When you begin to explore the night sky you will run into a number of different types of objects. After getting your fill on the incredible images the Moon can show us even in a small inexpensive telescope and then move on to the equaling mesmerizing planets of Jupiter and Saturn, you find yourself drawn to other objects in the night sky. As your viewing here on earth moves beyond the Moon and the planets you encounter your first items beyond our solar system, the nebulae where stars are born, the open star clusters and globular clusters where stars hang out. All of these great things, even the smallest examples of them,  dwarf by many factors of scale the discovery of things on this pale blue dot we call home.

But once we get past even these massive examples of the forms structures that make up the nearby universe, we encounter the BIG BOYS. The TITANS of the world of astronomy, THE GALAXIES.

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M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy
M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy
The Leo Trio (M65, M65 and NGC 3628)
The Leo Trio (M65, M65 and NGC 3628)

4 Responses to Galaxies

  1. Max Corneau says:

    Hi Russ,
    Lots of information here to accompany the astronomical images. With respect to an individual astrophotographer’s evolution, I noted that early on I wanted to capture quantity over quality. In other words, I was satisfied with a 15-min shot of the Leo Trio. However now in my dotage, I cannot seem to capture enough photons on any one field. I would encourage you to consider that there is excellence in depth.
    Also, it appears your images are extremely linear, have not been color balanced and do not seem to have been maximized with respect to pixel depth. Do you have a processing workflow? What tools do you use?

    • Russell says:

      Max, your images are excellent. Hopefully some day when I have learned some imaging skills mine will get there as well. The images on the current site (as of April 1, 2012) were all taken on first light night or the next night. For first light work I am pleased with the results. Yes the images exposures are pretty short but that night I was not going for depth, I was going for learning the system. Once I start going for depth and using more than just the LRGB filters I currently own I expect to look at images like yours and try to duplicate the quality.

      As for tools, I use a Celestron EdgeHD 14″ SCT with a Hyperstar lens at the Fastar f/1.9 focus. The camera is a QSI-583. I use MaxDL5 to capture and process the images. I will use Photoshop CS5 to enhance the images once I gain the skills.

    • Gabriela says:

      Mary Snook – Will, I had no idea until this morning. My heart went sad to know you have this bump in the road, but a bump is all it is. It is irinoc that I wrote your name this morning about 6:00 as a reminder to email you today about my annual benefit race on new Year’s Day. I went to RiderDown thinking I might use them as a benficiary of my race this year. That is when I saw your name and read your blog. You are so strong, and I know you will get through this. You were named appropriately. You will be in my prayers.

  2. Max Corneau says:

    Wow, we think alike. Sorry to be “creaping” on your site but I just noted the M51. One of the first “depth over time” projects I completed was of this amazing galaxy. Please see the image I struck of M51 on my deep field page.
    I captured this using Tzec Maun gear, a wonderful TAK TOA-150 with an SBIG STL-11000 on a Paramount ME, an astronomical tool for the ages. Turns out, mine was the last image from the TOA for….maybe ever or until it finds a new home.

    On the M51 project, my goal was to elicit the greatest galacitc halo of any image yet seen. I wanted to complete the connection on the outermost halo. Do you see that I almost achieved this, but did not quite get the connection? Most images don’t even get this band. Consider quality over quantity as you evolve in your imaging.

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