⇐   October 4th, 2020   ⇏ 

Copyright 2020 Michael Anttila

I had one final idea while I was out stargazing the other night. After taking photos of Andromeda, since I had my telescope set up for piggybacked photography, I put an ultra wide angle lens on my camera and took a single 3 minute exposure of the Milky Way. I was able to use all of the dark frames and bias frames that I had taken earlier in the night to greatly reduce the amount of sensor noise in the photo.

I pointed my scope in the direction of Cassiopeia, placing the Andromeda Galaxy just above the edge of the telescope. In this photo the Milky Way stretches almost perfectly horizontally through the centre. The large black area at the bottom is the optical tube of my telescope, which is visible since the camera is bolted on top of the back of the scope. At the bottom left of the photo is the Pleiades cluster.

I got a neat little surprise when I processed this photo: If you look up and to the right of the Pleiades, about halfway to the band of the Milky Way, you might spot a faint reddish blob. I looked it up, and that is the California Nebula. The area of the sky on the left was pretty close to the horizon, so it suffered from quite a bit of light pollution and atmospheric haze. That meant it was difficult for me to bring out much detail on that side, but I'm still happy I caught that little glimpse of the California Nebula.

Technical Details: This photo was taken with my 5D Mark II + EF 17-40L (piggybacked onto my Meade LX90 for tracking) at 17mm, ISO 1600, f/4 for 3 minutes.

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