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Walking on the Moon



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I am having a bit of a processing blitz at the moment, finally getting round to concocting some images from various data sets taken earlier in the year. This is my rendition of M109, a barred spiral galaxy about 83.5 million light years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It is the most distant object in the Messier catalogue. Its discovery is attributed to Pierre Mechain in 1781, though there is some evidence to suggest that Mechain was actually looking at a different object and the discovery should be attributed to Charles Messier himself, who documented the object in 1783, but didn't add it to his catalogue. That was done in 1953 by American astronomer Owen Gingerich.

All the integration and initial processing was done with AstroPixelProcessor (APP) - a package that I am really starting to like - and the tidy up was done in Photoshop. I was plagued by huge glare and flares from the nearby star, Phecda. Photoshop came to the rescue there and I have managed to dampen the striations somewhat. On reflection, perhaps I should have left them more obvious in the image as that is a truer version of what the telescope saw?! I hope you like the image and as ever, I look forward to your feedback - positive and negative.

Tech details: Celestron EdgeHD 8", HEQ5, QSI-683 with Baader filters.

L = 14 x 1200s
RGB = 12 x 600s each
Total = 10 hours 40 minutes




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Thank you Martyn. I wasn't expecting it to be a tricky one, but it certainly was a challenge! I'm trying to find out what the various smaller galaxies are around M109, but astrometry.net is playing up at the moment...

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Thank you Peter, Steve & Rodd. I'm particularly happy that the framing gets a mention as I did spend quite a while fiddling about to get it how I wanted it. Mixed in with trying to reduce the glare from Phecda, it was a test!

Yes, the Edge isn't bad, though it would be even better if it were f6 or faster!

Good luck with APP Steve you will find it pleasantly warm on the toes. It definitely has its uses, but isn't the complete answer. Much like everything with astrophotography - a large toolbox is required and each tool invariably carries a significant price tag!

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I did a bit of research to identify some of the surrounding faint fuzzies in the image and came up with this:


PGC 2438633 at 720 million light years away is a new 'personal best' for the most distant object identified in one of my images! Not convinced by the catchy names though...

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