M51 – Whirlpool Galaxy

M51 (NGC 5194) is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs). In the image, one can see M51 interacting with the dwarf galaxy NGC 5195. The galaxy is fairly close (31 million light years away), which helps make the galaxy appear larger and brighter. Because of this, M51 is a very popular target for astrophotographers.

M51 is in a group of galaxies bound together by gravity. The group called The M51 Group (because M51 is the biggest/brightest of the group) also includes the galaxy M63 – The Sunflower Galaxy.

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IC 342 – The Hidden Galaxy of Camelopardalis

A relatively un-photographed galaxy, IC 342 lies very close to the Milky Way, somewhere between 7 million and 11 million light years. The galaxy IC 342 lies in a dusty area near the galactic equator. Think of the galactic equator as the middle, horizontal line through the Milky Way galaxy. This is where most of the stars and dust are located. Peering through the galactic equator results in objects often being obscured. However, IC 342 really stands out.

Our local group of galaxies includes the Milky Way, Andromeda, Large Magellanic Cloud, M33, M32 plus many more. This group moves through the universe together. IC 342 leads up the IC 342 group of galaxies. The IC 342 group is the closest group of galaxies to our local group of galaxies.

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PixInsight LRGB+HA Workflow

The LRGB+HA workflow uses either 4 or 5 filters

  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Hydrogen-alpha
  • Luminance (optional)

Adding a hydrogen-alpha filter into the mix allows for certain images (especially galaxies) to show more of the hydrogen-dominated regions.

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