First Astro Photo: Andromeda

Fri, Aug 18, 2017

Here’s my first astro image:


When I discovered that I could rent a remote telescope online through I couldn’t resist. So as a first attempt at capturing an image I used their T14 rig in New Mexico to capture our nearest major galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy.

The image is an LRGB composite totaling 60 minutes of exposure taken on August 15 and 17, 2017:

  • 5 x 3min Luminance
  • 5 x 3min Red
  • 5 x 3min Green
  • 5 x 3min Blue

Using the darks and color flats that iTelescope provides for T14 I stacked each color set in DeepSkyStacker. Then I created the composite and post processed in Photoshop.

The video I used to learn about this process is below:

In addition to DSS and Photoshop, I used the Astronomy Tools Action Set and the Gradient XTerminator plugin for Photoshop, which were mentioned in the video.

A couple pro-tips for DeepSkyStacker that I learned the hard way:

  • DSS gives good recommendations in the pre-stack dialog. These are especially important when stacking with just a few light frames.
  • As mentioned in the above video be sure to pick a reference frame and use the same reference frame for all stacks, or you won’t be aligned when you go to composite the color channels in Photoshop

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Nonetheless, I just got a trial license for PixInsight, so I think I’ll give it a try to see what it can do with the data I’ve captured.