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Dan Lessmann

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M81, Bode's Galaxy


Click image for larger version.


M81 is a large spiral galaxy about 11 million light years away in Ursa Major.  In the past, M81 was gravitationally associated with its nearby neighbor, M82, the Cigar Galaxy.  M81, being much more massive, had much more influence on M82 but did not come away unscathed from the encounter.  As a result of the near collision, M81 has well pronounced spiral arms containing many star forming H2 regions (seen as red spots in the arms) and an almost linear lane of dust near the core (on the right side of the core in this image).


Visually M81 is an easy find at magnitude 6.8 and its compact and bright core shows up well in even small instruments.  In larger telescopes, the dust lanes and spiral arms become evident.  In wider field views, M81 and M82 are easily observed as a beautiful pair and make a fine photographic target as well.  Here is a wider field view of these galaxies.


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Date:  4/21/2012

Location:  4Domes Observatory

Telescope:  C14 @ f/9

Mount:  AP-1200

Camera:  SBIG STL-6303E

Acquisition and Guiding:  CCD Autopilot controlling Maxim DL

LRGB Combine Exposures:

Luminance - 10 x 600, Bin 1x1, 1.7 hr

Red - 10x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2

Green - 10x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2

Blue - 10x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2

Post Processing:

ImagesPlus:  Calibration, align and combine, digital development

Photoshop CS4:  Luminance, color combine, levels, curves, LAB color adjustment, high pass filter, sharpening

NeatImage:  Noise reduction

Last Updated: 11/12/2014  -  Copyright 2004-2013 by Dan Lessmann.  All rights reserved.  Please click here for my usage policy.