M74 – Spiral Galaxy


M74 (NGC 628) is a face-on spiral galaxy about 32 million light-years away in the constellation Pisces. It measures about 97,000 light-years across, and contains an estimated 40 billion stars. Millions of stars are forming in the hot bluish knots lighting up its spiral arms.

M74 Spiral Galaxy
Celestron 9¼" at f/5.6 on a Celestron CGE equatorial mount
SBIG ST-8XM camera
Optec IFW filter wheel with Astrodon TruBalance LRGB filters
Optec TCF-S focuser
Optec Pyxis camera rotator
Imaging and autoguiding with MaxIm DL 4.11
Luminance   5.7 hours (68 x 5 min.) unbinned @ -15°C
Red   1 hour (12 x 5 min.), binned 2x2 @ -15°C
Green   1 hour (12 x 5 min.), binned 2x2 @ -15°C
Blue   1 hour (12 x 5 min.), binned 2x2 @ -15°C
Processing Master dark frames 1x1 lum (35 x 5 min.) and 2x2 RGB (24 x 5 min.), sigma-reject combined
Dark and flat frame reduction in CCDSoft
Sigma-reject combined
Processing and LRGB-combined in Photoshop CS
Date and Location 2-3 October 2005
Montpelier, VA    N 37° 49' 12", W 77° 42' 06"