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December 5, 2016: Very first attempt at M31

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Had a first shot in a very long time at DSO imaging, and my very first attempt at M31, ever (except for a sketch in 1979), using a Vixen GP mount, APM 80mm F/6 triplet, TRF-2008 0.8x reducer, and modded Canon EOS 450D. Just ten lights (120s ISO 1600), unguided, twenty flats, but just two darks (for now, will try to get more to stack properly). I didn't get focus right so simply downscaled the image to mask the lack of focus. Swore at the mount for not tracking to discover the clutch was off :iamwithstupid:.  Swore at Deep Sky Stacker for just stacking 2 out of ten lights, and stacked the stuff in AS!2, which did do what it was told. Finaly got things to work more or less, and got this first shot of three Messiers.


Need to get rid of gradients, etc, but will get round to that later


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Welcome to that wonderful and frustrating world that is astrophotography.

Despite all your woes, you got an image of M31 & co, with dark dust lanes and some weak blue details in the arms. If/when you get the gradients sorted out, you'll see that the image is much better than at first sight.

As for processing, I can recommend PixInsight. It isn't cheap, but it gives you better control over the calibration and stacking process than DSS, and has a great background correction method (plus all the extra stuff).

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