M59 and M60 - Galaxies within the Virgo Cluster
M59 and M60 - Galaxies within the Virgo Cluster
M59 and M60 - Galaxies within the Virgo Cluster
M60 is the dominant elliptical galaxy on the left in this image, and M59 is the large elliptical galaxy on the right. This image shows numerous other galaxies including NGC 4647 (spiral galaxy next to M60), NGC 4638 (larger galaxy near bottom center), as well as NGC 4606 and 4607 at upper right. Looking at the enlarged image, I was able to count over 20 galaxies in this photo! These galaxies are all part of a huge galactic cluster called the Virgo cluster, which contains over 2,000 galaxies.

In this image, North is Up. This image is cropped to 83% of the original full frame.

Exposure Details
Lens Celestron C-8 SCT with Lumicon telecompressor
Focal Length 1100mm
Focal Ratio f/5.5
Mount Schaefer GEM - 7 1/2
Guiding Unguided
Camera Canon 20Da
Exposure 417 subexposures of 45 seconds each at ISO 1600 - total of 5 1/4 hours
Calibration 30 darks, 30 flats, 30 bias
Date May 23rd and May 24th, 2011
Temperature 57F on 5/4, 48F on 5/26
SQM Reading
Seeing 2 of 5 on May 23, 3 of 5 on the 24th
Location Pine Mountain Club, California
Software Used Images Plus 4.0 for camera control, calibration, stacking, digital development. Images Plus 4.5 for deconvolution, multiresolution sharpening, smoothing and noise reduction. Photoshop CS5 used for levels and curves, color balance, high pass filter, star shrinking, saturation adjustments, vibrance, and selective color. Gradient Xterminator for gradient removal. Carboni Tools for additional saturation adjustments, noise reduction, and smoothing.
Notes This is first photo I've taken since correcting the problem with fog on my secondary mirror as well as fixing my poor collimation. This photo shows much better stars and sharpness than I had before, and it makes me all the more excited to have rekindled my astrophotography hobby.