M61 – Galaxy in Virgo

 

M61 is a magnitude 9.3 spiral galaxy in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. It measures about 100,000 light years across (the size of our Milky Way), and is about 60 million light years away. In this image, north is toward the left. In addition to dozens of galaxies visible in the background, NGC4292 (magnitude 12.2) can be seen at the top, and NGC4301 (magnitude 13.7) is at the bottom.




Equipment
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
Exposure
Luminance   5.4 hours (65 x 5 min.) unbinned, -15°C
Red   3.3 hours (40 x 5 min.) binned 2x2, -15°C
Green   3.3 hours (40 x 5 min.) binned 2x2, -15°C
Blue   3.3 hours (40 x 5 min.) binned 2x2, -15°C
Processing Images reduced, aligned, and combined using CCDStack
Levels and curves, slight smoothing and sharpening in Photoshop CS2
Date and Location 24, 25, 27, 28, & 30 April 2006
Montpelier, VA    N 37° 49' 12", W 77° 42' 06"