Thursday, 14 July 2011


This is a massive, swirling whirlpool that peeks above our southern hedges for a couple of hours on spring nights. However, head south and it rises right up into the starry heavens! So people like me can snap it like over enthusiastic nerds. The southern pinwheel galaxy, or M83, is part of a local little group, and it is associated with Centaurus A. It is about 15 million light years away. All those little red flecks in it are vast nebulae of fluorescing hydrogen. This pic was taken with an ST-8 at prime focus of the 16 inch relay cassegrain at f/6. Four luminance frames of 5 mins each, 4 luminance darks, plus 1 binned red, green and blue. Unfortunately, the dark that accompanied the colour images had some ghost stars on it, hence the inverse colours I couldn't quite get rid of. I have tidied up this image a lot as it is. It's been crudely processed for web use but still looks great! For example the core is totally whited out - sorry. Compare it to my previous M83 to see the sheer improvement.

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