Entries tagged as Cigar Galaxy

Nebulas and galaxies in the spring sky

Orion Nebula (Messier 42, 25% size)

I haven't taken a look at nebulas and galaxies in several years - the last time I did so was back in November 2015. With the clear evening skies persisting for a few days, I thought that it was a good time to make a return observation. The easiest, and thus the first target was the bright Orion Nebula. I first made several attempts with my iPhone X, but it did not yield the level of quality I wanted and switched to Sony A5000 for the result above. As it was April, the nebula was heading towards the horizon in the southwestern sky and thus subject to less than dark background and drowning out darker portions.

Bode’s Galaxy (Messier 81, 38% size)

Moving to the northern sky, I took a look at something I haven't checked out since moving to Naju - the Bode's Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy. I last saw them in May 2014 in Suwon. Due to the worsening light pollution I can't say I had better observation conditions, but I did have better equipment now. And the results speak of this advantage, as the galaxies were captured in finer detail. I especially like how the variation of brightness appears in the Cigar Galaxy below.

Cigar Galaxy (Messier 82, 38% size)

Telescope: Celestron NexStar 6SE + f/6.3 focal reducer
Device: Sony A5000 (prime focus)
Settings: (945mm) - ISO 1000(#1) / 2500(#2) / 3200(#3) - 30s - (f/6.3)
Filters: None
Time: 2018-04-09 20:23-20:38(#1) / 22:27-22:40(#2) / 22:49-23:10(#3) KST
Location: Naju, Korea
5(#1) / 10(#2) / 13(#3) photos stacked with Deep Sky Stacker 3.3.4

Bode's & Cigar Galaxies, 2nd try

Bode's Galaxy (left) and Cigar Galaxy (right) look clearer

On the second attempt to photograph Bode's Galaxy (M81) and Cigar Galaxy (M82), I managed to put the lens hood on. The sky itself wasn't really darker - in fact, quarter moon was up in the sky - but this seem to have reduced the background red glare from the street lights. I should have thought of this sooner.

Anyways, the images now have blacker background, making the galaxies look more clear and natural. Taking multiple shots and stacking them improved the looks even further. Click on the image to see the version in original resolution.

Device: Canon SX50 HS
Settings: 484mm (70% size) - ISO 100 - 300s - f/5.6
Filters: None
Time: 2014-05-06 23:29 to 2014-05-07 00:15 KST
Location: Suwon, Korea
8 photos stacked with RegiStax

Bode's Galaxy M81 & Cigar Galaxy M82

Bode's Galaxy (top left) and Cigar Galaxy (bottom right)

Using the iOptron SkyTracker equatorial mount, tracking the galaxies for photographing became somewhat better, despite a murky city sky. While photographing Vesta and Ceres, I also pointed the camera to where Bode's Galaxy (Messier 81) and Cigar Galaxy (Messier 82) were located just below constellation Ursa Major. Although they were fairly dim (magnitude 6.9 and 8.4, respectively), I hoped that it would at least show up in the picture faintly.

After much fiddling with the camera settings and post-processing, the best result I got out of it is the one you see here. Both galaxies' shapes are recognizable, despite this being just a single-frame 5-minute exposure. When the weather becomes favourable again, I'll attempt multiple shots with the same camera settings and see if this will help out further.

Device: Canon SX50 HS
Settings: 484mm (80% size) - ISO 100 - 300s - f/5.6
Filters: None
Time: 2014-04-25 00:40 KST
Location: Suwon, Korea

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