M101 – Face on spiral galaxy
M101 is a lovely face on spiral galaxy in Ursa-Major (The great bear or plough). It’s quite tricky to image due to there being very few stars of sufficient brightness to guide on but since I was using a 70mm guide scope the fov was large enought to show a few stars.
Anyway, M101…… Face on Spiral…… It’s about 20 million light years distant, first discovered in 1781, to the side of the galaxy, another one is present – NGC5477. One other interesting thing to note about this galaxy, last year a star exploded in the galaxy as a supernove (well actually, due to the distance, it exploded 20million years ago, but it’s light is only just reaching us now!) but these only last a few weeks and I’m unable to locate it on this image unfortunatly.
The image was taken mid January 2012, it’s around hrs total exposure time in 5 and 10 minute sub frames, taken with a QHY8 and ALtair Optics F4 Newtonian. Processing was done in Pixinsight (which I now really like – HDR wavelets rock!).