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The Andromeda (M31 w/ ST102) challenge.


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Under "custard coloured" skies at the moment - HIgh cloud by day (and night?)!

Had been doing a bit of "testing" with the ST102 F5 Achromat. Since it was still

on the mount later on, thought I'd have a go at some video with the the old girl. :)

Some of the real time images looked vaguely promising - Not the 8" / F4 Newt (Now my the stars even MORE blobby!). But I could see the "usual suspects" (globulars etc.). So thought I'd set up a real challenge: M31 (Andromeda) - Known to have low surface brightness. Hey, it's a big galaxy seen closeup, right? ;)

This a single frame snapshot, with Watec at "full whack" (256 frames 10s integ.)


Well, you can just about SEE the *nucleus* of Andromeda in real time, I guess? :p

Then I remembered my FoV was only ~ONE deg, so added an Atik 0.5x reducer!

And indeed with 102mm @ f / 2.8 (approx.), things got a fair bit brighter & smaller:

But still not much evidence (not shown) of the galaxy structure. So I weakened...

...and took a 100 frame avi (Sense 200 would have be better, but no patience)!

This the result of stacking in Registax. An arbitrary choice of the "best" 60/100:


Now we're starting to get the familiar structure? Then went mad with processing:

(Rotated image 180o to look a bit more like O'Meara's Book on Messiers too!).


Mostly adjusting "levels" & fiddling with gamma "curves"? OK, I overcooked it! :D

Conclusion: Good old video astro delivers? Even with a budget 4" / F5 achro?

P.S. In answer to "how I did it" (image processing) - Still learning, but basically do:

http://www.astropixe..._and_curves.htm (rather like this bloke?)

Described FAR better than I will here! The dialog boxes are almost the same in

my ancient version of Marcromedia Fireworks v.2 as his version of Photoshop. :)

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