Saturday, January 29, 2011

M81"Bode's" & M82 "Cigar" Galaxies

We had four hours of clear skies last night here in Central Texas, and after putting the kids to bed, and despite being very tired, I headed out to my new dark sky spot to catch some photons. I wanted to go for more Horsehead data but decided to shoot these two galaxies instead. I had the CGEM set up in about 25 minutes and got stuck into it. Again, the trend of improvement continues as this is a better shot than my attempt last year. The Nikon D7000's live view is really helping me with focus, and my drive was tracking away nicely.

I've stretched the image as much as I can without it becoming "fake-looking". The light pollution is still so-so, so maybe next weekend I can try this out at a much darker site, as well as the Horsehead. I'd also like to try and get the Rosette Nebula but that may be pushing it.

Click on the image above for the full view.

  • Imaging Scope: Astrotelescopes 80mm ED Refractor
  • Imaging Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Guiding Scope: William Optics 66mm Petzval Refractor
  • Guiding Camera: Meade DSI-C
  • Mount: Celestron CGEM
  • Exposures: 8 * 10 minute lights
  • ISO 640
  • Aligned and Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
  • Post-Processing in GIMP (contrast, saturation and unsharp mask)
  • Noise Reduction in NeatImage


RoryG said...

Good work on those, Phil. They are both tough objects--especially M81. I imaged them once with the Epsilon-200, but the tracking was very poor. I plan on trying again with my ST80 when I get a chance.

Phil said...

Thanks, mate. Looking forward to seeing how you do with the ST-80. You've been doing some great things with that scope!

Roopesh Kumar Singh said...

just awesome..!!

Phil said...

Thanks, Roopesh!