The Andromeda Galaxy ... Messier 31



The Andromeda Galaxy
This is a 2 hour 40 minute exposure ...
I took this image on the night of Monday, September, 23, 2019. This is a collection of 80 frames at 120 seconds each for a total of a 2 hour 40 minute exposure. This is a remastered image using a 2x drizzle function in the stacking program to bring out more details.

The blue star above the galaxy is Beta Andromedae known as Mirach. The bright fuzzy ball to the top left of the galaxy is a dwarf galaxy, M32 and the small ellipsoid below the galaxy is the small companion galaxy M110.

The Andromeda Galaxy is our galactic neighbor being about 2.5 million light-years away and consists of about 1 trillion stars, as compared to about 250 billion stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy. You can see this galaxy with the unaided eye in dark skies high in the NE by 9 pm in mid October and high overhead around midnight.

Pure Imagination
When you look at the images coming in, you really need to use your imagination to envision the final product. As you can see in this picture, there certainly was a lot of imagination needed. I started recording the sub-frames around 1 am when the target was just past the meridian (high overhead passing from the eastern sky to the western portion of the sky with the last frame at 2 am. I had to keep the 'dew buster" heating straps on the camera lens active to ward off the nighttime developing dew in order to keep the lens clear. I had attached the camera 'piggy-backed' on the telesope in order to use the tracking mount to follow the galaxy as the earth rotates.

The Techy Stuff:
The Techy Stuff ... For those who want to know ...
Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Setting: 200mm (12 degrees viewing angle)
Camera: Altair Hypercam 294c Pro TEC
Camera interface: Altair Canon EOS Lens Adapter Spacer - Hypercam TEC
Filter: Altair QuadBand OSC CCD 2" Narrow Band
Camera Settings: 60 seconds at gain of 30,000 ... temp: 23F (-5C)
Capture Software: SharpCap Pro v3.2.6054 64 bit
Mount: Celestron AVX
Mount Control: Celestron PWI v2.1.25
Subframes: 80
Darks: 30
Bias: 30
Flats: 39
Mount: Celestron AVX ... Tracked but Unguided
Polar Alignment: QHY Pole Master
Stacking: Deep Sky Staker v4.2.2 64 bit at 2x Drizzle
Post Procession: PixInsight & PhotoShop CC
Bortle Light Pollution zone: 6.5
Seeing Conditions: 9 (out of 10)
Temperature: 69F (20.5C), Dew Point 63F (17.2C)
Location: My Backyard, Savannah, GA


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