M81 - Galaxy in Ursa Major

(with Canon 300D)

May 2010


This is M81 in Ursa Major (near the Big Dipper)

I captured 14 frames at ISO 1600 with a Canon 300D in May 2010.

I stacked these in Deep Sky Stacker, but I was troubled by streaks appearing in the image

and by the noisy look of the dust lanes.




These are the same frames, this time stacked in Nebulosity and balanced using Nebulosity's various tools:

Curves; Colour Balance; Sharpening; Digital Development. 

The results are far more pleasing to my eye.






M81 - Galaxy in Ursa Major

(with Nikon D5000)

August 2010


Just in from The Sky - Fresh M81 images, this time with 12.2 Megapixel Nikon D5000

The Nikon images were captured using ISO 6400

compare with the canon EOS 300D images above at ISO 1600 and 6.3 Megapixels.

Conditions were windy, but 33 frames were used out of 53.



(I've left image processing tags in the file names for those interested)

Neb= Nebulosity

USM= Unsharp Masked

HP=High Pass

PS=Photo Shop





The Andromeda Galaxy - M31 (and companion galaxy M32)

August 2010


I captured multiple frames at ISO 6400 with a Nikon D5000.

These were stacked in Deep Sky Stacker.

  I used various processing to highlight dustlanes in some images, galactic core in others.

The image with vertical bars is from a trial run in 'Nebulosity', thanks to a tip from Robin.


Finally I puzzled over two bizarre objects North East of the Galaxy in the final image.

I confirmed these are not processing artifacts by finding them on published images.








Historical images From LAROUSE 'Encyclopedia of Astronomy'

Revised Edition 1966


I inherited an Astronomy book published in 1966

and it contains historical images from Mt Wilson, Yerkes and other

famous observatories.  The images below were taken in 1920 and 1901 respectively.

Its interesting to compare the dust lane detail from over 100 years ago!


Click on the images and see the image captions.









M27 - An experiment in ignoring The Moon!

August 2010


I step outside and find a fine clear sky, but The Moon is rising

and even short exposures show almost a daylight glow ...



Raw frame from Nikon D5000 at ISO 6400




After many processing runs this was the most detail I could pull out of the Moon bathed image.







Light Pollution City


Below is the hilarious methods I used to capture all of the Deep Sky Images on this page.

The street is awash with unwanted street light.

The lights could be described as 'Full Splash' or 'Full Radiation' design!







All Content Copyright © James MacWilliam