I know that the following photos are not very good but they do show real deep sky objects – M57 (Ring Nebula in Lyra) and M101 (spiral galaxy in Ursa Major). I took these photos tonight using my QHY10 camera on my Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm scope on HEQ5 Pro mount. I spend a long time polar aligning the scope and then did three star alignment. The sky was poor with a lot of moisture but I still managed to get my first successful deep sky photos after 4 weeks of hard work.
These images are certainly not works of art and I have long way to go on my astro-imaging journey but I am excited about the start I made today. I have already achieved my objective of being able to photograph a galaxy and show its spiral arms – my next objectives are now to show star formation regions in a galaxy in one of my photos and detail in the wall of a planetary nebula and to successfully image the North Americal Nebula and Horse Head Nebulae. My objectives are predomently observational rather than to create artistic renderings of the night sky. To me, the camera is a tool to help improve my observations of the night sky.
M57 240819@2247 60s.png – original image (single frame, 60 second exposure):
Applying some curves to above image in GIMP:
Cropping the above image and scaling up the image:
M101 240819@2340 300s.png (original image – single frame, 300 second exposure):
Applying curves in GIMP to above image brings out M101:
Greyscale and further curves and a little playing around with contrast and brightness and I was able to bring out the spiral arms in M101 – I felt this was quite an achievement!
I took 7 images of M101 tonight & the following post describes what happened when I stacked those images: