Discussion in 'Landscape & Cityscape' started by crimbfighter, Sep 7, 2019.
Under particularly good viewing conditions it can be seen a smudge once the eye is fully dark adapted (provided you know where to look). I believe it's the only other galaxy that can be seen as more than a point of light by the unaided eye.
Although I live in a semi rural area it's never visible round here without assistance, but there are spots within 100 miles that should be suitable on the right night...
Thanks! It's really a fun process. Obviously purchasing the necessary equipment was important. I went middle of the road in terms of expense, but even on a fairly tight budget, there are great options for getting the equipment. I use a Celestron 8" SCT telescope on a computerized equatorial mount. This type of mount requires one axis to be aligned with the rotational axis of the earth. This allows the RA (right ascension) and Dec (declination) axis' to point the telescope in any direction. The mount then uses your location, date, and time to know where known objects are in the sky. After aligning and locating your object, the mount moves the telescope in sync with the rotation of the earth. This allows an object to be held in the same spot for long periods of time. With that, a second camera monitors a chosen star and sends corrections to the mount to adjust for any error in the tracking. This allows exposures of many minutes with only a couple pixels of error.
After taking the exposures, I use a program called Deep Sky Stacker to align and stack all of the individual exposures. The stacking process allows several shorter exposures to be combined to effectively be one very long exposure. Why not just take one long exposure, you ask? Several reasons. One, the camera sensors have issues with heat causing degraded image quality over time. Second, if a plane, cloud, or satellite whiz across the frame, it's better to lose only one short exposure in stead of losing a two hour long exposure. Also, this allows, in some cases, several separate nights of imaging the same object, and you can combine the data from all those nights into one. Some people end up with 20 hour equivalent exposures this way. After the files are stacked, I finish it in PS and LR. There are numerous programs that can be used to accomplish all these tasks, some you pay for and some you don't. I tend to use free ones to keep cost down. Oh, I also control the camera with a program called Backyard Nikon. This allows me to control the camera via USB from my laptop. It also takes care of file handling.
That's a very condensed version of events, and there are many more steps and considerations involved, but I'd be here all day if I talked about everything! I would suggest watching these two youtube channels if you're interested. Both of these guys are passionate about the hobby and very knowledgeable. I learned a lot watching them do their thing.
There's no time like the present! For me It's rising in the ENE, just after dark, so I have lots of time on it.
Yup, well, kinda. See below!
petrochemist is absolutely right. It's only visible as a small fuzzy ball, which is only the brightest part of the core. To see any definition of the gaseous disk, you need more sensitive tools. The Orion Nebula is another one you can see with simple binoculars. That's a great winter target!
Thank you all!
Thanks for the details. Really nice of you to share your process!
Gotcha! That makes more sense. I guess I'm lucky to have captured it on my milky way shots! It's obviously nothing compared to this amazingness. I'm curious, what does just one image look like? If you hadn't stacked it? Can you get anything good with a single exposure?
I have the Celestron 6 with the AzAlt mount so it looks like I might be able to replicate this. Do you have the wedge also? I am in VA and that may be what makes this difficult.
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