Sunday, June 21, 2009

M51 "Whirlpool" Galaxy

I shot M51 between cloud bands tonight, having about three hours to shoot, but needing about an hour to set up and running out of camera battery power about 40 minutes into shooting the object :-(. Will try and get some more data later in the week and add to it. It's still not as sharp and bright as I am aiming for. I think I need to take longer exposures using autoguiding, but can't really do that until I have a good outdoor power supply for my laptop. In any case, light pollution at the local observing spot really keeps me limited to two minute exposures. Maybe two hour's worth of exposures might do the trick.

Image Details:
  • Meade LX200 8" SCT @ F6.3
  • Nikon D40
  • 20*2 minute exposures at ISO1600
  • 5 * 2 minute dark frames
  • Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
  • Mile Curve Adjustment and Sharpening and GIMP
  • Noise Reduction in Neat Image


Skywatcher said...

great pic phil of M51..didnt realise the nikon D40 was up to the task of astrophotography, i was going to get this camera at one your blog. keep the good work up phil.

all the best...Mick

Phil said...

Thanks, Mick, and thanks for dropping by!

I am not entirely satisfied with the image. I think there's more data there and have been playing with different settings in DSS to tease some more stuff out. When I get something better I will post.

The D40 is "okay" for astro. I have been able to get some nice pictures of brighter objects so far. There's some noise there 9more noticeable in the hot summer nights but that's to be expected due to no cooling). Wide field shots have been great though. Will keep working on DSOs!

Clear skies mate,

Polaris B said...

That's a keeper, Phil. I really like the nice, dark dust lane just below the nucleus! Good work! Val

Phil said...

Thanks Polaris. Still not at the level I wanted but did not get a chance to shoot with the autoguider.