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CKemu

First Image Of 2016 - Whirlpool Galaxy M51

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24389174036_3baeb7bfd4_b.jpg

Messier 51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy by Chris Kennedy, on Flickr

Happy to get this one in, as it's now snowing here in Mansfield, England! Friday night/Saturday morning was the first clear night I've seen in over a month, and thankfully the 11mph wind was coming in from the North, so the gear was sheltered.

My garden is less garden and more swamp currently, indeed expecting Yoda to come out of a hole and point out the first temple of the Jedi. So I pre-sank the tripod a few inches in to the ground and then leveled it - was a pain to pull it from the frosty hard ground the next morning!

I originally got my ATIK414ex for narrow band imaging, as light pollution in suburban Mansfield is awful and rather limiting, but I can't resist some of the more iconic galaxies! Even if processing can be tricky!

As there's a Moon rising - will probably spend my next session going over M51 in H-alpha, really to bring out the star forming regions, perhaps also a few really long exposures to add background stars.

Imaging Details:

RGB Sets: R x 30 | G x 30 | B x 30 - 6 hours initially, but re-shot 15 of the R set as M51 was higher in the sky, so sky background levels where better.
Optics: Meade LX90 8" SCT, f6.3 Focal Reducer, Baader RGB filters.
Camera: ATIK 414ex, -17c, bin 2x2, 240s
Guiding: ASI120mm, ATIK OAG, error 0.7 - 0.9", PHD (Also used for drift align)
Datasets: R 30x, G 30x, B 30x, Per channel flats
Processing: DSS, Photoshop
Conditions: Ground saturated, pre-sunk tripod, 1c/-1c, Wind 11mph (sheltered), occasional cloud cover (10%), Suburban light pollution.

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