New Astro Image: Sombrero Galaxy

Sombrero Galaxy | Image Credit: Adam Brown

My latest image is the Sombrero Galaxy (M104). I'm still near the bottom of the learning curve for processing these images and I'm pretty sure I'm doing things the hard way, but I'm having fun and ending up with some cool images (if I do say so myself).

The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

Image Source: Hubblesite.org

The Sombrero Galaxy is 28 million light years from Earth and is 50,000 light years across. This is one of my favorite galaxies imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Source: Hubblesite.org

I'm not using the HST, so I'm not going to get the same level of detail, but it's still a beautiful target for the Mt. Tiede observatory in the Canary Islands. The image at the top was processed by me. I'll give you some background on how I developed that image.

When I align the RGB channels from the telescope data, I ended up with this:

Image Credit: Adam Brown

If you look closely, you can see a small bright smudge near the center of the image. That's the bright center of the galaxy.

I used Photoshop to add some adjustment layers to tease out the light pixels that are hidden in the image. I ended up with this:

Image Credit: Adam Brown

Much better, but I wanted to bring out the contrast between the brightness of the stars in the galaxy and the dust cloud that surrounds it. I added in the luminance layer from the telescope and tweaked the levels and curves, applied some filters to reduce the noise, and ended up with this:

Sombrero Galaxy | Image Credit: Adam Brown

(This is the same image as the one at the top).

For comparison, this is the image that was auto-processed by the computers at Slooh:

Image Credit: Adam Brown

That's still a nice image, but I like mine better (no offense, Slooh). That's the fun thing about processing the images myself.

Happy New Year!

(By the way, if you are into processing these kinds of images and have some tips, I'd love to hear from you.)

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Works on this page credited to Adam Brown are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.