M81 and M82, Bodes Nebulae. Date of image 28/11/2016.
Hardware details: Camera: Canon 600D (astro modded). Telescope: SW Evostar 120 with Baader UHC-S filter. Mount: AZ-EQ6 guided using a ST80 synguider. Image details: Lights: 72 x 3min at ISO 800, Darks: 43 x 3min at ISO 800 (taken at the end of imaging), Lights and darks all separated by 15 sec intervals. Flats: 50 x 1/350s (taken from laptop monitor screen) at ISO 800, Bias: 50 x 1/4000 at ISO 800. Temperature ~-2 to -4 deg.
Image was precessed in DSS. Stacking was in median mode. Star detection 45%. Colours have been stretched and saturation is 30%. This is also 2x drizzled.
The weather was excellent. No clouds and very dry on the ground. There was also no wind and the seeing was very clear - the stars were really very still that night.
As a change from my current MO of imaging strange, dim and exotic objects rising in the east, I thought I would go back to the classic galactic pair M81 and M82. This is the first shots of M81/82 where the star forming nebula in M82 can be seen I can also see the faint filaments in the outer arms of M81. In M82, the red star forming region crossing the main axis of the galaxy is just about seen but it is not very distinct.
I wanted to see if the funny gradient I am seeing in my images is because of nearby lights to the east. M81 and M82 are to the North East and then later rise high so there was less chance of catching any ground lights. Looking at the image, there is still some gradient towards the bottom (-Dec) part of the image but this is much less than for objects in the east. Conclusion: probably neighbourhood lights. Solution: I have some spare flocking material stored somewhere. I could flock the inside of the dew shield. I should also try to check that I am stretching the images by the same amount to make better comparisons.