Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Contains:  IC4278  ·  M 51  ·  M51  ·  NGC 5194  ·  NGC 5195  ·  NGC5195  ·  Whirlpool galaxy
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M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy), 


            Joel Shepherd
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M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Skywatcher Esprit 80ED APO Triplet

Imaging cameras: Atik 460EX Mono

Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach1GTO

Guiding telescopes or lenses: Orion Deluxe Mini 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser

Guiding cameras: Lodestar X2

Software: IDEIKI AstroPhotography Tool (APT)  ·  PixInsight 1.8

Filters: Baader Planetarium L 1.25"  ·  Baader Planetarium B 1.25"  ·  Baader Planetarium G 1.25"  ·  Baader Planetarium R 1.25"

Accessory: Skywatcher Field Flattener for Esprit 80

Dates:March 9, 2018March 11, 2018

Baader Planetarium B 1.25": 22x180" 0C bin 1x1
Baader Planetarium G 1.25": 22x180" 0C bin 1x1
Baader Planetarium L 1.25": 30x180" 0C bin 1x1
Baader Planetarium R 1.25": 22x180" 0C bin 1x1

Integration: 4.8 hours

Avg. Moon age: 23.04 days

Avg. Moon phase: 40.70%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 6.00

Astrometry.net job: 1989173

RA center: 13h 29' 48"

DEC center: +47° 12' 42"

Pixel scale: 1.770 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: -53.787 degrees

Field radius: 0.399 degrees

Resolution: 1280x997

Locations: Home, Seattle, WA, United States

Data source: Backyard


Subject: M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy): Composed of a dwarf galaxy, NGC-5195, on the left, and its gravitationally interacting galaxy NGC-5194: a grand-design spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici. Roughly 23-25 million light-years distant, NGC-5194 is about a third the size of our Milky Way.

Capture notes: Taken on dark nights, the main notable thing about this image was that it was my first attempt to fully automate my capture process. At the moment I'm using APT (Astro Photography Tool) and if they deliver meridian flip support in the next few months I'll probably stick with it. Auto-focusing has been a challenge -- not that you can tell, but my red channel was a little out of focus for this capture -- but I'm sure with a little patience it'll get better. In any event, I was very excited to get a good night's sleep the night I captured the RGB, and to wake up and find the mount had neatly parked itself at the end.

Processing notes: My L flats were off somehow, so I used PixInsight's DBE to do an additional flat-like correction. Otherwise, this used a pretty ordinary LRGB workflow, with color calibrated vias PhotometricColorCalibration, and with a bit of saturation added by one application of curves.



Joel Shepherd
License: Attribution Creative Commons

Sky plot

Sky plot


M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy), 


            Joel Shepherd