The Andromeda Galaxy has been one of my favorite pursuits since I started with astrophotography. It took me a while to figure out how to shoot it and each telescope you use reveals different things about the galaxy. I took this photo of Andromeda Friday night using a 14.5 inch RC and full format CCD. Andromeda is still too big to fit completely in this field of view, but I think we are getting about 75% of it. For reference, this is the same setup I used on the blue moon, so yes, Andromeda is bigger than the full moon in the night sky. Its just dimmer and harder to see with the naked eye. Imagine what it would be like to look up in the sky and see something like this.
Click the picture above for a [2400x2400] version or download a super high res [3700x3700] version of Andromeda here.
For comparison purposes, here are some past photos I’ve taken of Andromeda: Andromeda with a FLT 98 wide field telescope and SBIG ST8300 CCD in September 2011, Andromeda with FLT 98 and DSLR Camera in September 2010, the first picture I ever took of Andromeda with a Celestron CPC1100 and DSLR in January 2010 and of course the telescopic Bolide with Andromeda picture from July 2009.
Messier 31 – The Great Andromeda Galaxy
RGB 50X50X50 Minutes Each
Total exposure 2 hours 30 minutes
Camera: Apogee U16M
Guider: SBIG 402 with MMOAG Off Axis Guider
Telescope: RCOS 14.5
Mount: Paramount ME
Location: Freeland MD
Software: The SkyX, MaximDL, FocusMax, CCDAutoPilot, CCDStack, Photoshop
here’s a zoomify version that is fun to play around with. Click the image to zoom in and the icons to control. Full screen mode is pretty cool.