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This is one of the objects which data I’m going through which I captured during the last couple of months.
This is an image of M104 which I captured across a few nights starting end of March and a couple of nights in April.
This was imaged at 2032mm, the 8” SCT native focal length, 300s, 600s and 900s ISO800 subs.
This didn’t come out as well as I hoped it would, no details in the edge shadow, but during those nights I was fighting slight haze… this is an object which I’ll have to image again in the future.
3 objects left to process.
Subframes: 70 x 200s luminance, 5 x 200s each for RGB 2 x 2 binned), 20 darks and bias frames, 20 flats for each channel (image stacking, hot pixel and gradient removal in Astroart, curves and colour composition in Paint Shop Pro).
I had never attempted to image this galaxy before, and thought it might be a bit of a challenge for my Vixen ED114 given its low location in the sky. For me, objects this low down in the southern sky are badly obscured by light pollution from the Aurora Maidstonealis. In terms of imaging, I find that light pollution filters don't really offer any contrast boosting effect, and that image processing seems to be a better option to offset light sky backgrounds. What do others find, I wonder?
Given that these were my first clear nights in nearly six weeks I couldn't really ignore the opportunity, even though the seeing wasn't great and the sky not truly dark (high haze, I think). On the plus side, the moon was new and caused no glare problems. Nevertheless, the conditions led to somewhat noisy sub-frames with gradients that I scrubbed up as best I could using the nifty Astroart gradient removal plug-in, plus noise flattening in PaintShop Pro (curves and edge preserving smooth). I don't normally bother with dark frames but it did seem to help with the background noise in this case. My ancient SXV-H9 camera is not set-point cooling regulated and so maybe the warmer weather is adding a dose of electronic noise to my subs.
The output is never going to win any prizes of course, but in the end I was quite pleased with this effort, even if it only shows the Sombrero's dust lane and little else.
Any comments or processing suggestions welcome, but I don't have Pixinsight or Photoshop CS. So if my fleem needs sprigomising or something like that, then alas, so be it...
Took this M104 aka the Sombrero Galaxy during my lest year visit to Namibia (April 2017).
M104 is quite a small object for an F3.6 telescope but since it is very difficult to photo this object from my country I decided to take some photos. Hope you like it
6 x 10Min Luminance in BIN1 = 1 Hour
25Min for each RGB in BIN2 = 75Min
Total Expo: 2:15 Hours
Telescope: ASA 12'' F3.6 Astrograph
Mount: ASA DDM85 Mount
Camera: FLI8300 with Astrodon filters
You can also check my other versions of this Galaxy in my Flickr page:
Thanks for watching,
By Martin Meredith
I finally got some clear skies over the last two nights and spent much of it in the fantastic galaxy ground that is Coma and Virgo. I'll post some of the deeper objects later, but here are three very different Messier galaxies in Virgo. All shots were taken with my alt-az mounted Quattro 8" f4 Newt, Lodestar X2 mono, no filters, no darks nor flats, with live processing in StarlightLive v3. Skies SQM 20.4 at zenith (the streetlamp in front of the house has been replaced by LEDs which has made quite a difference).
First, M61 in 4 x 15s. The last time I observed this was a couple of years back when the supernova appeared. On that occasion I recall setting my alarm for 4 am and desperately shooting through gathering mist in November; the detail was nowhere near as good but at least the SNR was clear. The inset shows the result of letting the stacking do its work. Not only is the background smoother, but the fainter outer spiral arms are beginning to show up. In practice, for an object with as much detail as thus I observe for at least 21x15s.
Here’s M87 with its famous jet (pointing NW in terrestrial terms). The main shot is a single 15s sub, with a 2-minute capture in the inset. The two tiny galaxies forming a dotted line to the NE are mag 16.1 UGC 7652 and mag 16.7 UGC 7652, and I was quite surprised to pick them up in this short an exposure. But what I find really remarkable is that the 15s sub has detected a little cluster of galaxies (encircled) which on further investigation via Aladin turn out to be members of a SDSS compact group collection (I only have mags 18.6 and 18.5 for two of the members). Although I've been using it for a while, the sensitivity of the Lodestar X2 continually amazes me.
Finally, M104, the Sombrero, which almost sits astride the Virgo/Corvus border. The main frame is a single 15s shot with the inset a total exposure of 2 minutes, again showing the main benefit in clearing up the background/allowing a bigger stretch.
I must say that I’m impressed by the defective pixel removal feature of StarlightLive 3. I didn’t take darks at all, and this enabled me to use a wide range of exposures during the session, from 1s to 30s. I don't see any hot pixel trailing in any of the shots from that night. Nice one, Paul!
Thanks for looking