m33 – triangulum galaxy

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This is another one I captured back in November, but am just now getting to process. I like shooting this galaxy as it is quite bright and fits in my current field of view pretty well.

It is 2.7 million light years from earth and part of our local galaxy group (also includes our own Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies). It is 60,000 light years across. It’s also interesting as data captured in Ha narrowband reveals similar star forming regions to our own galaxy, but with a unique perspective from outside looking in.

I captured this in RGB with an additional Ha layer mixed in as additional red. The component channels are shown below:

The imaging session details are below:

acquisition date(s)October 5th, 2020
November 13-14, 2020
imaging cameraZWO ASI 1600MM Pro
guide cameraZWO ASI290mm Mini
mountSkywatcher EQ6-R pro
telescopeExplore Scientific ED102 APO
flattenerStellarvue 0.8x flattener and reducer
exposure settingsgain 139
exposure 180s
camera temp -20c
stacking31 lights – Optolong 7nm Ha
21 lights – ZWO Red
21 lights – ZWO Green
21 lights – ZWO Blue

additional calibration for each channel
30 darks
30 flats
30 dark flats
processingPixInsight 1.8
imaging session details.

To do the HaRGB combination, I first created the RGB with pixel math and made some adjustments before later adding the Ha channel into Red. The initial RGB image is shown below:

m33 – RGB with some initial processing and converted to non-linear state

The next step was to layer in the Ha channel using the PixInsight script for NBRGBCombination. After combining and doing some additional contrast boost and saturation enhancements, I did a final crop. The final image is below:

final image of m33 in HaRGB

For comparison, here is a similar framing I shot about a year ago using Canon T3i DSLR:

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