The beautiful edge on galaxy NGC 4565 fascinated me from the first time I saw a picture of it in a book. My first unforgettable view of it through my Celestron 8â€? SCT in the early 80s impressed me so much that I endeavored to photograph it as best I could using what was at the time the state-of-the-art imaging medium, hydrogen hypersensitized Technical Pan 2415. Kodakâ€™s special ultra-fine grain film had to first be baked in hydrogen gas for three days, and then quickly loaded in a camera where it had to be used within a few hours before it expired and became useless. I also had to sit motionless and manually guide the scope while squinting through an illuminated reticle eyepiece during the exposure, which in this instance lasted a grueling 60 minutes. I had to be extra careful not to nudge the scope and ruin the exposure as I fended off mosquitoes serenading my ears. The exposed film chip had to then quickly be developed while groping around in a pitch dark room and finally printed on paper using smelly chemicals. All that effort lasted at least four days and resulted in what was at the time one of my proudest deep space astroimaging achievements. Today, 24 years later, I would like to also share a picture of the same galaxy but this time taken through an Astrophysics 5â€? refractor and a modestly priced Atik 16HR digital camera with a thermoelectrically cooled chip configured specifically for deep space imaging. This time, an autoguider automatically took care of guiding for me in the 6 hours it took to complete the exposures. Processing was no longer done with smelly chemicals but through software manipulation instead. How times have changed!
Coma Berenices 12h 37â€™ +25deg 56â€™
Date Imaged :
April 15 â€“ 18, 2007
Astrophysics 5â€? f8 Starfire
Atik 16HR, Astronomik filters
LRGB = 180:60:60:60 minutes
Stardust Observatory, Baguio, Philippines