M81 and M82

This image of M81 and M82 has been put together from LRGB and H-alpha data captured by me, and RGB data from Andrew Luck, collected over the last month or so.┬áIt was a bit of a nightmare combining everything, but the end result isn’t too shabby. This is the full resolution image which shows the HII regions in M81 quite nicely.

M81_M82

Gems from the Unicorn and the Bear

Last night was clear and moonless, so I took the opportunity to hook up my Atik 460ex OSC to my Equinox ED80 and try a couple of well-known targets. First was the Rosette Nebula in Monoceros. This is a stack of 36 x 5 minute exposures, processed in ImagesPlus:

The Rosette Nebula

I then swung the telescope round to Ursa Major to capture this grouping of M81, M82 and NGC3077. It’s put together from 23 x 5 minute exposures.

M81M82

M81 and M82

Well it’s only taken the best part of a month to do this! L, R and G frames were taken on 12th February, but tonight I was at last able to grab the blue frames during a break in the clouds to finish the image. Taken through the ED80 with the Atik, this is made up from 12 x 5min exposures through a CLS luminance filter, and R, G and B filters. I hope to be able to add some Ha to bring out some more detail in M82 next time the weather affords an opportunity.

M81 and M82

Just before the clouds rolled in I managed to grab a single 5min luminance frame of M81 and M82. I shall look forward to having another go at this pair soon, and see how much more I can get out of it with a couple of dozen frames!

A very quick look at M81

I spent some time last night getting everything set up – aligning the ‘scope, finding the target, and getting PhD up and running. It’s always more difficult with objects at high declination as they tend not to move too much, which makes getting a good guiding calibration tricky. Anyway, I’d just got it ready when – the computer crashed!! I really couldn’t face setting everything up from scratch, as it was getting late, so I just shot 14 x 15 second exposures of M81 through the CLS filter with no guiding.

It’s surprising how much detail this camera can pick up from just 3.5 minutes of exposure, even on a big, bright subject like this one!