Messier 81, Bode’s Galaxy

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Messier 81, Bode’s Galaxy, is one of the brightest galaxies in our sky and is similar in size to our Milky Way Galaxy. Also known as NGC 3031 or Bode’s galaxy for its 18th century discoverer, this grand spiral can be found toward the northern constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear. This image reveals M81’s bright yellow nucleus, blue spiral arms, pink starforming regions, and sweeping cosmic dust lanes.  Some dust lanes actually run through the galactic disk (left of center), which is not normally found in spiral galaxies. The errant dust lanes mayy be the lingering result of a close encounter between M81 and its smaller companion galaxy, M82. Scrutiny of variable stars in M81 has yielded one of the most accurate distance for an external galaxy — 11.8 million light-years. This image was taken with the 20″ Planewave CDK20 telescope and the Finger Lakes Instruments PL16803 camera. The image was made from 162 subimages taken over 20 hours.

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Optics: 20″ Planewave CDK20
Mount: Software Bisque Paramount MEII
Camera: FLI PL16803
Filters: FLI LRGB
Dates/Times: January 2015
Location: Adler Earth and Sky Observatory, Jackson Hole WY
Exposure Details: L=21x5min,1:1, R,G,B=15x10min & 21x5min, 2:2, Ha=18x10min 4:4, total 162 images, 20 hr
Acquisition: MaxImDl, SkyX, Guiding Astrodon MOAG, SBIG STi
Processing: MaximDl, Photoshop CC