Entries tagged as galaxy

Getting a less noisy shot of the Milky Way

Milky Way over the apartments on September 29, 2016 (14% size)

Nearly two months ago, I realized that the southern window at home provides a view of the Milky Way with long-exposure photography. Although the result from that time was satisfactory, I felt that a stacked approach would be even better. And now, you see the result of stacking eight photos. It's indeed much smoother even at a larger size.

By not using a star tracker, though, the stars were subject to lens distortion at the edges. This is where the flaws of the bundled lens of the A5000 become quite apparent. But I decided to leave it like this since it draws your attention to the center.

Device: Sony A5000 + SELP1650 (E PZ 16–50 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS)
Settings: 16mm - ISO 1000 - 20s - f/3.5
Filters: None
Time: 2016-08-29 21:48-22:05 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
8 photos stacked using Pixelmator
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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

Looking out the window to see the Milky Way

The Milky Way Galaxy adorns the southern sky, atop the apartments (13.5% size)

A few hours after walking in the rain to see a movie yesterday, I was getting ready to sleep. Then I noticed that the sky was crystal clear, something I haven't seen in more than nearly two weeks (or three, in the night). Not to pass up this opportunity, I got my camera out. With so many stars visible, I wondered if the Milky Way Galaxy could be captured even with all the lights from the apartment buildings nearby.

After a few tries, it became clear that indeed it could be done, if somewhat faintly. Adjusting the levels, curves, and contrast brought out further details. Individual colour channels were untouched, yet the sky showed a very nice gradient. This may be an unintended affect of the light pollution near the horizon and I like how it turned out.

Device: Sony A5000 + SELP1650 (E PZ 16–50 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS)
Settings: 16mm - ISO 2000 - 20s - f/3.5
Filters: None
Time: 2016-07-08 00:44 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
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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

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