My attempts at astro imaging

Posts tagged “galaxy

First of the new season – NGC891

This is the first image from the winter 2016 season – I swapped over to my SCT, so am now imaging at 2000mm focal length (For comparison, 3x zoom on a digital camera is around 55mm), which is a lot more challenging!

NGC891 is a edge on spiral galaxy around 30 million light years away, in the constellation of Andromeda (The Andromeda galaxy, the furthest object you can see with the naked eye, from a dark site, is only 2m LY away)



Added another 11 x 10min subs from last night, this time I used the Off Axis Guider rather than the separate 70mm frac as a guidescope. Not sure now what image is best!


M63 – Sunflower Galaxy

It was cloudy all day yesterday, I only looked outside to see if the cat was wanting in and I saw a lovely clear sky, time for Galaxy hunting!

M63, another galaxy like M51 in Canes Venatici around 37,ooo Light years away and was discovered by Charles Messier’s assistant Pierre Mechain in 1779. I got 16 x 10 minute subs, guiding is still pretty ropey and I think I am going to have to take a look at all my cables etc as something is a little loose, also my polar alignment seems to be slightly off……

I ran this image through the image annotation in Pixinsight, just to show off the other distant galaxies in the image.




Makarians Chain from CSOG2013 event

A few of us from the ScottishAstronomers group hired a house in the Scottish Borders for the weekend, unusually for us we had a clear night!  I have been wanting to get a bit of a closer view of Makarians Chain for a couple of years, the last attempt was with a William Optics ZS66 and the galaxies (although numerous) were just too small for my liking. This time I got the F4 Newt on the job and with it’s focal length of 800mm got a bit ‘further in’ so to speak!

Makarians Chain of galaxies, is a ‘chain’ of galaxies that forms part of the Virgo Cluster, at least 7 of the galaxies are moving coherently but there are a lot more than tha in this image! M84 and M86 are the 2 large galaxies in the centre.

I also caught 2 Minor Planets that can be seen to move across the frame but in the image below they are removed due to the stacking method involved – I will get a little animation of them up here shortly – once I have caught up with my sleep!MakariansChain-GlebeHouse

M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

Always a favourite galaxy to image, the Whielpool galaxy is actually 2 galaxies interacting. This was taken on the 17th of feb and is 15 x 10min subs with my Altair F4 newt.  All stacking and processing was carried out in Pixinsight – I managed to get Atois wavelets to actually work and sharpen the image at the linear stage (As well as applying noise reduction at this stage) and this made a huge difference to the finaly ‘crispness’ of the image!M51-with-inset-closeup

M97 and M108

I realy like it when I can get 2 objects in the same field of view and better still when one is inside and one outside the Milky Way.  M97, also known as the owl nebula is a planetary nebuala, the source star shed it’s outer layers when it reached the end of its life around 6000 years ago. M97 is roughly 2600 light years from us.

M108 is a barred spiral galaxy located about 45 million light years from us, both these objects are in Ursa Major.



M101 – Face on spiral galaxy

I have been wanting to do another M101 for a couple of years now – the original one was done with a DSLR a long time ago and I wanted to see if I could improve on it.  So this is 2 nights worth of images, 4hrs in total, mostly in 5min subs but with a few 10 min ones added at the end.  The usual scope – Altair 8″ F4 and camera, QHY8. I guided with a finder guider as there are not many stars in this area for the OAG to work on. I also applied PEC to this image, after using the new auto PEC feature in EQMod.

I was hoping for a little more in the way of detail but I suppose it’s not bad for only an 8″ scope in the UK skies that we have!

M101 is a nice face on spiral galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major and is 21 million light years from us, discovered in 1781 but the famous Charles Messier.



Here’s one thats been sitting on the hard drive for a couple of weeks – NGC891, I took it from the back garden observatory, it’s 17x10min subs,processed in Pixinsight and Photoshop (Setup was the usual, Altair F4Newt, QHY8 and Lodestar/OAG for guiding). Was a bit of a pig to process as I seemed to have a red halo round the middle third of the frame, I have seen this before and it appears to be some of the red light in the observatory leaking on to the CCD Sensor of the QHY8.

NGC891 is an edge on galaxy in Andromeda, it’s around 30 million light years away! Hubble has also had a look at this galaxy, it got a little closer in…….

PGC120 & PGC129

This is a crop from the stacked image that made up the P168/Hergenrother video clip. I dont know anythign about them but they are a nice pair of galaxies!  PGC120 is the one with the bright core, PGC129 is the other one…. I’m off for a google to see if I can find out any more about them!


Apparently this pair is known as the Taffy Galaxies??? Distance is estimated to be around 150 million light years!!! Also identified as  UGC 12914 & UGC12915 It seems these 2 galaxies have had a direct collision and this is the cause of the odd shape see &


Here is an annotated version, you can see a few more of these PGC galaxies….

M33 – Annotated

I have used the excellent Plate Solve and Annotate scripts within Pixinsight as well as the new function, adaptive stretch, which really seems to make the initial transform from linear to non-linear data a skoosh!

Anyway, the plate solve has showed up a lot of little galaxies that I never knew were there!  The PGC markers are these tiny distant galaxies, some of which have no distance data, the couple I did find were in the region of 500,000 light years!  You need to click the image to see it full size in order to see these little background galaxies


Season 2012 M33

This was taken on the 17th of September and is 4hrs 10mins in 10 minute subs, taken with the usual setup of Altair Astro F4 Imaging Newt and QHY8, guided with a Lodestar in an OAG.

I struggled a bit with some wierd gradients in this image, I think I might go back to Deep Sky Stacker to do the initial stack, rather than using Pixinsight.  Processing, by the way was almost totally done in Pixinsight, with the exception of a couple of little cosmetic tweaks and resizing for the web, these being done in Photoshop.

M33, this is one of the ‘Local Group’ of galaxies surrounding out own Milky Way, and estimates put it around 3 million light years from us, so it’s a little further than Andromeda.  It is around 5,000 light years wide and has quite a few Ha regions (the red blothches) which are areas where new stars are being formed.

It is very faint but is supposedly naked eye from a dark site, although I have been to the Kielder star party and have never managed to even see a hint of it!  If you fancy hunting it down with a scope the finder chart below should help, it’s pretty close to Andromeda, so if you cant find it, just swing across and have a look at M31 instead!