Sunday, October 03, 2010

M31 Andromeda

Here is my M31 "best of" image. I went through several iterations of processing on the set of images I acquired this past Friday night. While these were long~ish exposures (five minutes), I still really had to bend the curves and settings to get the image to look like this, and it really brought out some noise. I now think I need to take 10-minute exposures to get decent RAW images to stack and work from without inducing the noise and graininess seen in the resulting image. It IS better than my last attempt, for sure.

Image Details

  • Imaging Scope: William Optics 66mm Petzval Refractor
  • Imaging Camera: Nikon D40
  • Guiding Scope: Astrotelescopes 80mm ED Refractor
  • Guiding Camera: Meade DSI-C
  • Exposures: 19 * 5 minute lights, 4 * 5 minute darks
  • ISO 800
  • Aligned and Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
  • Post-Processing in GIMP (contrast, saturation and unsharp mask)
  • Noise Removal in Neat Image
I am going to try this again in a few days' time. My M51 shot from a few months ago came out nicely at ISO400 with 10 minute exposures. That may be the ticket for this...


RoryG said...

Nice work, Phil! M31 is (to me) a lot harder to image and process that it seems that it ought to be.

Phil said...

Thanks, Rory! Difficult object indeed. It's big enough and "close" enough yet remains a tricky little so-and-so! I went out to try again tonight but a cloud band followed me to my dark sky site so I got nothing but a nice country drive. Hopefully will get another shot later in the week.