Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

M104 Sombrero Galaxy


M104 is a nearly "edge-on" spiral galaxy and is commonly referred to as the Sombrero Galaxy because of its distinctive dark dust lane which bisects the galaxy.  M106 is located about 30 million light years from Earth and has a diameter of roughly 50,000 light years.  M104 contains a super-massive black hole at its center, with a mass of 1 billion Suns. It is also surrounded by a bright halo of 1,000 to 2,000 globular clusters, more than most other galaxies.  M106 shines visually at +8.6 magnitude and can be viewed as a small smudge in a 4" refractor telescope.

The above image is shown as a cropped version of the original image stack at 60% full resolution.  The image is a little more than 4 hours of total integration exposures.   


  • Date & Location:  April 26/27th & 27/28th, 2014 - StarEffects Observatory - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Breezy on 27th , Calm on 28th, Temperature average in mid-40's F both mornings.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with  above average transparency on both mornings. 

  • SQM-L:  20.39 start - 20.53 finish on 1st morning, 20:35 start - 20:51 finish on 2nd morning. 

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor @ 810mm f8.1 with 1.5x extender.

  • Filter:  Hutech IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AstroPhysics AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  Orion SSAG @5 seconds exposures.

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500d) Hap Griffin modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  25 - 10 minute subs  @ ISO800 -  (250 minutes) 4 hours 10 minutes total exposure time.

  • Calibration Frames:  16 Darks & Bias, 10 Field Flats, 10 Dark Flats -- Custom White Balance

  • Processing:  Images Plus 5.75a, PS CS6, GradientXTerminator, NIK filter tools 

  • Comments:  Yet another small target for a 4" refractor, but one of the rare nights when everything simply went right---clear transparent skies, excellent auto-guide tracking graph, and  well focused and aligned light frame subs.   


Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors