Picturesque Spiral M81 by Scott Champion
Galaxies come in a surprisingly diverse range of appearances. Most of the differences are due to orientation—a typical spiral viewed face on looks very different from one oriented edge on. M81, in Ursa Major, neatly matches what many people picture when they hear the phrase, “spiral galaxy.” It’s tipped roughly 45 degrees to our line of sight and has a tidy, beautifully symmetrical appearance. M81, together with its nearby companion, M82, are well placed for evening viewing in the spring sky.
Haneytown, New Brunswick, astrophotographer Scott Champion captured this M81 portrait with a MallinCam VRC-8 Ritchey-Chrétien astrograph fitted with an Astro-Physics CCDT67 focal reducer for a working f-ratio of f/5.4. Scott used a Atik 383L + monochromatic CCD camera shooting through Baader Planetarium filters to acquire a total of 4 hours exposure data for this image.
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