Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

NGC 253 Sculptor Galaxy

NGC 288 Globular Cluster





The Sculptor Galaxy (also known as the Silver Coin or Silver Dollar Galaxy, NGC 253, or Caldwell 65) is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor. The Sculptor Galaxy is a starburst galaxy, which means that it is currently undergoing a period of intense star formation. The galaxy is estimated to be approximately 11.4 million light years from Earth, but can be easily seen in binoculars...particularly from more southerly latitudes or modest dark sky locations. 

NGC 288 is the Globular Cluster shown in the lower left portion of this image and is located about 1.8 degrees southeast of the Sculptor Galaxy.  Both of these objects are located very close to the south Galactic Pole.   


  • Date & Location:  December 24th, 2011 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind, Temperature range 28F to 25F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Mostly clear with average transparency. 

  • SQM-L: Average 20.17

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor with Field Flattener (540mm f5.4)

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

  • Mount:  AstroPhysics AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  Tracked, but not guided.

  • Camera:  Canon 5D M2 unmodified

  • Exposure:  22 - 4 minute subs @ ISO800 -  total 88 minutes

  • Calibration Frames:  none...sub freezing

  • Processing:  Images Plus 3.82, PS CS4, Noise Ninja, GradientXTerminator, NIK 

  • Comments:  These object lie low on my southern horizon and are difficult to resolve clearly due to atmospherics as well as light-pollution near the horizon.  The light pollution was farther enhanced by the myriad of Christmas lights illuminating the sky this time of year.  I used the Canon 5D M2 in order to take advantage of the full frame sensor to fit both objects within the image frame.  The downside of this was the introduction of a significant light gradient variation from south to north across the image frame which had to be meticulously removed...thanks to the power of GradientXTerminator!



Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors