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Friday, May 10, 2013

M81 & M82

The past several weeks have been cloudy as usual, but in between cloudy nights I managed to put together these images of M81 & M82.

M81 & M82 are about 12 million light years away in the constellation of Ursa Major. M81( the larger spiral galaxy, bottom) was discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774 and later added to Charles Messier's caltalog in 1779. M81 is sometimes called Bode's Galaxy.
M82 is also known as the Cigar Galaxy and is a prime example of a "starburst" galaxy. The red colors seen in the galaxy's core are regions of intense star formation, due to the interaction with M81's gravity. It was also discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774.

Taken with QHY9M CCD & AT65EDQ refractor May 1-3,5 2013

Luminance Filter- 3x20min, 6x30min* bin 1x1 (4h)
R,G,B Filters- 6x10min bin 2x2/each filter (3h)
Hydrogen-Alpha Filter-3x30min* bin 1x1 (1.5h)

*The 30 minute sub-exposures were the longest I've ever tried, my guiding has been ok lately

Images acquired,aligned & stacked with Nebulosity V2.0.Post processed and LRGB Ha combined in Photoshop CS6.
Guiding through Orion 50mm guide scope and Starshoot Autoguider using PhD software

The image above has been cropped from the original:

My goal was to capture dust surrounding these galaxies, known as the Integrated Flux Nebula(IFN). It can be seen as a faint blue in my image. The IFN is actually dust and gases within our own Milky Way Galaxy and illuminated by stars. I need to spend a lot more time with more exposures to really bring out the IFN. Perhaps this will make a good before/after post.