It takes 2.537 million years for Andromeda's light to reach Earth. When we capture cosmic objects like Andromeda we look back in time. At 220,000 light years across and full of 1 trillion stars, I can’t help but imagine life orbiting one of those gas giants.
Camera Settings:Canon 5Dmk3 •Canon 70-200mm F2.8 @200mm •F2.8Aperture •110x30”Exposure •3200ISO •4300WB •Star Adventurer Tracker •60Flat, 60Bias, 60Dark frames
The image above is comprised of 120x30" Exposures and 60 calibration frames for each noise (dark, bias, flat). Learn more about calibration frames. Acquiring this much data gathers more light signal from the distant galaxy while removing artificial noise in the frame. For help shooting/editing, you can view my Lightroom/Photoshop tutorials or a PixInsight tutorial for deep space editing.
To maximize detail of Andromeda and other deep sky objects, I recommend image stacking and star tracking. Star trackers allow you to expose for several minutes, while stacking includes multiple exposures and subtracting dark frames (same exposure settings with the lens cap on). To align and process stacked images, use PixInsight as well as Lightroom/Photoshop.
Here is my camera set up on a Star Adventurer Tracker shooting 30" exposures with no time in between frames.
Camera Settings:Canon 5Dmk3 •Canon 16-35mm F2.8 @16mm •F2.8Aperture •25”Exposure x 30 image panorama•6400ISO •5500WB
In the picture above, I've outlined Andromeda along with other cosmic objects including stars, constellations, planets, nebula, and light pollution. This panoramic image was shot at 11pm 6/20/17 at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.
Camera Settings:Canon 5Dmk3 •Canon 16-35mm F2.8 @35mm •F2.8Aperture •20”Exposure•6400ISO •4533WB
A single image shot at 35mm captures Andromeda over South Sister, Oregon on a moonless winter night. Cosmic Objects are much brighter without the moon in the sky, so plan photo trips around new moons. Andromeda takes up 4x more of the night sky than the moon so both wide angle and telephoto lenses can capture the galaxy.
If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, Andromeda is visible from June to February, and October to December in the Southern Hemisphere. I use Stellarium and Sky Guide to help plan and locate Andromeda at night.