Olé! Messier 104 – The Sombrero Galaxy

M104/NGC 4594 the Sombrero Galaxy
M104/NGC 4594 the Sombrero Galaxy

It might be a few weeks early, but let’s celebrate Cinqo de Mayo by imaging Messier 104, the Sombrero Galaxy.

After two nights of failure (largely the photographer’s fault), Saturday night’s photo session was short but very productive. I finalized my run at Messier 105 & Messier 91, and decided to add a last minute target before the clouds roll in.

The Sombrero Galaxy is one of the most southern objects my view line will allow me to photograph. Using Stellarium, I figured I only had about an hour in between tree branches to capture anything, but this bright, nearly edge on lenticular galaxy is relatively easy to photograph.

Software Harmony

I disabled the auto focus that has been giving me all the headaches this week, and made sure to inspect the first light frames from the night’s initial target – Messier 105. Although I had a combined 3 hours of data from the last two nights, none of it was usable due to focus and/or gain setting errors on my own part.

That was the only hiccup of the night. Sequence Generator Pro played well with CPWI & PHD. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever had such good alignment & ease of plate-solving. When I added in M104 (I had planned on just M105 and M91 this session) and slewed to target, SGP had me within 4 pixels of accuracy on the first attempt

Capture details Messier 104

Frames: 9×120″
Integration: 0.3 hours
Avg. Moon age: 25.40 days
Avg. Moon phase: 18.06%

Astrometry.net job: 3432253
RA center: 12h 40′ 3″
DEC center: -11° 37′ 58″
Pixel scale: 0.719 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: 127.163 degrees
Field radius: 0.495 degrees

More photos from Galaxy Season 2020

Learn More about Messier 104 / The Sombrero Galaxy

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