This was my "personal best" image of M31. It's certainly not great (understatement), but if you saw my other attempts, you would see why I am reasonably pleased with it. I think this is probably close to the best I can do with my current setup. 71 exposures @ 15 seconds each. Unguided. Original Meade DSI color, Orion 80mm short tube refractor on a Celestron NexStar 4se mount. Composite RGB image processed in Photo Shop Elements with Carboni's astronomy tools.
The problem is: Even with a 400mm focal length scope, the DSI has too much magnification for M31. I tried an extension tube on the scope to allow me to use a focal reducer, but even the extension doesn't allow me to achieve focus.
I didn't get started tonight until almost 2am......and had to quit a little after 4am because the sky was already beginning to brighten. The scope was tracking well (well meaning better than usual) and I could have captured more subs if I had more time with a dark sky.
One of the images is overly "push" processed for printing.