THE M81 GALAXY GROUP
first light project
new observing site
After 5 beautiful years in Enzberg, my little family has moved to a new location. Our new home, Wurmberg is a nice village between Karlsruhe and Stuttgart, in the near of the Highway A8. From astronomical point of view, it is an attractive, not so heavily light polluted area (Bortle 4/yellow-green) compared to my previous observing site. In our new house we began a huge renovation project which made serious astrophotography almost impossible in the last few months until now…
Because of the terrible weather since September 2017 as well as the construction site I decided to work on my astronomical instruments and perform some technical upgrades. I built a new imaging telescope, modified my equatorial mount and get a dedicated deep-sky astro-camera with a modern, cooled monochrome CMOS sensor and a filter set also for narrowband imaging. New softwares were installed and the complete image processing workflow was updated.
about the m81 group
The first serious project for my new gear is a famous galaxy group located in the well known constellation Ursa Major. The two main members of the group are the grand designed spiral galaxy M81, also called Bode´s Galaxy and the edge on galaxy M82 or Cigar Galaxy with a remarkable starburst activity. The M81 group is located about 12 Million light years away from Earth and consists of 34 galaxies. Between the galaxies M81 and M82 strong gravitational interaction was measured by professional astronomers. This effect caused vigorous star formation activity (H-alpha regions) within the galaxies, which can be detected also by amateur astronomers, using special imaging techniques.
Click on the image to see details
HaLRGB Composit Image
Image Integration: 6,65 hours
Wurmberg, Germany (LRGB Data)
Balatonboglar, Hungary (H-alpha Data)
Star Formation Regions
in the M81 Galaxy
The Bode and Cigar Galaxies were perfect targets for my first astrophotographic project from Wurmberg. Due to the optimal circumstances I could perform the image acquisition across several nights from our new backyard. The collection of the luminance and color data was performed during four nights between the 5th and 12th of May. To show the mentioned strong star formation regions I acquired a separate image set with a narrow band H-alpha filter on the 20th of May during a visit in Hungary. This H-alpha image was combined later with the conventional LRGB data set. The final image has near 7 hours of integration time and shows beautiful details about these distant worlds.