M81 / NGC 3031 – Bode’s Galaxy

M81, M82, NGC 3077

This is my first photographic attempt to M81. I’ve collected a lot of photographic material (about 10 hours) but also a lot of it I had to removed due to windy nights and after the first pre-selection I had about 8 hours of photographic material. At the stage of stacking, another 30% had to remove of material remaining based on quality algorithm, which I finally stack together. At the last photo session I noticed that so far, each time I focused the image not well enough.

M81 / NGC 3031 - Galaktyka Bodego / Bode's Galaxy

The Bahtinov mask that I used from the previous telescope (Newton 8 “) and which I trusted on completely it turned out to be introducing the focusing error for my current 10” telescope. Image focusing was not what I could finally achieve. So, I’m waiting for good seeing and clear night sky to repeat of the photo session for M81, with the best possible image focus I can get.

Based on the available Bahtinov mask designs on the internet, a did prototype mask that was created on my 3D printer. It should theoretically fit for my 10 “telescope perfectly. We will see the effects of new astrophotography nights.

Due to the coma around the frame, where M82 is located, I will have to plan a separate photo session for M82. I have hope, that by then I will equip myself with the right coma corrector for my telescope, which will correct optical defects in the whole frame of my camera.

Some information about the galaxy itself – is a grand design spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away, with a diameter of 90,000 light years, about half the size of the Milky Way, in the constellation Ursa Major. Due to its proximity to Earth, large size and active galactic nucleus (which harbors a 70 million M☉supermassive black hole), Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers. The galaxy’s large size and relatively high brightness also makes it a popular target for amateur astronomers.

Below right, near the end of frame you can see NGC 3077 – is a small disrupted elliptical galaxy.

Below left from the frame you can see also M82 / NGC 3034 – Cigar Galaxy – a barred spiral galaxy. In the infrared range, it is the brightest galaxy in the sky. Messier 82 is a star storm galaxy, which means it has an intense process of forming new stars.

M82 / NGC 3034 - Galaktyka Cygaro / Cigar Galaxy

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_81 , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_82 , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_3077

Photos taken on 19-22.4.2019 near Bielsko-Biała.

Equipment: Canon EOS 6D, O.O. CT-10 Newton 1200/250 [mm], F4.8, a weak coma corrector not perfectly fit for my telescope, NEQ6Pro.,

  • Composition: Astro Pixel Processor (Linux),
  • Processing: GIMP + plug-ins (Linux),
  • Lights: 5[h] – ISO 1000,
  • Flats, Darks, Bias.