Andromeda – M31

The Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, or NGC 224 and originally the Andromeda Nebula (see below), is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth, and the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way. The galaxy’s name stems from the area of the Earth’s sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda.

The virial mass of the Andromeda Galaxy is of the same order of magnitude as that of the Milky Way, at 1 trillion solar masses (2.0×1042 kilograms). The mass of either galaxy is difficult to estimate with any accuracy, but it was long thought that the Andromeda Galaxy is more massive than the Milky Way by a margin of some 25% to 50%. This has been called into question by a 2018 study which cited a lower estimate on the mass of the Andromeda Galaxy, combined with preliminary reports on a 2019 study estimating a higher mass of the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy has a diameter of about 220,000 ly, making it the largest member of the Local Group at least in terms of extension, if not mass.

Andromeda - M31

The number of stars contained in the Andromeda Galaxy is estimated at one trillion (1×1012), or roughly twice the number estimated for the Milky Way.

The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are expected to collide in around 4.5 billion years, merging to form a giant elliptical galaxy or a large lenticular galaxy. With an apparent magnitude of 3.4, the Andromeda Galaxy is among the brightest of the Messier objects making it visible to the naked eye from Earth on moonless nights, even when viewed from areas with moderate light pollution.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy

Photos taken on 01-04.8.2019 at Zwardoń during PTMA rally.

  • Equipment: Canon EOS 6D, SkyWatcher Newton 1000/200 [mm], F5, coma corrector, NEQ6Pro.,
  • Composition: Astro Pixel Processor,
  • Processing: GIMP v2.10.14 + plug-ins (Linux),
  • Lights in the two session: 80 x 60[s] ISO 1000 + 4 x 120[s] ISO 1000 = 84 best frames,
  • Flats: 42 ISO-1000,
  • Darks: 28 ISO-1000,
  • Bias: 20 ISO-1000


Pleiades – M45

also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, are an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the star clusters nearest Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Reflection nebulae around the brightest stars were once thought to be left over material from the formation of the cluster, but are now considered likely to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium through which the stars are currently passing.

Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades were probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades

Plejady - M45

These are my first Pleiades for a just modified NEQ6Pro, assembly with belt drive instead of gears and new bearings. I modified the mount myself and after this photo session I see what else I need to improve and what activities I did not take to know and what mistakes I made.

At the first night I realized, that I had not aligned the polar scope axis with the mount, which practically prevented me from setting the mount to polar correctly. I had no idea that this should be done. Because of that the first photo session is just only 90 [s] exposure. That’s all I could get without the correct align of mount to polar. The next day I did my “lessons” and in the evening when the polar appeared in the sky, I aligned the mount axis as much as possible at -10 ° [C] degree by turning three tiny screws with a tiny allen key, in poor light, without winter gloves on my hands, until I was able to keep the key in this freeze night.

I aligned the mount as it was possible to carry out exposure of about 150 [s] at 1000/200 [mm] focal length of my telescope without guidng, but every second / third frame was still with traveling stars. I reduced the exposure time to 2 [min] to reduce the amount of waste material, still I had every 4-6 frame broken. I determined that the axle clearance pressure was set incorrectly in one of axis, which caused a noticeable small play, which I still have to cancel by adjusting the pressure.

I will refine the assembly and improve the results. When my Mgen Lacerta II comes back to me, then this assembly with this tube will show a what deserve. I hope.

Photos taken on 23-25.1.2020 at Żabnica with company of a friend Tomasz Siekiera, who made the square available for astrophotography. Thanks Tomek! 🙂

Equipment:

  • Canon EOS 6D (no mod.),
  • SkyWatcher Newton 1000/200 [mm] F5,
  • Coma corrector,
  • NEQ6Pro modification with some mistakes in the calibration process I’ve made due to my knowledge gaps. I’ll work on it in the near future.

Stacking, composition and data:

  • Astro Pixel Processor
  • GIMP v2.10.14 + plug-ins (Linux)
  • Lights in the two session: 175 x 90[s] ISO 1600 + 32 x 120[s] ISO 1600 = 207 – 10% bad quality rejected frames = 186 best frames with different time exposure,
  • Flats: 35 ISO-1600,
  • Dark Flats: 42 ISO-1600,
  • Darks: 42 ISO-1600,
  • Bias: 20 ISO-1600