Updated: Dec 7, 2020

After several nights of bad weather and some challenging seeing conditions, I was finally able to put together a seemingly decent mosaic of m31. This was my first mosaic and I found it to be quite challenging. Color balancing and stitching the mosaic took the biggest chunk of time processing this beast of an image. While I had initially planned to make an HaRGB image, I ended up with a simpler RGB image due to the complex method used to stitch together the panels. I think I will revisit this image once better processing software becomes available for stitching mosaics.

  • Amir

Fall is when we see a LOT of pictures of M31 - Andromeda Galaxy circulating around the internet. That's because it's a fantastic beginner object to capture: It's bright, it's HUGE, and high in the sky in the northern hemisphere. To capture M31 on my rig.. there are a few technical challenges. The main one being my scopes focal length of 840mm means it would only capture a small segment of M31. The Starizona Apex-L 0.65x reducer helps with this greatly. It brings down the focal length (zooms out) to 546mm and it also reduced the aperture from f/7 down to f/4.55.. which means, much more light going in the scope. It's a fantastic piece of hardware, and provides a totally flat field when used correctly: Starizona Apex-L

However, even at 546mm, this monstrous galaxy is still too big to capture in the field of view. So I have to resort to Mosaics, essentially capturing 3 shots and stitching them together via software. I do like this method, because you end up with a really high-res image and much better quality in the end.

Here's a small, very minimally processed preview of the first frame.. and just waiting on weather improvements to capture the rest.

Winter has begun in California. We only have 2 seasons: Summer and Winter. The cold and wet weather arrives very suddenly, and we tend to go straight from 84-90F to 35-55F in a matter of days. With this change comes a lot of clouds. The only chance I've had this month was during the nearly full moon, in which I attempted to capture an RGB (true color) object: The Iris Nebula. This proved to be a bit too much with my local light pollution and the moon's light. This is about all I could pull, a very noisy image:

It looks like the clouds are going to linger for quite some time.. and then the moon will be back. So it will be a while before I can bring the scope back out!

© 2020 by AMIR SALEHI