Andromeda Galaxy

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by aloysius, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. aloysius

    aloysius Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2012
    Nevada City, California
    My real name is unreal
    Last week I had access to a mount that moves a telescope to track stars through the night sky. I'm thinking of buying a telescope optimized for astrophotography, so I gave it a try by mounting my E-M5 + Four Thirds adapter + 35-100 mm f/2 lens on the tracking mount.

    Astrophotographers generally stack many subexposures of dim astronomical objects, adding up to many minutes or hours of total exposure, to increase the signal to noise ratio. Not knowing what I'm doing (yet), I took many exposures to stack when I learn how. Meanwhile, I looked at some of the subs with LR5, and picked one 60 second exposure to try conventional image processing. If you can call the extreme slider settings I used as conventional ...

    Here is a crop of that single exposure, shot at f/2.8 and ISO 1600, with some of LR's sliders moved to their limits:


    I was very surprised at how well this single sub came out. You're looking at the spiral galaxy almost edge-on so the perspective is distorted, but you can make out some dark dust lanes between spiral arms. Now I'll experiment with stacking and processing with specialized astrophotography software to bring up the brightness and detail.
    • Like Like x 11
  2. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Very nice!
  3. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Awesome pic, for just being done with a native lens rather than a telescope.

    BTW, do you know the name of the (apparently) smaller spiral galaxy just above and behind Andromeda?
  4. aloysius

    aloysius Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2012
    Nevada City, California
    My real name is unreal
    Thanks, Djarum and Doug. I'm just learning this stuff, but the book The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets by Ruben Kier says that two satellite galaxies to Andromeda (M31) appear in photos. The one above and behind Andromeda in my photo is M110 (Messier 110). The other distant galaxy, at the edge of Andromeda's luminosity to the right of the bright core, is the dwarf elliptical galaxy M32.
  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Nicely done! :thumbup:
  6. Serhan

    Serhan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 7, 2011
    I like it, well done!
  7. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Really? That's with a 200mm equivalent lens? Even as a crop that's really clear.
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Phew! - Nicely done! :eek:
  9. aloysius

    aloysius Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2012
    Nevada City, California
    My real name is unreal
    Thanks everyone! drd1135, as you know, the 35-100 mm f/2 is an outstanding lens, and the E-M5 has an outstanding sensor. I'm still surprised and pleased by the first astrophotos I've ever taken.

    I'm looking forward to hanging the E-M5 on a quality 4 inch refractor, when my budget allows. Until then, I've just ordered an innovative new tracking mount for small telescopes and cameras and will take more astrophotos with the 35-100, the Four Thirds 50-200, with and without the EC-14 telextender. I'm beginning to get excited about photography again, which will carry over to my photography on planet Earth.
  10. colinhester

    colinhester Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 17, 2013
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Colin Hester
    Amazing capture. Once you learn to stack, you're going to be blown away. I'm very excited for you!
  11. PhilS

    PhilS Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 24, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Phil Savory
    great photo aloysius, congrats on your first of many :)

    What tracking mount did you order.

    I just got a 4" refractor on a GEM (german equatorial mount) and plan to do astrophotagraphy with my EM5.

    But you guessed it.. the weather has been lousy with intermittent rain and compounding that I am flat out at work.
  12. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    2nd on the request to know the mount, and a photo of your setup in action.
  13. aloysius

    aloysius Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2012
    Nevada City, California
    My real name is unreal
    Sorry I didn't notice your request for so long, sinclair. The mount is the iOptron ZEQ25, which seems to be outperforming its modest price. I've now "upgraded" my lens to a 100mm (4 inch aperture), 580mm focal length, f/5.8, APO Quad astrograph from Stellarvue. I'll start posting results in Amin's new Astrophotography forum.

    I'm still recovering from dropping the mount onto concrete. Not a good thing to do to a precision instrument. I think I'm there, now, but we've just started a week of rain so it will be a while before I can test the rebuilt mount to see if the final problem is fixed.
  14. rpringle

    rpringle Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 9, 2014
    Instead of making a new thread I decided to post my first attempt at M31 here. This was taken with my E-P5, Minolta Celtic 135mm f2.8, no tracking, from a heavy manfrotto tripod. Settings are as follows: f2.8, ISO 6400, 418 1s exposures stacked with DeepSkyStacker and processed using LR. Your image is much sharper but I didn't expect to get much myself without tracking. Perhaps I can improve this with some practice.

  15. aloysius

    aloysius Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2012
    Nevada City, California
    My real name is unreal
    Watch out, rpringle, astrophotography will capture you, and it is a money sink! A tracking mount is important for imaging moving objects (the sky) at long focal lengths. You did the right thing by taking short ('only' 1 second) exposures from your tripod and stacking them. I'll bet you have enough data in the stack to pull out some detail from Andromeda's core and to brighten the outer nebulosity. So that will suck you into post-processing, too, which is a time sink.

    It's fun, isn't it? :yahoo:
  16. rpringle

    rpringle Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 9, 2014
    Hah that's ok photography is a money sink in of itself anyway. I bought an 8 inch Newtonian Tele on a Dobsonian mount a couple years ago when I got the itch for astronomy. I got a couple good moon and saturn shots without tracking. I've been thinking about buying a tracking mount to handle the newt but they go over $1200 easy. I'm looking into the iOptron Skytracker right now, it looks like a decent solution and I've seen many good pictures taken with it. Not to mention it only goes for $369 right now and seems more simple to setup due to size, weight, and complexity.
  17. aloysius

    aloysius Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2012
    Nevada City, California
    My real name is unreal
    Your 8 inch newt is going to challenge that Skytracker a wee bit. :biggrin: My first telescope is a 4 inch refractor, mounted on an iOptron ZEQ25. They seem to be a good match. The small mount costs 'only' (I use that term in quotes for all things astronomical) $850. You'd need a bigger mount for your newt, though.

    Add photography to astronomy for the ultimate money sink.
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