Messier 81 (also known as NGC 3031 or Bode’s Galaxy) is a grand design spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away, with a diameter of 90,000 light years, and is located in the constellation Ursa Major(The Big Dipper Area). Due to its proximity to Earth, large size, and a very active galactic nucleus (which harbors a 70 million mass supermassive black hole), the orange core is filled with the oldest red giant stars swirling around the central Super massive black hole. Most of the new young hot blue stars are in the outer spiral arms…and you can even see some pink nebulae (HII regions) dotting the spiral arms of the galaxy. There is a small cloud like Dwarf irregular satellite galaxy off to the left known as Holmberg IX. There are also lots of smaller galaxies in the background of my image as well as faint Galactic Cirrus.
Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers. The galaxy’s large size and relatively high brightness also makes it a popular target for amateur astronomers, and you can see it visually with a pair of binoculars or small telescope from a dark site. And with the right Astro equipment and lots of practice you can actually get a decent photograph of M81 right from the city like I did from my backyard in Dayton, Ohio.
This is a 7 hour LRGB exposure (180sec subs, bin 1×1) with a QHY183M cooled monochrome camera(Lum) & QHY 183 C Cooled color Cmos camera(RGB 300sec subs, bin 1×1) & C6 Newtonian telescope, Baader coma corrector, and Bisque MyT mount. An L-Pro Filter was used to combat local light pollution. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, Aligned in Maxim DL, Processed Pixinsight & Adobe CC2020. it turned out better than I expected considering the last few nights I capture these there were lots of high thin clouds passing through…but the auto-guider never lost the star, …but unfortunately i did have to toss away about a dozen 3 minute subs exposures due too much light from passing clouds fogging some of the images. Data from 04-19-2020 & 01-10-2021.
Best Regards,
John Chumack