Bode’s galaxy M81 & M82

Living in northern Europe has some serious disadvantages for astrophotography. We mostly miss out on seeing the galactic core, with all its incredible sights. Light pollution is pretty bad. We’re also forced to down tools as twilight veils the night sky for a couple of months near the summer solstice. Washing out all but the brightest stars. Last night was one of the final dark nights before these light nights begin. Conditions were pretty bad with a lot high cloud and haziness, but I carried on regardless.

Below is a 75 minute stacked shot of the M81 & M82 galaxies at 400mm. The last time I photographed the pair was 6.5 years ago when a supernova erupted in the cigar galaxy. Although the result is low in contrast, I think it’s pretty good considering the conditions! The combination of haziness and shooting wide open seemed to exasperate the star bloating effect. Next time I’ll make sure it’s completely clear and also stop down to f8 to sharpen up the stars.

Details: Nikon D5500Tamron-100-400mm-f4.5-6.3 @ 400mm/f6.3. Total of 80 minutes exposure time (150 x 30 seconds) at iso 800. Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker and tracked with AstroTrac TT320X-AG

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