Entries tagged as Andromeda

Perseids meteor shower 2016 in Naju

Perseids meteor streaks across the top right over the ancient tombs in Naju (14% size)

This year's Perseids meteor shower was predicted to be prominent, garnering lots of public interest. Unfortunately for someone in Naju, the northern sky that the shower was to take place is polluted with light from Gwangju, making it hard to watch the fainter ones. To get a better view, I moved about 17km southwest to the Naju Bannam tumuli (ancient tomb mounds that encompass Sinchon-ri, Deoksan-ri, and Daean-ri tombs) next to the Naju National Museum. Upon arrival, I was disappointed to discover that the light pollution was still quite bad.

It was still better than being at home, so I set up my camera with the Deoksan-ri tombs #2 (left) and #3 (right) in front. There were already two families nearby who came to watch the sky. In the two hours I stayed, I was able to watch about five meteors falling, far less than the supposed maximum of 150 per hour. Of those, the camera caught two of them, the most striking one being shown here. The streak was going through the Andromeda constellation; the fuzzy dot to the left of the streak is the Andromeda Galaxy.

Meanwhile, the airplanes appeared much more often in the sky - there was one every five minutes or so. This is due to being more or less in the direct path of the flights between Seoul and Jeju, as well as Incheon and Southeast Asian cities. Even in this photo, the Mandarin Airlines flight AE231 (Incheon-Taipei) was caught on the left as a knotted line.

Device: Sony A5000 + SELP1650 (E PZ 16–50 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS)
Settings: 16mm - ISO 400 - 15s - f/3.5
Filters: None
Time: 2016-08-12 23:37:27 KST
Location: Naju, Korea

And oh, here's Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda Galaxy, as seen in better conditions (15% size)

Just before taking photos of the Orion Nebula on November 12, I pointed my telescope to get some images of the Andromeda Galaxy. This was, of course, in hopes of getting better results than a week ago. And as you can see, there were indeed some improvements. Details near the core are more noticeable, and a part of the outer "ring" is starting to get visible on the lower left if you look with a bright monitor. Still, it seems that I need even darker skies to get a clearer photo of this galaxy.

FYI, the tiny galaxy to the left of the Andromeda Galaxy is Messier 32. If you click on the picture for a larger view, you can see another galaxy, Messier 110, at the bottom right as a fain blob.

Telescope: Celestron NexStar 6SE + f/6.3 focal reducer
Device: Sony A5000 (prime focus)
Settings: (945mm) - ISO 1250 - 30s - (f/6.3)
Filters: None (3 photos) + Baader M&S (2 photos)
Time: 2015-11-12 00:06-00:19 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
5 photos stacked with Deep Sky Stacker 3.3.4

Andromeda Galaxy through the fog

Andromeda Galaxy in the middle and Messier 32 at the bottom (17% size)

With the recent purchase of Celestron f/6.3 focal reducer (as mentioned in The Toon-Box) and the fine-tuning of the secondary mirror collimation, I've been quite eager to do some deep sky photography. Alas, the autumn sky at Naju has not been very cooperative.

For some reason, the days without clouds experienced thick fogs (and possibly smogs) and the days without fogs experienced cloudy sky. As the former at least provided some visibility near the zenith and because the constellation of Andromeda is currently very high up in the evening, the Andromeda Galaxy became the obvious target when the opportunity came.

The best three photos from the shooting session were manually stacked and processed, resulting in what you see above. It seems that the fog blocked much of the structural details of the galaxy, but you can still see a bit of it near the core. Also, the satellite galaxy known as Messier 32 (M32) are clearly visible in the bottom as well. I'll be trying on the Moon & Skyglow filter under a better weather condition to see if I can improve upon this.

(Note: M32 was misidentified as M110 earlier, and has now been corrected)

Telescope: Celestron NexStar 6SE + f/6.3 focal reducer
Device: Sony A5000 (prime focus)
Settings: (945mm) - ISO 1000 - 30s - (f/6.3)
Filters: None
Time: 2015-11-03 20:25-20:45 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
3 photos stacked

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy in the west

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy is getting dimmer (50% size)

When I last looked at the comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy about three weeks ago, it was near its peak apparent brightness due to its proximity - it passed the closest to Earth just 3 days ago and shined at a magnitude of 4. The comet had now moved away, making its closest approach to the Sun two days before this observation. It was still relatively easy to capture it on the camera, as it's only dimmed back to magnitude 5.

The comet had moved to the constellation Andromeda. 59 Andromeda was below the comet, just outside the enlarged photo. The bright star directly above the comet in the enlarged photo is a magnitude 6.6 star called HR677 or HD 14272.

Some issues now complicate its observation other than the slow dimming. From where I observe, the western and northern sky is lit up with light pollution from the center of the city. And these days, constellation Andromeda is in the western sky, already starting to head toward the horizon after sunset. So I have to observe it in the early night, just when the area of the sky is not too brightened one way or another, at around 9 to 10 PM. The dimmest stars in this photo is around magnitude 12, so I think it was a success.

Device: Canon EOS 450D + Tamron 18-270mm Di II VC PZD
Settings: 432mm - ISO 400 - 30s - f/6.3
Filters: None
Time: 2015-02-01 22:29-22:39 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
8 photos stacked with RegiStax 6.1.0.8

Stargazing in Naju

Taking star trail photos got a bit easier

With my company's relocation, I've moved from Suwon to Naju. This city is about 300km south of Seoul, and has less than 100 thousand inhabitants. So the night sky is somewhat more favourable to stargazing. It isn't a dramatic improvement, but I'm happy to be able to continue doing astrophotography. To celebrate the arrival, I did a 10-minute exposure just outside the apartment window. The star trails came out nicely.

Andromeda Galaxy gets better, too

The following night, I tried taking a photo of the Andromeda Galaxy. It was to be expected, but the background had less light, in spite of the Moon shining brightly nearby. The resulting photo came out looking better than anything I've tried in Suwon. I have some high hopes for taking some good photos during the new Moon phase. But for now, I'm hoping to get some good view of the lunar eclipse happening in two days.

Device: Canon SX50 HS
Settings #1: 24mm (17% size) - ISO 80 - 600s - f/3.4
Settings #2: 263mm (26% size) - ISO 160 - 300s - f/5.6
Filters: None
Time #1: 2014-10-05 01:25 KST
Time #2: 2014-10-05 23:35 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
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