Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Constellation: Ursa Major (UMa)  ·  Contains:  Bode's nebulae  ·  M 81  ·  NGC 3031
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Messier 81- Bode's Galaxy, 


            Matt Harbison
Messier 81- Bode's Galaxy
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Messier 81- Bode's Galaxy

Imaging telescopes or lenses: William Optics FLT 132 Triplet APO WOFLT132

Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI178MM-Cool

Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach 1 GTO

Guiding telescopes or lenses: Willam Optics 50mm Guidescope

Guiding cameras: Starlight Xpress Lodestar

Focal reducers: WILLIAM OPTICS FLAT 4

Software: PixInsight  ·  Adobe Photoshop photoshop PS  ·  Sequence Generator Pro

Filters: Baader Filter HA 7nm 36mm Unmounted  ·  Baader Filter LRGB 36mm unmounted

Accessory: Optec Alnitak Flip-Flat Flat Fielder  ·  ATIK Filter Wheel EFW2  ·  Moonlite Crayford Focuser with motor  ·  Starlight Xpress lodestar

Dates:April 3, 2016

Baader Filter HA 7nm 36mm Unmounted: 30x60" (30') -15C bin 1x1
Baader Filter LRGB 36mm unmounted: 60x60" (1h) -15C bin 1x1

Integration: 1h 30'

Darks: ~60

Flats: ~60

Bias: ~60

Avg. Moon age: 25.04 days

Avg. Moon phase: 21.16%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 2.00

Temperature: 13.00

Astrometry.net job: 1027621

RA center: 9h 55' 27"

DEC center: +69° 3' 39"

Pixel scale: 0.883 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 46.352 degrees

Field radius: 0.298 degrees

Resolution: 620x428

Locations: Cloudland Canyon, Trenton, Georgia, United States


M81- Bode's Galaxy

I first observed Bode's Galaxy or M81 in the winter of 2013 while building a barn door tracker. At the time, the two fuzzy object intrigued me enough to return a few months later on an equatorial mount to witness SN 2014J in neighboring M82- The Cigar Galaxy.

Returning to M81 this last weekend, I feel a somewhat "nostalgic" connection to this distant galaxy. With the advent of newer camera technology, imaging the smaller galaxies are now realities for mid size refractor people like myself, as is proof here. The ZWO 178 shines as it reveals dust lanes and the hydrogen prevalent areas in the nebulousity circling giant super massive black hole.

More about M82 from wiki:
First discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774, Messier 81 (also known as NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. Due to its proximity to Earth, large size and active galactic nucleus (which harbors a 70 million M☉ supermassive black hole), Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers. The galaxy's large size and relatively high brightness also make it a popular target for amateur astronomers.

Integration Details:
LRGB: 60 x 1 minute
HA: 30 x 1 minute
Accompanying Dark, Bias & Flat frames

Equipment used:
Telescope: William Optics 132 FLT w/ Flat 4 .8 reducer
Camera: ZWO 178 Cooled Monochrome camera
Mount: Astro-Physics Mach One

Acquisition Details:
Shot during the last quarter moon on April 3rd, 2016 at Fall Creek Falls, State Park, Spencer TN.

It was a clear and transparent night with seeing at 5 out of 5 according to the clear sky chart for the area.

Captured in Sequence Generator Pro with calibration, registration, and integration in Pixinsight and final color balance and levels adjust in Photoshop.



  • Messier 81- Bode's Galaxy, 


            Matt Harbison
  • Final
    Messier 81- Bode's Galaxy, 


            Matt Harbison

Sky plot

Sky plot


Messier 81- Bode's Galaxy, 


            Matt Harbison