M101

M101
Face-on spiral galaxy M101 is a tough target to image well. I am almost happy with this, as it is the best I’ve ever done. Maybe next time I will nail it to my satisfaction.

[By the way, the dashed line going from top left to bottom right is called a satellite flare, most often an Iridium flare.  It happens because the satellite tumbles as it orbits, so it reflects more or less light towards any observer, depending on its position.]

Feb 14, 2016.  OK, it is almost a year later, and I have been trying to get this target all week, same tube the 127 mm APO, focal length 660 mm, but this time with a new camera, a fully modified Canon 6D.  Before this target last night, I shot M78, but I only had 2.5 hours of data, and I was fighting a 35% illuminated Moon, so it was pretty badly washed out.  As a result, I had low hopes for this one, but it came out pretty nice.  40 Sub-exposures of 6 minutes each gave me a full 4 hours of data, and the Moon was down before I started shooting.  Shot at 800 ISO.

M101, the pinwheel galaxy, captured at 952 mm.  Click the pic to see a larger image.
M101, the pinwheel galaxy, captured at 952 mm. Click the pic to see a larger image.

April 12, 2015.  Since this is an image I have wanted to do well for a long time, it was a natural choice for first light on a new 5 inch refractor with 952 mm focal length.  [Actually around 660 mm focal length with the focal reducer]

Reworked this and am much happier with the results.  It is 18 exposures of 10 minutes each at ISO 1600 and the tube’s f/7.5.

Click the picture to see a larger image.
Click the picture to see a larger image.

Had another go at this target at Alamo Lake State Park.  I had a ton of problems, but, considering that this was taken with a 200mm lens and the one below was with a 610 mm telescope, it actually came out pretty darned good.  Definitely did a better job on the companion galaxy near the right edge of the frame.  10 exposures of 300 seconds at f/2.8.

M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy
Spiral Galaxy M101 with a few of its neighbors around the edges. Click on the picture for a larger view.

This was shot with a 6″ reflector (aprox. f/4) which I have been struggling with.  It is made from 30 exposures of 300 seconds at ISO 1600.  Shot on April 21, 2014.  Located just off the handle of the Big Dipper, M101 is also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy.

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