Sunday, April 24, 2011

M81, M82 and friends

Sometimes things don't work out as planned. For example, a couple of months ago I wanted to see how M81/M82 would look in my ST80. I took a test shot and it looked promising; so, I started an imaging series and went inside the house.

Later, a check on the series revealed that things were not going well.  The alignment was off. Perhaps I had bumped the mount without realizing it. For whatever reason, only the test image turned out halfway decent. The rest had significant star trailing.

I recently took a closer look at the series, salvaged the best ones, and applied a star rounding filter to them. The results weren't spectacular, by any means, but with a little more processing and a few tricks I managed to throw together a wide-angle view of the area around M81/M82:

Messiers 81 and 82 and friends; ST80 on Vixen SP; 8x180
This version labels the brighter galaxies, as well as a few of the dimmer ones that I was able to find:

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