This is an image of M31, The Great Andromeda Galaxy. The image consists of ten 5 minute exposures unbinned in Red, Green, Blue and Clear Luminance, a total of 3.33 hours of exposure. The telescope used was a Takahashi FSQ 106, (Baby Q) and an SBIG STF 8300. Processing was accomplished in CCDStack 2 and Photoshop 5.1.

The Andromeda Galaxy is said to contain 300 billion stars spread across 130,000 light years of space. It is moving toward earth at 666,000 miles per hour. M31 is one of the largest known galaxies and is by far the largest of our local group of galaxies, twice the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy. M31 is 2.3 million light years distant and is one of the most distant objects we can see with the naked eye. The angular size of Andromeda is nearly 6 moon diameters on a clear dark night.

  This image is comprised of 13 unbinned clear luminance image 6 minutes in length combined with 6 each R, G, B images 6 minutes in length taken with an STXL/ FW8 with guider in front of the filter wheel.  The telescope was an 11” Celestron Edge at F10.  Processing was accomplished in CCDStack2 and Photoshop CS 5.1.  The image is cropped to approximately 30% of the original frame size for aesthetic reasons as well as to eliminate image artifacts thought to be due to USB cable length combined with sub-freezing temperatures. Images were calibrated with Bias, Darks and Flats.

This image was taken with a Celestron 11” Edge (SCT) from a moderately light polluted suburban area.  The object is relatively large at 10.5’ X 9.5’ and is a beautiful open face spiral galaxy with dust lanes outlining its spiral arms much like our own galaxy.   It is 30 million light years distant composed of 100 million stars, located in the constellation Pisces.     –Jerry Zitterkopf

NGC 4725 otherwise known as Hidden Treasure 69 was imaged using an 11" Celestron Edge SCT at F7.  The image FOV is 63’ X 43’ with a pixel resolution of .95”/Pixel using an SBIG STL11000M and RGB, CL, and Ha Filter Wheel.  The clear luminance layer is comprised of 32 unbinned integrations 300 seconds in length for a total of 2.66 hours.  The Color layer is comprised of 5 integrations binned 2X2, 300 seconds each Red, Green and Blue, 1.25 hours (4 hours total). Maxim DL was utilized for guiding and for image capture.

The Galaxy is classified as a Peculiar Mixed Spiral Galaxy located in Coma Bernices. The object dimension is ~11’ X 8’.  The Galaxy is something of a transition galaxy between a normal spiral and a barred spiral Galaxy.  The ring structure is inclined 43o from face-on and is visually stunning for its high surface brightness spiral pattern that forms a nearly complete ring around the nucleus.  Just outside the bright central ring can be seen two additional spiral arms spiraling outward together one on the outside and one on the inside overlapping one another.  O’meara, based on Hubble Space Telescope measurements, places the Galaxy at 42 million light years distant with a linear diameter of 120,000 light years and a total mass of 300 billion Suns.   If my research is correct, the nicely detailed small galaxy in the lower left is NGC4712.           –J.L. Zitterkopf

Kingman, AZ   June 2013