Enchanted Skies

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M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy (imaged from Fort Davis, TX)

M101 Map of the Region near M101


Object Information                                            Imaging Details

M101 is a beautiful spiral galaxy near the handle of the big dipper. It is known as The Pinwheel Galaxy for obvious reasons. It is approximately 25 million light years away from us. The galaxy's low surface brightness makes it a tough object to see well visually, and a challenge to image well.

I imaged this object at the 2009 Texas Star Party (near Fort Davis, Texas). Sky transparency was excellent, seeing was average to good.

I tried a lot of tricks to bring out detail in the galaxy. Color and Ha shots were taken at f/2 through the Hyperstar. To get more resolution, the galaxy was also imaged at f/5.

Clicking the above image will bring up a higher resolution image.

Celestron NexStar GPS11
Canon 350D (type 1 modified)
Baader 6nm Ha
Misc. Optics:
Hyperstar 3 (color, Ha), Giant Easy Guider @ f/5 (color)
33 x 2 minutes @ f/2 (color), 33 x 3 minutes @ f/2 (Ha), 33 x 5 minutes @ f/5 (color). All at ISO 1600.
Through Orion ED80 (f/7.5 for Hyperstar, f/15 for GEG) piggybacked atop C11. Autoguiding was done with GuideDog and a ToUCam.
Images were aligned and stacked in Nebulosity. Curves, levels and sharpening adjustments were done with Photoshop CS3. Noise reduction was performed with Noise Ninja.

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Enchanted Skies - Astrophotography by Rich Richins (all images copyright, Rich Richins)