page 19 M51

                       Astrophotography by Keith B. Quattrocchi

                    M51 (NGC 5194 amd 5195)
                    Whirlpool Galaxy in Canes Venatici 
                    Composite LRGB/Ha


                                      Image Acquisition Information                      
                               Telescope:   16" RCOS Ritchey-Chretien Telescope (ion milled at f/9) 
                               Camera:       SBIG STL-6303 M
                               Guiding:       SBIG AOL,  Astrodon  MOAG AOG (SBIG 237 with FLR)
                               Filters:        Astrodon Ha, L. R. G, B
                               Mount:        Software Bisque Paramount ME
                               Acquisition Programs:   The Sky,CCDAutopliot III, CCD Soft. 
                               Processing ProgramsCCDStack, Maxim DL, Photoshop
                               Date:March 21-March 24, 2008                              
                               Time: 18x20 min ( 6 hours) each for Ha, L, R, G, B: total 30 hrs                           
                               Processing:  CCD Stack and PhotoShop CS/3
Image Infornmation:  The Whirlpool galaxy is actually 2 galaxies, NGC 5194 (the larger of the two) and NGC 5195, both located about 37 million light years distant, in Canis Venatici.  It is believed that the larger of the two galaxies is tearing the smaller apart, resulting in an area of intense new star formation.  Currently active, the dense nebulosities in this region block much of the light from the new star formation.
Additional Comments:  Image processing involved production of an RGB and separate H-alpha/Luminence images combined in Photoshop CS/3. The H-alpha images were combined with the Luminence data so as not to disturb the color balance and to bring out areas of star formation evidenced by ultraviolet light from new stars causing hybrogen ionization.   Calibration and combination was performed with CCDStack with further processing (layering of Ha/L and RGB), data stretching, high pass filtering and background smoothing (Kodac Gem) performed with Adobe Photoshop CS/3.

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