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Sunflower Galaxy M63 - RGB and Ha


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Here is M63, Sunflower Galaxy, NGC 5055 - mono RGBs and Ha.  The exposures were taken over 18mths ago, but this is the first time in many attempts to process the data into something that doesn't look like a cartoon.  It was such a struggle that I am almost astonished that features in the image are real and match up with high quality images from much larger instruments!

It still isn't quite right - there are still very faint features left in the murk that I haven't pulled out and which got lost somewhere in the pipeline.  Colour of the main galaxy is not quite right and a bit dull, and the core is burnt.  And the stars are a bit off, defringing and debloating have left artifacts - who knew, processing the star layer is just as tricky as the rest of it...But its OK for now!

On the plus side, I was able to convert Harry's Astroshed PixInsight pixelmaths recipe for combining Ha with RGB into Affinity Photo's 'Apply Image' function.  I think it works quite well.


Sunflower Galaxy, Messier 63, NGC 5055, M51 Group of galaxies.  RGB and Ha composite.

Photograph taken in Astronomik RGB broadband filters, Ha narrowband filter. Total exposures15.8 hrs.

R 2x2 bin - 8x300s = 0.7hrs, 23-24 March 2021
R 2x2 bin- 11x300s (East side) + 14x300s (West side) = 2.1hrs, 30-31 March 2021
G 2x2 bin - 6x600s (East side) = 1hr, 1 June 2021
G 2x2 bin - 16x600s (East side) = 2.7hrs, 2 June 2021
B 2x2 bin - 14x600s (East side) = 2.3hrs, 6 June 2021
B 2x2 bin - 20x300s (East side) = 1 hr, 12-13 June 2021
B 2x2 bin - 18x600s (East side) = 3hrs, 13-14 June 2021
Ha 2x2 bin - 12x900s (East side) = 3 hrs, 9 June 2021

Imaging scope: SW Startravel 150mm F5, 2.5x Celetron Luminos 2inch imaging barlow, Atik 460EX mono

Guide scope: SW Evostar 90mm F10, with guiding XY stage, ZWO 120MM camera

Guiding: 2 stage PHD: high frequency guide scope (mount tracking) and low frequency OAG image train guiding (guidescope flex)

Mount: Home made German Equatorial pillow block mount, permanently rooftop mounted.  Spring loaded DEC axis gearing.

Other gadgets: ST4 based anti vibration shutter, ST4 based PEC.

PixInsight: Lights, Darks, Flats, Biases, Align Calibration, StarNet2 star removal/star layer
GradXpert: Gradient removal
Topaz DeNoise AI: Noise removal
Affinity Photo: 32 bit image processing (curves, high pass masking)

M63_Sunflower Galaxy_1_21_combo+stars.jpg

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