M109 - Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major


Copyright 2008 Hap Griffin

M109 is a perfect example of a symmetric barred spiral galaxy.  It is the major member of the Ursa Major cluster of galaxies...and indeed other galaxies can be spotted in this photograph.  At the 9:30 position to M109 is an edge-on spiral galaxy, PGC 27700.  At the 5:30 position and near the bottom is PGC 37553.  Directly below M109 is PGC 37621.   Several other distant galaxies can also be spotted.  The blue glare from the bright star Phecda in Ursa Major can be seen in the upper right corner.

M109 lies at a distance of 55 million light years.


Date/Location:    November 25, 2007     Griffin/Hunter II Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 40D (modified IR filtering) Digital SLR through 10" Newtonian w/MPCC 
Focal Ratio:   f/ 4.7
Guiding:    SBIG ST-402 through Takahashi FS-102
Conditions:    Damnably cold for a Southern boy
Weather:    20 F
Exposure: 114 minutes total (38 x 3 minutes @ ISO 800)
Filters:    Baader UV/IR block internal to camera
Processing:    Focused and captured,  RAW to TIFF conversion, flat and dark frame calibration, auto alignment,  Digital Development, resizing and JPEG conversion in ImagesPlus.  Final tweaking in Photoshop CS2.