M81 - Bode's Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major


Copyright 2010 Hap Griffin


M81, also known as Bode's Galaxy, is a spectacular example of what is known as a "grand design" spiral galaxy.  It's prominent spiral structure with rich star forming regions, showing here as blue due to the abundance of hot young stars, is a result of a strong gravitational influence with another nearby spiral galaxy, M82.

M81 lies at a distance of 12 million light-years.

Date/Location:    February 16, 2010     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Camera: QSI 583wsg
Filters: Astrodon E Series Generation 2 LRGB
CCD Temperature: -20 C
Instrument:    Planewave CDK 12.5" 
Focal Ratio:   f/8
Mount: AP-1200
Guiding:    Auto via the QSI camera's built in Off-Axis Guider mirror and a Starlight Express Lodestar Guider
Conditions:    Clear and cold
Weather:    32 F, still
Exposure: 350 minutes total (200 min Lum, 50 min each RGB)
Capture: CCDAutopilot 4 w/ Maxim DL Camera Control, focused automatically w/ FocusMax   
Processing:    Frame calibrations, alignment and stacking with ImagesPlus v3.80.  LRBG compositing and finishing in Photoshop CS4.