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Galaxies

Photographing the Sunflower Galaxy

|Galaxies|4 Comments

In this post, I will share the techniques and equipment I used to take a picture of the stunning Sunflower Galaxy. With the world largely shut down for me, deep-space astrophotography in the backyard has been a welcome escape.  Cataloged as Messier 63, this stunning galaxy is about 25 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici. The months of April and May are the perfect time to photograph M63 from mid-northern latitudes. You can also watch the video of this process on my YouTube channel: Photographing the Sunflower Galaxy The spring season is nickna…

Andromeda Galaxy Astrophotography Tutorial

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In this post, I'll walk you through the image processing steps I used to create the image of the Andromeda Galaxy shown below. This astrophotography tutorial uses Adobe Photoshop to bring out the intense colors and detail of a galaxy that was photographed using a DSLR camera and a small telescope.  You can follow along and process the exact same data I did (download here), or you can try these techniques on your version of the Andromeda Galaxy taken using your own equipment. If you choose to download my data and process it, you can skip straight to the Photoshop portion of this tutoria…

Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

A New Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope for Astrophotography

|Telescopes|19 Comments

I've been given the unique opportunity to review a new Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope, the iOptron Photron RC6. This telescope has a longer focal length than any of my refractors, which I plan on putting to good use. The impressive 1370mm focal length means that this stocky red Ritchey-Chrétien is a perfect choice for astrophotography during galaxy season. I'm looking forward to some large, high-resolution images of galaxies such as M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy. With this added "reach" also comes an increased demand for focus and tracking accuracy. Added challenges include a strong need for an e…

Andromeda Galaxy

Photographing the Andromeda Galaxy

|Galaxies|20 Comments

With summer coming to a close, I had one last chance for some deep sky astrophotography under dark skies. Choosing an astrophotography target at a dark sky site requires some serious thought. The key is to focus on an object that will benefit from broadband color data without the need for harsh light pollution filters. After much deliberation, I decided to spend this rare occasion with my sights set on the Andromeda Galaxy. Cataloged as Messier 31, Andromeda is a massive spiral galaxy that demands attention. This month, it's well placed in the night sky for your next astrophotography projec…

Markarian's Chain

Astrophotography: Markarian’s Chain in Virgo Cluster

|Galaxies|3 Comments

Markarian's Chain is an impressive photography subject for those with a camera and telescope to capture it.  This string of 7 distinct galaxies is a member of the Virgo Cluster and epitomizes the types of astrophotography subjects available during galaxy season. On Friday night (Good Friday), I was spoiled with a second consecutive clear night sky. The moon would rise above the horizon by 11:30 pm, so I had a few hours of moonless imaging time to squeeze in. Markarian's Chain is a prominent feature within the impressive Virgo Cluster of galaxies.  M87 is the brighte…