Maybe you shot a few galaxies handheld?
It’s probably doable but it would be a pain in the butt as you’d need to shoot a very large number of relatively short exposures with a long focal length lens. Star movement would actually end up being the limiting factor rather than stabilization at the focal length needed to resolve even the largest galaxies. Much easier to use a cheap tracking mount like a Skyguider or a Skywatcher and save yourself the headache.
You’re right lol. I’ve done that– 3.2 sec exposures, 50-100 of them and then stacked them later. I bought a mount just a few months ago and the whole process is much easier now.
OutsideTheMatrix and Whumber had this conversation on the DPReview forums and I want to dispel some ideas here about astronomy. I used to run an observatory and people think that certain things are difficult to see, and they’re not.
Galaxies are neither small nor particularly dim. I went outside under bright suburban skies tonight, with a near as makes no difference full moon so the sky is about as bad as it’s going to get. I shot wide angle lenses on my E-M10.4, then cranked up the dehaze to show you guys. These are not good photos, they’re just easy grabs to prove astrophotography can be easy. It won’t be good but you can do it for yourself with anything.
The following photos link to photos I put on those forums. Best to open in a new tab.
Andromeda. Also clearly visible is the double cluster and myriad open clusters in Cassiopeia
There she is.
“Andromeda is easy,” I hear you say, “you can see it with your naked eye if you’re looking in the right spot.” Yes. You can. Let’s go hard mode. How about M81 and M82?
This is Bode’s galaxy at 17mm.
I process images with dxo sometimes, and I did here but I think dxo lost a bit of the galaxy so here’s a screenshot of the ORF and the dxo dng.
Here we have Bode’s galaxy…actually we also have the Cigar Galaxy.
I can tell. You don’t believe me that those bits of noise are galaxies. Take a look here.
Left is a good photo. Right is my handheld photo with a 17mm lens. Yes, they’re both there.
So, as we can see, you don’t need long focal lengths or exposures to resolve the galaxies. I could get them to a decent resolution, theoretically, on a 40mm lens in the case of M81 as long as we’re doing a wide field in dark enough sky, and Andromeda is actually 6 full moons wide in a dark sky, so you can fill the frame with the damn thing on a relatively modest telephoto lens. It’s clearly visible on the viewfinder with live boost on, even.
It happens that I know where these objects are so I was able to point the camera at them, but as you can see, with the 25 and 17mm lenses, you can get huge swaths of the sky to accidentally get an object if you don’t know it’s there.