The Evolution of the Andromeda Galaxy

Evolution of Andomeda

While the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) has been evolving for the last 9 Billion years, my tenure as an Astrophotographer has only been evolving for the last 1.5 years.  I got the Astrophotography bug when I first snapped a photo of the Moon back on April 7, 2012.  Fast forward to August 2012 where I took my first deep sky image of the Andromeda Galaxy with my Nikon D7000 DSLR through a Takahahshi Sky90 telescope.  I remember being blown away by being able to “see” light from galaxies millions of light years away.  Ever since then, I possessed the desire to learn everything I can about astro imaging.  After shooting deep sky objects (DSO’s) with a digital camera for a few months, I wanted to learn how to shoot with a CCD (Charge-Couple Device), which is a specialized camera for Astrophotography.  I purchased a used SBIG ST-2000XM CCD with a 5 position filter wheel that had Luminance, Red, Green, Blue, and a Hydrogen Alpha filter in it so I could teach myself techniques to get even more detail out of the DSO’s I was shooting.  After I got over a steep learning curve, I was able to work on one very important principle, which was quality over quantity.  With Astrophotography, you need to invest a great deal of time taking multiple exposures to bring out the detail in the amazing objects that are out in space.  This principle is evident in the 4 images of the Andromeda Galaxy that span 1.25 years of learning how to image objects I can’t see with my own eyes.  Here is the progression in photos:

August 16, 2012

August 16, 2012

February 5, 2013

February 5, 2013

August 28, 2013

August 28, 2013

M31 The Andromeda Galaxy in HaRGB

November 4 & 5, 2013

 

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