horsehead and flame nebulae


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Welcome to taosastronomer.com!

offering local "hands-on" observing
(visual and imaging) sessions and instruction
viewing and imaging from Rabbit Valley Observatory
a dark sky location on the mesa just west of Taos, NM

 

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy

Image obtained 3-24-2015 through RVO's Megrez 80mm refractor with Orion field-flattener lens, using a Baader-modified Canon XSi DSLR and BackyardEOS image-acquisition software -- 11 selected and stacked 300-second luminance frames combined with multiple dark, flat and bias calibration frames shot at ISO 1600 and totaling more than 160 minutes (55 minutes effective luminance) were used to create this image; optics driven by the Losmandy G-11 mount equipped with Ovision's precision RA worm gear, guided with an Orion SSG3 Monochrome CCD camera using Maxim DL Pro and post-processed with DeepSkyStacker and Photoshop CS3.

Note: "According to our present understanding, the pronounced spiral structure is a result of M51's current encounter with its neighbor, M51B (NGC 5195, the fainter one in Messier's description.)" The object in the center is just as star, not another galaxy or deep-sky object. It IS the star (HIP66004) that was guided on -- see guiding graph linked here.

[copyright Rabbit Valley Observatory/Willis Greiner, 2015 -- all rights reserved]

M51 - Whirpool Galaxy

Image (merely enlarged from image above) obtained 3-24-2015 through RVO's Megrez 80mm refractor with Orion field-flattener lens, using a Baader-modified Canon XSi DSLR and BackyardEOS image-acquisition software -- 11 selected and stacked 300-second luminance frames combined with multiple dark, flat and bias calibration frames shot at ISO 1600 and totaling more than 160 minutes (55 minutes effective luminance) were used to create this image; optics driven by the Losmandy G-11 mount equipped with Ovision's precision RA worm gear, guided with an Orion SSG3 Monochrome CCD camera using Maxim DL Pro and post-processed with DeepSkyStacker and Photoshop CS3.

"The collision between the Whirlpool Galaxy and its companion galaxy is tearing apart the structure of the smaller galaxy, strewing a stream of stars outwards. Gravitational interaction between the two galaxies is also stretching one of the spiral arms of the Whirlpool. This interaction is triggering a burst of star formation in the Whirlpool, creating a plethora of young blue star clusters and red glowing H-II regions. Both galaxies lie 15 million light years away." -- from The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets, by Ruben Kier -- this linked text is just excellent for the choice of objects to photography, and the strategy of acquiring the image and post-processing it -- I highly recommend the book

[copyright Rabbit Valley Observatory/Willis Greiner, 2015 -- all rights reserved]


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"The Imperative of Night" narrative
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(all content copyright 2015 Willis Greiner Photography, all rights reserved)