Derby and District Astronomical Society

Messier 81 (NGC 3031)

Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major      RA 09h 55m 36s  Dec +69° 04m 00s

Separate images of M81 (left) and M82 (right) were captured by Peter Branson on January 5th and January 12th 2022, and comprise 110 minutes total exposures of M81 and 135 minutes in total for M82. The camera used was a ZWO ASI533 cooled colour camera together with a 102mm TS Optics Photoline f7 telescope with a Hutech IDAS light pollution filter and field flattener attached mounted on an NEQ6 mount. A filter wheel fitted with LRGBHa filters was used to capture the L and Ha component (for M81). The two square frame images were combined in Microsoft Images Composite Editor (ICE). Peter says - "I'm experimenting with my new ASI533 camera and, although it's a colour camera, I've been taking images through an L filter and an Ha so that I can add extra Ha detail to the images if necessary. Although I can get both of these galaxies in a single frame I decided to image them separately and then combine the results. I thought I would try and make the panoramic view using Microsoft ICE to see what would happen knowing there was a little bit of overlap in the two images. The result is what you see here - there's no additional processing - I was amazed!"  Image © Peter Branson.

This image of M81 (left) and M82 (right) was taken by Dave Selfe on the 16th April 2020. Dave used a Nikon D750 camera attached to a Skywatcher Esprit 100 ED f/5.5 Super Apo Triplet Refractor and his new Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro Mount. The images are unguided and were stacked 150 x 10 second at ISO 1000.  Image © Dave Selfe.

Chris Callaway captured this image of M81 (right) and M82 (left) on the 21st February 2019. It is an RGB image comprising 11 x 5 minutes per channel, taken with a Takahashi 106, an Atik 16200 camera with Atik filter wheel and filters, and the mount was a Paramount MyT.  Image © Chris Callaway.

Peter Branson took this image of M81 (left) and M82 (right) on the 26th March 2014. The image is a stacked composite of 26 individual frames each of 120 seconds exposure at ISO 1600. They were taken with a Canon 1100D camera attached to a TS Photoline ED102 refractor telescope with field-flattener and Hutech IDAS light pollution filter attached. The telescope was guided using an Orion Mini autoguider controlled by PHD software. The separate images were stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and the final image was further processed in Gimpshop. The supernova that erupted in M82 in January 2014 is visible in the image, below the reddish centre of the galaxy as the right hand and brighter of a pair of stars.  Image © Peter Branson.

The bright Sb type spiral galaxy M81 (NGC 3031) lies to the left of this image by Adrian Brown, which also shows the irregular galaxy M82 (NGC 3034) to the right. M81's faint satellite galaxy Holmberg IX is visible above M81 itself. Adrian photographed these galaxies with his Skywatcher 80ED refractor and an ATK16HR camera. The data was collected on the evenings of the 1st and 4th March 2006 and consists of 1.5 hours luminance (5 minute sub exposures) and 30 minutes (3 minute sub exposures) each through RGB filters. The digital development process (DDP) filter in Maxim DL was used to bring out detail in the galaxy cores and this detail was then sharpened via the application of a high-pass filter in Adobe Photoshop.  Image © Adrian Brown.

Chris Newsome and Adrian Brown produced this image of M81 on the 19th February 2006. They used a Canon EOS300D camera at 400 ASA through Adrian's Celestron C11 fitted with a f/6.3 focal reducer. This setup employed a CGE mount and was guided using Guidedog software and focusing was performed using DSLRFocus. An Astronomik CLS filter was also used to remove sodium light. Five images were taken at 210 seconds exposure and calibrated in Maxim DL. The resulting image was processed in CS2 using RGB levels, curves, GradientXTerminator and a highpass filter. Chris comments: "This object definitely warrants attention for imaging as this first attempt shows some lovely structure in the spiral arms. Due to vignetting with the setup, however, some of the arms are not as visible as the others".  Image © Chris Newsome and Adrian Brown.