M82 - Irregular Galaxy in Ursa Major


Copyright 2010 Hap Griffin


M82 is one of a pair of galaxies in the constellation Ursa Major that is well known by all amateur astronomers.  M82, along with its neighbor M81 (shown HERE) can be seen as a pair in the same field of most small telescopes (a wide field image is HERE).  While M81 is a beautiful spiral, M82 is an irregular type galaxy and furthermore seems to have been disrupted by a relatively close passage some 300 to 600 million years ago of its partner.  Irregular lanes of dust and high rate star birth activity can be seen across its central region.  The turbulent explosive gas flow is also a strong source of radio noise.  

M82 lies at a distance of 12 million light years.  

Date/Location:    February 18, 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:    38 F - 25F, still
Exposure: 380 minutes total (200 min Lum, 60 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.