Bode’s Galaxy M81

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Bode’s Galaxy (also known as NGC 3031 or Messier 81) 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☉[5] supermassive black hole), Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers.


The images were done over two nights – 40x RGB Gain 75 was run each night and the best selected. The first night it was almost full moon so both Green and Blue Frames could not be used although it was at bigger distance, also the Natrium streetlights shining before 01:00am seemed to have provided some photons.

The second night was moonless and after 01:00am and the integrations were much better with better contrast and almost no gradients. Creating skyflats with white T-shirt is not the best of choices so I look into a suitable EL flat field in the near future.

Post Processing I am getting closer to a good workflow and extracted some nice features of the galaxy – all in all a bit overdoing stretching with all the follow up issues one will experience with that. Also more integration time would be beneficial.

For the first time the imaging session was run while I was sleeping and everything worked perfect unless I forgot to calculate dawn correctly and it stopped when guide star was lost.

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