Thursday, 8 May 2014

Bode's Nebulae (what to avoid)

After several months of clouds I finally got the chance of going outside at night... it was a long period of inactivity on astrophotography and it took its price. I made a noob mistake, I shot in JPEG instead of RAW. It was like 2 hours of data that I could dump but I rather process it the best I could and upload it here anyway so I can always remember to set properly my camera settings before leaving home for a session.

Shooting in JPEG, causes the internal processing of the camera to compress and loss a big part of the information contained in the RAW format. The stacking and the processing is not as effective as when processing RAW and the image edition is quite more difficult and the results poorer. This could have been a good shot of this galaxies despite my poor optics.

Anyway, Bode's Nebulae is composed by two galaxies (M81 and M82) located at 12 million light years in the constellation of Ursa Mayor. M81 is a spiral galaxy and M82 a prototype starbust galaxy which became very famous recently because of the SN 2014J, an apparent Type Ia supernova, which was observed in the galaxy on 21 January 2014. In the image it's also possible to see a third galaxy in the M81 group, NGC 3077 (at the left bottom).

The shot is composed by 1:40 hours of light information, 15 darks and 30 bias. Processed with StarTools and Photoshop. I must say that the creator of StarTools (Ivo) provided great help during the processing of this image.


And the annotated image: