Photographing the andromeda galaxy

This post concerns: Completed Images Galaxy
Andromeda is one of the primary targets for beginners, yet I never tried to take a image of it - this is how it went.

Gear

I am currently using my trusty Canon 1000D with the 18-55mm kit lens. I have it mounted on a StarAdventurer GTI for longer exposure times. This image was shot at a focal length of 55mm, giving me the largest galaxy I can get, but also some color fringing. Guess I need to spend some money on more gear ;)

With this setup I took 60 light frames at 180 seconds each at ISO 800. I also took 5 dark frames and no light frames from a Bortle 5 area.

Image acquisition

N.I.N.A.

This time I took my laptop with me so I could try out N.I.N.A. for the first time. I did some dry runs the day before so I had a rough idea of what I want to do. But I did it indoors during the day so I never checked on how to slew to a target. And this is where I had some issues during the night.. I wasted quite some time trying to manually center the Andromeda galaxy. Next time I need to set up proper plate solving to speed things up.

Other than that there weren’t any issues, though I just used basic functionality because of my limited experience.

Post Processing

Siril

Here I used my default workflow consisting of the following steps:

StarNet in Siril has been a gamechanger for me. It allows to extract the stars and stretch the remaining “background” only. After that I can just add the brightest stars back in, gone are the days of star reduction in gimp.

GIMP

I used GIMP to add the text, nothing more :)

Final image

So here it is: