Messier 51

Messier 51, The Whilrpool Galaxy.Click here for an annotated version of this target.

Messier 51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy is a face on spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici located about 30 million light years away from us.

Processing Info

I ended up with 98 frames at 300 seconds. I managed to get three days over three weeks to be able to image this. I was hoping to get more time on this target but decided to take what I have and process it. I calibrated this with about 35 darks, flats, and flat darks.

The following processes were performed in PixInsight:

  • Channel Extraction
  • Linear Fit
  • Channel Combination
  • Dynamic Crop
  • Dynamic Background Extraction
  • Background Neutralization
  • Photometric Color Calibration
  • TGV Denoise
  • Multiscale Median Transform
  • Histogram Transformation
  • LRGB Combination
  • Curves Transformation (X2 with a range mask. Inverted mask for the background and then non inverted for the target)
  • Color Saturation (X2 with a range mask. Inverted mask for the background and then non inverted for the target)
  • Curves Transformation (Using Luminance and Binary masks created using the GAME script)
  • SCNR (Removed Green)
  • EZ Star Reduction
  • Local Histogram Equalization (Performed with a range mask)
  • HDR Multiscale Transform

The area of the sky in Canes VenaticiHere you can see the area of the sky in Canes Venatici imaged.

Acquisition Data

  • Telescope: Explore Scientific FCD100 Series 127mm f/7.5 Carbon Fiber Triplet ED APO Refractor Telescope
  • Camera: ZWO ASI2600MC Pro
  • Guiding: ZWO Off-Axis Guider with Helical Focuser
  • Guide Camera: ZWO ASI290MM Mini. Dithering every image at 1 pixel each time.
  • Mount: iOptron CEM60
  • Software: NINA for image acquisition. PixInsight used for stacking and editing. Imported to Photoshop for final touchup and watermarking.
  • Other Accessories: AstroZap Dew Heater, Astro-Tech 2″ Flattener, MoonLite CFL 2.5″ Focuser with a V3 Controller, PrimaLuceLab Eagle 4S
  • Filters: Optolong L-Pro (98 x 300s)
  • Exposure Time: 8 hours 10 minutes -10°C
  • Date: June, 05, 16 & 17, 2021
  • Location: Voorhees State Park, NJ
  • Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4
  • Mean SQM: 20.29
  • RA center: 13h 29′ 53″
  • DEC center: +47° 12′ 5″
  • Orientation:-178.867 degrees
  • Field radius:0.779 degrees
  • Magnitude: 8.4
  • Resolution: 3720 x 2330