M31 Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda

M31 Spiral Galaxy
M31 Luminance only

M31 is the biggest member of the local group of galaxies. It is close enough that it is visible with the naked eye under dark skies. Also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, it sports two cores and likely two giant black holes.

  • 12-inch LX600 telescope
  • 60 x 60 seconds luminance only
  • 1661px x 1241px
  • August 2020
M31 Spiral Galaxy
M31 with a Webcam

It's got to be the ugliest picture I've ever seen, but it is special. A guy said in Sky and Telescope that webcams could never be used for deep sky photography. I took that as a challenge and bought a bunch of Quickcam grayscale webcams for $20 each, took them apart to find out what made them tick, and finally wrote a piece of software that allowed them to take long exposures. December 16, 1999 I stuck a 75mm copy lens into an aluminum tube, taped a quickcam on the end with electrical tape, mounted it on the LX200 and took 92 60 second exposures to make this nasty image. The image got published in Astronomy Now magazine in an article about using webcams for astrophotography.

  • 75mm copy lens
  • Quickcam grayscale CCD
  • 92 x 60 seconds
  • 621px x 428px
  • December 1999