Messier 74, Grand Design Spiral Galaxy

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Messier 74, a Grand Design Spiral Galaxy If not perfect, then this spiral galaxy is at least one of the most photogenic. An island universe of about 100 billion stars, 32 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces, M74 presents a gorgeous face-on view. The grand design of M74’s graceful spiral arms are traced by bright blue star clusters and dark cosmic dust lanes. Spanning about 30,000 light-years across the face of M74, it includes exposures recording emission from hydrogen atoms, highlighting the reddish regions of the galaxy’s large star-forming regions.

It was a difficult object to image because it is only 8 arc minutes in the sky which is less than a fourth the size of the full moon which is the field of view of the 20” telescope. The center part of the galaxy is even much smaller so capturing the detail there is difficult which required 32 hours of imaging.

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Optics: 20″ Planewave CDK20
Mount: Software Bisque Paramount MEII
Camera: FLI PL16803
Filters: FLI LRGB
Dates/Times: Jan,Feb 2018, Jan 2019
Location: Adler Earth and Sky Observatory, Jackson Hole WY
Exposure Details: L=80x10min,1:1, R=50x10min, 2:2, G,B=30x10min, 2:2, total 190 images, 31hr 40min
Acquisition: MaxImDl, SkyX, Guiding Astrodon MOAG, SBIG STi
Processing: MaximDl, Photoshop CC