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Is this the Andromeda galaxy M31?

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16 hours ago, Dark Adaptation said:

Speaking of the Andromeda galaxy, I hope you don't mind if I ask about one of my pictures here. I am reasonably sure that it is the Andromeda galaxy, because when I zoom in I think I can almost see the clouds around the edges.  But I would appreciate some conformation, and if not, some suggestions about what else it might be. I'm using a Maksutov-Cassegrain 750x60mm telescope and an Android phone (4 years old) with the standard camera app.

As Allworlds has said, with the stars missing its hard to figure out where exactly you are pointing in the sky

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On 09/11/2022 at 15:56, imakebeer said:

I'm still itching to get back out there but literally have not had a chance in the last few days due to clouds and rubbish weather

Getting back to my OP, I have an update for you all, though frankly I'm amazed people are still liking and commenting on what was really just a very quick query! 😁👍 To be fair this is now diverging from my original question, away from "Getting Started with Observing" and firmly into the realms of astrophotography - but I've started so I'll finish 😂 To be clear from the outset though, besides a few very basic planetary photos I know very little about AP, and certainly not DSOs!

Anyway, I managed to get out briefly last night for just 45-60mins, just in the back garden. I didn't bother getting the telescope out (not that a 900mm/70mm refractor is a behemoth by any stretch!), instead relying just on a small pair of binoculars, plus my DSLR on a very basic lightweight Alt-Az tripod (Nikon D5500+ Nikkor 18-300mm lens). Through the binos I could jump from Mirach to mu-And. to nu- & 32-And. to just make out the faint smudge of M31.

Then with the DSLR I started wide open and took a series of exposures, gradually zooming in on M31, adjusting ISO and exposure time while simultaneously nudging the tripod this way and that to get M31 dead centre in the view, eventually working my way up to the full 300mm FL. Once I got there I took 18 shots (plus 5 dark) at 5s and ISO 4000, f/6.3 is as wide open as this lens goes at this FL. I have no idea if 18 shots is enough or not - I'd have done more but the battery in my remote shutte release died! 🤣 I could have used the built in timer and done loads but having got the shot lined up perfectly I figured pushing buttons on the camera would just upset everything.

I've run everything through Sequator and had a play around with the settings - this is the result I was happiest with. I'm moderately pleased, although I had hoped for a bit more - you can see nu- & 32-Andromeda towards the bottom of the image, and I think M110 in the background above the core of M31.

There's a bit of star trailing and it's a bit grainy but remember at this stage I don't know how to use the histogram, I've no tracking and I've still got loads to learn about capturing AND post-processing beyond basic stuff in Sequator, not to mention I don't have much expeirence of what camera settings work for me. But it's a step in the right direction at least 👍😁🔭


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  • 2 months later...
13 hours ago, DSviewer said:

I find SkySafari brilliant for not only navigating to but finding out about the deep sky targets such as M31 rise and set times etc

So do I, actually--though I use Stellarium more often than SkySafari. SkySafari is more useful when you're outside, though, and need a star map that radiates its own light.

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