M82 – The Cigar Galaxy

In the constellation Ursa Major, you can find M82, The Cigar Galaxy. M82 is part of a group of galaxies, called the M81 group. M82 and M81 (Bode’s Galaxy) are the brightest members of the group. M82 and the associated group are fairly close, only 12 million light years away, making it a fairly easy galaxy to image due because it is so bright.

The starburst activity, shown in yellow/orange color, is due to M82 interacting with M81. The starburst activity is better seen with the use of a hygrogen-alpha filter.

Imaging Details

  • Workflow: LRGB+HA
  • Lum Filter: 72*120 seconds
  • Red Filter: 24*180 seconds
  • Green Filter: 24*180 seconds
  • Blue Filter: 24*180 seconds
  • Hydrogen-Alpha: 16*600 seconds
  • Binning: 1×1
  • Total Imaging Time: 8.5 hours
  • Imaging Dates (4 nights):
    • 2/6/2021
    • 2/14/2021
    • 2/21/2021
    • 3/5/2021

M82 Imaging Notes

Due to the starburst activity within M82, a hydrogen alpha filter is recommended to help augment the central area of the galaxy. Due to limited time, I was only able to gather 16 images at 600 seconds. Ideally, I would have doubled the number of images to help provide additional details within the galaxy.

Some quick tips about this nebula

  • I was running my telescope at F6.3 using my old focal reducer, which produces internal reflections, causing image calibration to be poor. Dust donuts and halos are prevalent and difficult to hide.
  • This was using some of my older LRGB+HA integration workflows, especially with noise reduction, HA integration and LUM integration.