What a cracking night it was with beautiful clear skies and the Met Office for once were bang on the money with clear skies at 9pm just as the wife left for her night shift.
The 1st target was M78, but way to many problems and decided to see whether my main target M51 had cleared the house. Well at 10:15 it had and away we went.
I started off with 5 min subs and moved onto 8 min subs with the new Skywatcher Mak-Newt MN190.
In total i managed to get about 6.5 hours worth of LRGB and had some great chats with martin online as he was imaging the same target as well with the same ccd. Was fun exchanging banter and tips.
So after a bit of processing, here is M51 the Whirlpool galaxy
L = 1h 18m
R = 1h 50m
G = 1h 42m
B = 1h 42m all with 5 and 8 min subs
Scope = Skywatcher MN190 FL1000mm F5.3 no reducers
CCD = QHY9 mono with 2 inch QHY filters
Guide = ADM Dual mounted Skywatcher ED80 Pro with QHY5 and PHD on EQ6 Pro mount
Processed with MaximDL, DSS and CS5 and cropped by about 30% for a better FOV.
I might try and grab some Ha and more luminance for this object if the skies ever clear again.
The Whirlpool Galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy. At only 30 million years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51, also known as NGC 5194, is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies on the sky. M51 is a spiral galaxy of type Sc and is the dominant member of a whole group of galaxies. Astronomers speculate that M51's spiral structure is primarily due to its gravitational interaction with the smaller galaxy.
Located within the constellation Canes Venatici, M51 is found by following the easternmost star of the Big Dipper, Eta Ursae Majoris, and going 3.5° southeast. Its declination is +47°, making it a circumpolar for observers located above 43°N latitude; it reaches high altitudes throughout the northern hemisphere making it an accessible object from the early hours in winter through the end of spring season, after which observation is hindered in lower latitudes.
M51 is visible through binoculars under dark sky conditions and can be resolved in detail with modern amateur telescopes. When seen through a 100 mm telescope the basic outlines of M51 and its companion are visible. Under dark skies, and with a moderate eyepiece through a 150 mm telescope, M51's intrinsic spiral structure can be detected. With larger (>300 mm) instruments under dark sky conditions, the various spiral bands are apparent with HII regions visible, and M51 can be seen to be attached to M51B.
Larger version can be found here
http://extraview.dnsalias.com/temp/QHY9/M51 MN190 Feb 2011.jpg
How many extra fuzzies can you spot on the larger image ?
I hope you like it.