Showing posts from September, 2011

Doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door

My first serious attempt at astro imaging - taken from just outside my back door. This is the galaxy M31 in Andromeda. Stack of 50 luminance, 25 red, 25 green, and 25 blue frames, along with 25 dark frames. Exposures were 15 seconds (the mount is not polar aligned). Camera is a Meade DS3, at prime focus of an Orion ED80T-CF 80mm F/6 apochromatic refractor. Mount is an iOptron MiniTower Pro. Images were acquired and stacked with Stark Labs Nebulosity. Final tweaking in Photoshop.

Thirty years ago this fall, as an undergrad, I took an astronomy class at NMSU. As part of that class, we got to try astrophotography. At the time, that meant loading a large, heavy, fragile glass plate with photo emulsion coating into a 16" fixed-mount Cassegrain telescope. I chose M31 as my target. I then had to stand at the eyepiece and manually guide the exposure. The whole setup probably cost $300,000 (it belonged to the university), and I spent about two hours hunched over t…