M33 – The Triangulum Galaxy

This face on spiral galaxy can be found just to the east of Andromeda in the constellation, Triangulum. M33 is a spiral galaxy around 3 million light-years from Earth. Sometimes referred to as the Pinwheel Galaxy, and often getting confused with M101 which shares the same nickname. Triangulum Galaxy is within the Local Group of galaxies along with our Milky Way, Andromeda, and 30 other smaller galaxies. It is thought that M33 is a satellite galaxy with M31, Andromeda. Within this galaxy there have been many discoveries of globular clusters or diffused nebulae; that along with the shape it is believed to be a lot like the Milky Way.

‘X’ Marks the spot of M33

My Observation: M33 is a very faint hard to see object through a 25mm eyepiece, but bumping up the magnification drowns out the faint galaxy. In the light polluted skies of Plattsburgh I’m unable to pull out any detail of the galaxy, maybe some of the brightest star clusters within it, but unable to make out the loosely wound spiral arms. The central core is the brightest part of the galaxy through the eyepiece. Can make out about 20 bright stars upon first glance, but longer viewing shows many more very dim stars in the field of view.

M33 – Triangulum Galaxy Sketch

M33 – Triangulum Galaxy

M33 – Triangulum Galaxy. This is a re-edit of the same images used above.

For this set of images I took 36 light frames, but Deep Sky Stacker only used the best frames leaving me with 29 60 second images stacked at ISO 800. Final editing done in Photoshop, no artificial flat frame used because they kept leaving a ring around the galaxy throughout the whole image. Subtle, but still a distraction from the main image. Instead I used a duplicate layer and the option of “Overlay” to reduce the light pollution in this image.

Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Canon 350D
T-ring adapter
DIY Reticle eyepiece for drift alignment

M13 another Globular Cluster With Sketch

Messier 13 within the constellation of Hercules is a densely packed cluster of 300,000 stars, a diameter of 145 light-years, at a distance of 25,100 light-years away from Earth. The stars within this cluster, like all globular clusters, are old stars tightly bound by gravity giving them their spherical shapes. M13 can be found south of the 3.5 magnitude star Eta Herculis.
‘X’ Marks the spot of M13
I have posted about M13 in the past, but this is my first time viewing it through the 6” telescope. I could make out some stars around the outer edge of the globular, but was still not able to resolve any towards the denser central core of it. I really can’t wait to make some comparisons from darker skies this summer, I have a feeling I will be seeing more detail in objects that are washed out by the city lights of Plattsburgh. This time I got a picture, and I did a sketch of M13; should be a good comparison of what you can see visually, and what a camera can gather with multiple exposures stacked.
M13, click to enlarge
M13 Sketch through 12.5mm eyepiece, magnification 60x. Click to enlarge.
M13 is 11 images at 30 seconds stacked, 8 dark frames, and 15 bias frames. Taken early morning of April 14, 2012, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post processed in Gimp.
Sketch was on a white sketch pad with 2H pencil, 557-6B ex. soft charcoal pencil, and a smudge tool. Image inverted and stars touched up in Gimp.