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M31


M31

10-29-2018. 9pmEST. M31, The Andromeda Galaxy. Observing location - Urban Sarasota, FL.
The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth, and the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way. Currently it is visible in the Northeastern sky. The Andromeda Galaxy contains approximately one trillion stars. The Milky Way (our galaxy) and the Andromeda galaxy are expected to collide in 4.5 billion years, merging to form a giant elliptical galaxy.
In this image you can also see the two companion galaxies, M32 on the right side at 3pm and M110 in the upper left corner.
------Technical Acquisition Details (only for the future imagers out there).
Telescope: SkyWatcher 120ED Pro refractor 900mm/f7.5
Mount: Orion SkyView Pro Goto.
Camera: Nikon D3100 DSLR. Set at ISO1600, 60sec Bulb Exposure.
I took 25, 60sec images as RAW files and stacked them with DeepSkyStacker. GIMP 2.10 was used to stretch the stacked photons, and then resize the image for FaceBook etc.
The actual setup process consisted of setting the equatorial mount to point approximatley North, then doing a 2-star alignment, choosing at this time the alignment stars, first Fomalhaut (a star east of the meridian is a must) and then Vega. Say goodbye to the polar scope. Newer Celestron and SkyWatcher (my setup) handset software have eliminated the need to have a polar scope. This is a backsaver for sure. The SynScan (Skywatcher) procedure is called Iterative Polar Alignment. You no longer have to find the North Star and do all that manually adjustment stuff.






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