The above is one of my newest photos. Taken on a high mesa above my current town in western Colorado. Despite the winter Milky Way, as a general rule, being quite faint, this location afforded me some extremely dark skies where the Milky Way is still quite brilliant in the sky. The light pollution of my community is down to the lower right distance. Despite the small light pollution of my current town I discovered in this image a faint deep space object called M33 also known as the Triangulum Galaxy and is faintly visible in the upper portion of the sky just left of the Milky Way. The far more visible and famous M31 Andromeda Galaxy, the closest major galaxy to us, is quite visible just left of the Milky Way just above the center of this photo, it is far easier to see in this photo. The Triangulum Galaxy is so faint that it is almost invisible to the human eye, or at the very least at the extreme reaches of the ability of the human eye
the above photo shows the Triangulum Galaxy circled and with it blown up from the original full resolution photo. Ok so not exactly the photo of the century for this object, but it is an exciting discovery knowing that the 14mm Rokinon with a 35 second exposure at 6400 ISO on a 5D II captured such a faint object. What could I do with a long lens and a motor drive?
Just for those not familiar with M31 or the Andromeda Galaxy, I circled it in the above photo. the Andromeda Galaxy is quite visibile with the human eye, but only in dark locations. Sorry those of you living in urban areas you are going to have to get out to distant suburbs at the very least to see it with your eyes. it is currently to the northwest part of the sky and is visible to just past midnight before setting. The Andromeda is a spiral galaxy just like ours, but is at least twice the size of our own Milky Way, and at only 2.5 million light years distance, it is quite the spectacle during the Autumn and Winter skies, almost as impressive as the Orion Nebula.
Did I mention the Orion Nebula? M42 also known as the Orion Nebula perhaps the most visible of the star forming nebulae from Earth, it is only 1,300 light years away, practically a neighbor and is about 30 to 40 light years in size. Home to perhaps 1000 forming stars and as recently suggested a black hole. The above photo was taken with my 70-200 lens at the 200mm focal length and 5 second exposure at 6400 ISO again. The only issue I had with getting this was the short exposure, shooting with a 200mm lens gave me little time for an exposure without trailing from the Earth’s rotation the greater the focal length the shorter the exposure before the motion of the stars is recorded, what I had to end up doing was taken several 5 seconds exposures and stacked them together as a smart object. It took some work to align the stars and Nebula with each shot as the objects kept moving in each shot with the Earth’s rotation. The Warp tool in PS works wonders for that. I suppose a motor drive on my tripod would be awesome, but that is sometime into the future.
The following photo is the same scene and location but shooting at 70mm, the Nebula is still clearly visible on Orion’s sword located between the 3 stars in the depressed section of the mountains