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Leo Triplet – Three Galaxies at the Limit of Backyard Astrophotography

After getting a pretty good image of the Orion Nebula from my backyard, I wanted to try some tougher targets.  With about half the moon in view and it sitting near Orion, I had to move away from the Milky Way to find a good deep space object to image.

I tried the Christmas Tree Cluster first.  The result is below.  Lesson learned: the sky in my backyard is too bright to image something that dark.  Even with lots of data crunching & image stretching, there’s just not much nebula visible.

The limits of my backyard.  The Christmas Tree Cluster, NGC2264. Scope: Explore Scientific ED127 Mount: Celestron CGEM Camera: SBIG STF-8300C 6x 5 minute exposures Henderson, NV

The limits of my backyard. The Christmas Tree Cluster, NGC2264.
Scope: Explore Scientific ED127
Mount: Celestron CGEM
Camera: SBIG STF-8300C
6x 5 minute exposures
Henderson, NV

I tried the Leo Triplet next.  Neither of these have very much imaging time, but even with just 5x 5 minute shots the result isn’t too bad.  Here are the galaxies Messier 65, Messier 66, and NCG3628.

Leo Triplet. M65, M66, NCG3628. Scope: Explore Scientific ED127 Mount: Celestron CGEM Camera: SBIG STF-8300C 5x 5 minute exposures Henderson, NV

Leo Triplet. M65, M66, NCG3628.
Scope: Explore Scientific ED127
Mount: Celestron CGEM
Camera: SBIG STF-8300C
5x 5 minute exposures
Henderson, NV

So, from now on I know what not to waste my time on from my house.  What’s next!?