Oct 052015
 

M74-combined_1000x600

In his book, The Messier Objects Stephan James O’Meara calls this galaxy ‘The Phantom,’ writing “No object in the Messier catalogue has proven more troublesome, more elusive, more provocative to amateur astronomers than this giant spiral.” M74, also known as NGC 628 is galaxy with 40 billion stars and a diameter of 97,000 light years. Compare this to our own Milky Way galaxy which has at least 100 billion stars and a diameter of 100,000 light years. While more diffuse than the Milky Way, M74 has a similar armed spiral structure.

I was drawn to trying to capture an image of M74 as I can imagine a sentient being on a planet around one of those stars looking up in their night sky and contemplating us in a galaxy 32 million light years away that looks not that much different.

This image is a combination of thirty 6-minute exposures on the night of October 4-5, through a Takahashi Mewlon 250 telescope operating at f/19.2 with a Canon 6D camera.

 

 

Jul 312014
 

M51, Whirlpool Galaxy

This image of the Whirlpool Galaxy was captured thje night of July 29-30, 2014. It represents a total exposure of 3 hr 40 min (44 5-minute exposures). The Whirlpool Galaxy, M51 is 23 million light-years from earth. M51 interacts with its companion galaxy NGC 5195 (above). ImagesPlus 5.75 and Photoshop were used for image processing.

 

Nov 262013
 

M33 Triangulum GalaxyThe Triangulum Galaxy (M33) is a member of the Local Group of galaxies that includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) over fifty other galaxies that are bound together gravitationally. M33 is somewhat smaller than the Milky Way and M31, and at nearly 3 million light years away is more distant than M31 (about 2.5 million light years). Under clear dark skies, M33 can sometimes be seen without a telescope as a dim patch of light about twice as wide as a full moon, making it the most distant object that can be seen with the naked eye.

To created this image, I combined 73 3-minute exposures on a Canon 6D camera connected to a Takahashi FSQ-106 telescope at f/5.

Nov 012013
 

M31After purchasing a new DSLR camera, a Canon 6D, one of the first targets I wanted to focus on was the Andromeda Galaxy, M31. This image was taken in morning of October 29. It represents a total of 135 2-minute exposures. Processing was done using ImagesPlus 5.5. Compare with an image taken in 2008.

Oct 252008
 
Andromeda Galaxy, M31

Andromeda Galaxy, M31

Light from the Andromeda Galaxy reaches us after traveling for 2.5 million years. This Galaxy is a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way, but larger. It contains roughly a trillion stars or about three times as many as in the Milky Way. Almost all of the stars you see in this photograph as pinpoints of light are stars in the Milky Way, a few tens of thousands of light years away. The stars in the Andromeda Galaxy are so far away that their light appears to merge as fuzzy regions of brightness in this photo. Other telescopes can make out individual stars in the Andromeda Galaxy.

This image was created as a mosaic of three overlapping images. Exposures were taken through four filters: Clear, Red, Green and Blue using an SBIG ST-8XME camera attached to a Takahashi FSQ-106 refractor telescope at f/5 over the course of two nights: October 18 and 25, 2008. Total accumulated exposure times were: Clear (3.75 min), Red (4.2 min), Green (4.2 min), Blue (6.7 min).