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M51 under full moon - advice?

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Hi all,

Given a rare full clear night, obviously it's going to be a full moon!

I'm considering clusters for photography, but also M51.

If I do M51, would anyone happen to have any recommendations regarding exposure times at ISO800 (which I shoot everything at)? 

This will be with a 130PDS, a modded EOS1000D, on an NEQ6, guided, under Bortle 4 skies.

I mean, I'll be checking the histogram and possibly taking varied exposure times - I expect 120s, 180s and 240s - but if anyone has any recommendations that would be great.

Thanks, Brendan

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I have found M51 to be an unexpectedly difficult target and honestly I think you are going to struggle on it with a full moon. I'm in Bortle 4 also and without my l-enhance filter I'd not try anything other than clusters.  But to answer your question, with that much moon and that scope at iso800 you'll be looking at the lower end of your suggested exposure (120s or even 60) youll know quickly enough once you get your first image and check the histogram.


Good luck and be sure to let us know how you get on.

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Thank you. Pretty much my feelings too. I might stick with clusters, but just give M51 a quick try at low exposures and see if it's worth pursuing. 

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