Sunflower Galaxy M63 – photo from virtual RAG star party 24-25/4/2020

After my first attempt at taking a photo of the Sunflower Galaxy last wee (which I was proud of but did look like a blob), my wife instructed me to take it again as it did not look like the photos on the internet(!)

With Damian’s instruction and Rob’s help on getting the settings in PHD and EQMOD right, I was able to take my second-ever guided photo during the evening of our first ever RAG virtual star party (larger group of RAG members by Microsoft Teams until 00:30 and then continued by Rob and I via Bluetooth ear pierces so we could describe what we saw at the eyepiece and direct each other to showpieces), and as per instruction I choose M63.

Guiding was a lot more difficult to get working tonight so it was midnight before I started successfully getting useable subs. Cables had got tangled and the mount appears to have problems on one side of the mount and there was issue with focusing…….but eventually with persistance and a few restarts I was up and running – and was pleased then to have sub-arcsecond RMS guiding error for the 90 mins I then continued to collect 60 second subs (60 secs because I was worried due previous problems during evening with guiding).

  • Altair Astro 183M mono camera
  • Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA
  • Luminence filter only.
  • Sky Watcher EQ6 mount.
  • EQMOD to control mount via laptop.
  • Carte de Ciel Planetarium Software.
  • Astrophotography Tools Software to take photographs.
  • Nebulosity 4 Software to stack image.
  • Location: Lichfield, UK

Adobe Photoshop CS6 to post-process image (curves and levels, some mild noise reduction and sharpening, a layer to slightly darken background to remove some residual gradient not taken out by flat frames and allow me to mask back in the periphery of the 3 galaxies in the image, image scale changes).


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