Friday, April 29, 2011

The Leo Triplet

I have been itching to image these galaxies since getting my Nikon D7000! We have succumbed to strong winds and clouds for the last two months, but tonight was clear and calm. I headed to a spot about 20 miles north of my home, set up and started shooting. Pretty chuffed with the result! I can maybe process out a bit more noise, but that might be light pollution.

Image Details:

  • Imaging Scope: Astrotelescopes 80mm ED Refractor
  • Imaging Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Guiding Scope: William Optics 66mm Petzval Refractor
  • Guiding Camera: Meade DSI-C
  • Mount: Celestron CGEM
  • Exposures: 7 * 7 minute lights, 5 * 7 minute darks
  • ISO 640
  • Aligned and Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
  • Post-Processing in GIMP (contrast, saturation and unsharp mask)
  • Noise Reduction in NeatImage


RoryG said...

Nice shot! That's one of my favorite targets. Good focus, good detail, and you've gotten some good color in all three galaxies. Do you have a light pollution filter?

Phil said...

Thanks, Rory! Quite chuffed with the end product. Half my night was spent remembering how to use my gear as it had been a while.

No light pollution filter. I thought these galaxies would come out fine but I guess they were just a bit too close to the Austin light dome. Dark skies next weekend, hopefully!

Polaris B said...

Yes, lovely result, Phil! I really like the detail, and you have some of the fluff around the detail on M66--makes it look a good match for M65. Pretty deep on the Ham Sandwich Galaxy, too! Congrats on such a nice image. You're making that camera do good work.

dzsobacsi said...


It is truly amazing what you can achieve with your gear. I googled the web for D7000+astro, I found your site and I said wow!
I wonder whether you would be so kind to make a post about the technical nitty-gritty of a great picture like this (D7000 settings, focusing technics, post-processing steps and tricks, etc). I think it would be great for folks like me - years of visual observing but absolutely beginner with my D7000 and the post-processing miracles...


Phil said...

Hi Dzobacsi,

Thanks both for visiting my blog and the compliment!

Your idea is good one! I have admittedly just finished wrapping up a Master's program, and now have some free time. I've been wanting to add to my astro articles (at top right of the blog) for a while, and a beginner level "how-to" for astrophotography seems to be a good idea. When the current new moon period is over and I am not out imaging or processing, I'll get started.


Phil said...

Thanks, Val! Having fun with the camera indeed!