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When Galaxies Collide
Posted By: Colorado CJ, 05-12-2019, 06:36 AM

Friday night I finished shooting an interactive galaxy pair, The Whirlpool. These two galaxies are literally running into eachother, feeding off eachother and spewing stellar matter into the universe.

This is my first time shooting M51, or the Whirlpool. When the first of the many images started showing up on my screen, I was awestruck.

This is the first image completed with my new scope, a Skywatcher MN190 Mak Newt. Mak Newt designs aren't very popular for some reason, but I don't know why. They are a blend of refractor and reflector and are the best of both worlds. Both visually and image wise, mak newts perform as good as the equivalent size APO refractor, but with even less false color. This is a 7.5" mak newt. I bought it on sale for $1350. An equivalent sized APO Refractor costs between $15,000-$20,000.

After seeing what this scope can do, I think I am going to really like it!

Anyway, here is M51, or the Whirpool, shot for a total of 224 minutes. I am going to eventually shoot even more subs of this since the more information you gather, the sharper, more detailed and less grainy the image gets.

Here's the time breakdown per filter

Lum: 64 minutes
Red: 32 minutes
Green: 48 minutes
Blue: 45 minutes
H-Alpha: 35 minutes


And here is a photo of the setup

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05-12-2019, 07:07 AM   #2
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For a budget astro setup, that's excellent. Well done. Now try it with a Pentax DSLR ;-)
05-12-2019, 11:53 AM   #3
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Wow. Just wow. So amazing. I've seen worse pictures from professional astrophotographers.
QuoteOriginally posted by ProfessorBuzz Quote
For a budget astro setup, that's excellent. Well done. Now try it with a Pentax DSLR ;-)
I think it's just too heavy. And the sensor would be too big. Although that setup seems to be very solid. I tried attaching my camera to my Newtonian telescope, but the sensor is too far back inside the body. I would have to change/modify the focusing rack for a shorter one and still, my scope isn't that sturdy. It probably won't hold all that weight.

05-12-2019, 02:37 PM   #4
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Impressive. I really enjoy your shots and the explanation you provide with them.

05-13-2019, 01:02 AM   #5
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A wonderful image Andrew. Very well done.
05-13-2019, 03:22 AM   #6
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Awe inspiring! I've been staring at it for the last 10 minutes. Thanks for sharing!
05-13-2019, 04:25 AM   #7
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I had to have another look at this one, Andrew. I note that there are several very faint galaxies scattered around it (a clearly visible one left of centre). I presume the main subject is one element in a cluster of galaxies. I look forward to seeing the more distant galaxies come out a little more as you continue to stack images - unless the 'foreground' stars will interfere with that. And on the subject of stars, does the image show more or less true colour - red giant, white dwarf etc?
05-13-2019, 08:27 AM   #8
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That's a really awe inspiring shot, very well done, you must have beautifully clear skies in Colorado.

I looked up the full spec for the scope very interesting. I understand the spotting scope but is the red object on the scopes eyepiece some special type of Camera ?

Could you tell us what type of equatorial mount you have it on, to the inexperienced eye it looks very complicated, which probably means expensive.

05-17-2019, 10:02 AM   #9
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His camera is a cheap-and-cheerful ZWO camera based on a CMOS image sensor chip. The more "pro" cameras are made by companies like Diffraction Limited SBIG, or IDEX.
The mount looks like it might be an Synta aka Skywatcher EQ6.
This is a good budget backyard setup, and the results are very nice.
05-18-2019, 04:22 AM   #10

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Nothing sounds easy about acquiring these images Colorado CJ...but your results are truly stunning...well done.

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