Whirlpool Galaxy - M51



Scope: C8 f/8; Location: Dos Picos Park, Ramona, CA; 13 April, 2007; Camera: Artemis285

Exposure: 8 x 360 sec  Luminance exposures with IR Block Filter (bin 1x1); 6 x 120 sec RGB (bin 2x2) 

Processing: Images were captured in Artemis Capture (as FITs). Aligned/stacked in Registax 4 and saved as FITS. Luminance and Color channels were numerically scaled and  color balanced in Astroart.  Channels were co-registered in Astroart.  Central Gradient removal was performed on the L,R,G,B stacked masters. The IR Block exposure was used as the luminance channel. Curves and Levels applied in Photoshop to optimize object features.  Final LRGB combine was done in Photoshop using Luminance Layering (or LLRGB).  Since RGB data was gather under variable high cloud conditions, the color data was not consistent. G2V color calibration was not useful and not performed. Color was balanced by eye.   Selective sharpening with layer mask was applied to galaxy  features. Final touches were done in Photoshop.  Final Image size is approximately 1392x1040.

 North is to the right in this image. M51 and smaller NGC 5195 are undergoing gravitational interaction. This dance of  galaxies is located in the constellation of Canes Venatici.  Also visible in this field are the very small and faint galaxies IC4277 and IC4278 (smudges in the lower and lower left). The distance of M51 to Earth is approximately 37  million light years although some more recent estimates (STScI Press Release) put the distance at 31 million light years. This image replaces and earlier image that can be seen in the Archives here.  Horizontal FOV is about 20'

Image Center approximately - Equatorial 2000: RA: 13h 29m 54s Dec: +4713'15"


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