Because I don’t yet have a telescope with a long reach I rarely attempt photographing the thousands of majestic galaxies available to astrophotographers who do. Aside from the optics these targets take are completely different ball game from the wide field astrophotography that I normally do. The deeper you go the more precise, complex and expensive things get.
First off you need a very precise mount, one that costs thousands, some tens of thousands of dollars. Then your guiding and tracking need to be absolutely perfect and then finally photographing these objects properly requires special CCD cameras which also cost an arm and a leg. Id like to get there some day, though that day is not now, I just don’t have the income to upgrade yet.
With that being said, there are a few exceptions. Andromeda and the Triangulum Galaxies as well as a few others. Then there are groups of galaxies which make interesting wide field images. The above photo is one of those groups. In this image I actually captured 3 visible galaxies, though one was cut out as a result of image cropping. The remaining two galaxies are the Bodes Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy, both lie within the constellation of Ursa Major.
Billions of stars illuminate it’s dust filled spiral arms as majestically dominates the M81 group, which also contains the second apparent galaxy in this image. The Cigar Galaxy, or M82. The Cigar Galaxy is a star burst galaxy about the same distance from earth as M81 (Bodes Galaxy.) The Cigar Galaxy is 500 times brighter than our own galaxy and was classified as an irregular galaxy until just recently. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope allowed astronomers to detect two faint spiral arms. Despite Hubble’s close up views of the galaxy astronomers are still at loss to the nature of this unique galaxy.
The image presented here was photographed through a 80mm ED telescope using a modified Canon 7D EOS camera. No filters were used in the imaging of these galaxies.