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IC342 is a spiral galaxy, oriented only slightly away from the plane of our own galaxy. As a consequence, when you image IC342, you are peering through lots of dust and debris of our own galaxy. This dust scatters blue light more than red, hence the "muddy red" effect. Some imagers attempt to inject the lost blue back into the galaxy but I've attempted to go for "natural" colours. I decided to heavily crop the image to show the core and dust lane details. Even with a c9hour exposure, the dust lanes are still a bit too faint..... LIGHTS: 53 x 600s; DARKS: 40; BIAS: 100; FLATS: 40 all at -20C.
I thought I'd have a go at imaging a more "challenging" galaxy, so I picked IC342. Although it is relatively close, it is oriented only slightly away from the plane of our own Milky Way, so when you view it you are looking through all the dust and debris of our own galaxy. As a consequence it is quite faint and the dust scatters blue more than red light. According to the Rubin Kier in "The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets" you should expect a muddy colour. I think I qualify. I found post processing this object quite challenging, mainly because the dust lanes are so faint they end up disappearing into the engulfing background stars. I therefore decided on a strategy to process the starfield and galaxy separately. Given the relatively small apparent size (18 x 17 arcmins) and my relatively large FOV, I was happy with the amount of core detail, although a bit disappointed with the dimness of the dust lanes, despite my relatively long exposure. LIGHTS: 53 x 600s; DARKS: 40; BIAS: 100; FLATS:40 all at -20C. Alan