since the drive wasn't exactly tracking at sidereal.

Here's the url:
http://www.gdargaud.net/Hack/RotAndStack.html

It's not too bad, but it is a little slow. You are limited to the size of the RAM you have too, so too many images will stop the program without prior notice.

11:11 AM  
Blogger uderhood said...

I'm impressed with your site, very nice graphics!
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9:35 AM  

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