Messier 108 – The Surfboard Galaxy

The Surfboard Galaxy, taken April 15th 2020
M108 the Surfboard Galaxy, photographed on April 15th 2020

Messier 108 is a great example for why we call it Galaxy Season. At this time of year, many of the beautiful galaxies that grace our night skies are high above us.

Because you’re shooting straight up, you’ve got much less air to contend with and ultimately get a sharper photo. And with few neighbours around due to the lockdown and a moon that won’t rise for a few hours I had lots of time to take the Surfboard out for a spin.

After a few nights of imaging galaxies with 3 minute exposures, I’ve decided to reduce the time to 120 seconds tonight. In attempts to bring out faint outer rings I’ve been blow out the core and I wanted to ensure I captured more of the detail in the dust blocking the 46 million year old light.

My efforts were successful, as you can see the bright red and yellows of the core while still getting the blueness of the gas arms. Stars in this photo have a natural colour – something I keep blowing out when I over expose in others.

Sequence Generator Pro has been having issues with my focus motor lately, and tonight has been no exception. Even though it hasn’t stopped me imaging I’m worried I’m not getting the exact focus I should be. Astrophotography can sometimes be 1 part stars and 2 parts dealing with technical issues. Nothing could ever work perfectly, can it?

Capture details for Messier 108 / NGC 3556

This photograph was captured using the main observatory rig, compromising the Celestron 8″ SCT and ZWO ASI294 MC Pro. Find more photos from this set up by checking out the links to my gear above.

Frames: 30×120″ (gain: 300.00)
Integration: 1.0 hours
Darks: ~60
Flats: ~20
Avg. Moon age: 22.66 days
Avg. Moon phase: 44.59%
Temperature: -2.00

Astrometry.net job: 3419697
RA center: 11h 11′ 48″
DEC center: +55° 40′ 12″
Pixel scale: 0.717 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: 128.388 degrees
Field radius: 0.476 degrees

Astrobin skyplot of Messier 108

Past Astrophotography of M108

Learn more about Messier 108

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