M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy

Publication: An early process of this picture is featured on the product page of the AT65EDQ on Astronomics.com.

I thought I would start a new category on this blog to post my Astro Images (which are also uploaded on my Gallery).

This image is my first true Astro Image. It was taken on September 3rd 2011 in Anza, CA at the observing site of the Orange County Astronomers association. This was the first time I used most of my equipment including my Direct CMOS cooling system for 500D. It proved to be working efficiently and reliably throughout the night.

Despite some difficulties framing this target (because of a significant offset between my RDF used to create my model and the AT65EDQ) I was eventually able to locate and properly center M31 on my 500D CMOS. Focus was achieved using a Bahtinov mask, guiding was taken care of an ST80, SSAG camera and PhD guiding, finally data acquisition was done with Backyard-EOS. I used ISO1600 and exposures of 120, 300 and 600 s to try and capture both core and the fainter arms of the Galaxy.

Details about equipment, exposures and processing are listed below the image:

  • Date: September 3rd 2011
  • Camera: Canon 500D Baader Modified and CP30T-EOS Cooled (Sensor maintained at 15 C – Exif temperature: 15 C)
  • ISO: 1600
  • Exposures: 3 hours total, 1 hour of 120 s subs, 1 hour of 300 s subs, 1 hour of 600 s subs
  • Mount: Losmandy G11 Gemini 2
  • Imaging Telescope: AT65EDQ
  • Guiding Telescope: ST80 w/ SSAG
  • Calibration: Darks
  • Stacking: I did three DSS jobs (1 for each hour of data)
  • Final blending/processing: Adobe Photoshop CS5
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