M74 - Spiral Galaxy in Cygnus


Copyright 2010 Hap Griffin

Inclined from a direct face-on view by only 6 degrees, M74 shows us the design of a typical spiral galaxy.  The huge pinkish areas of HII emission in its lower left arm attest to a period of strong starbirth activity.  The bluish colors apparent in the other arms indicate a large population of relatively young, hot stars.

M74 lies at a distance of 32 million light years.


Date/Location:    October 16, 2010     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Camera: QSI 583wsg
Filters: Astrodon E Series Generation 2 LRGB
CCD Temperature: -20 C
Instrument:    Planewave 12.5" CDK
Focal Ratio:   f/8
Mount: AP-1200
Guiding:    Auto via the QSI camera's built in Off-Axis Guider mirror and an SBIG ST-402 Guider
Conditions:    Cool and clear
Weather:    60 - 44 F, still
Exposure: 270 minutes total (12 x 10 min Luminance, 5 x 10 min each in RGB)
Capture: CCDAutopilot 4 w/ Maxim DL Camera Control, focused automatically w/ FocusMax   
Processing:    Frame calibrations, alignment and stacking with ImagesPlus v3.80.  Finishing in Photoshop CS4.