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Dates & Location

12th - 20th December 2009 using the SMAP site at Weed, New Mexico. Elevation 7269 ft. Lat 32.8°N Long 195.5W  

Catalogue identification

NGC 3992 Barred spiral galaxy.
Messier 109

Equipment Used

Officina Stellare RC400 at 3304mm focal length.
Paramount ME German equatorial Mount.
Camera SBIG ST-11000M with FW-8L filter wheel.
TheSky V6 telescope control.
CCDSoft V 5.0 camera control


Where it is in space

In the constellation of Ursa Major. It has an integrated magnitude of 9.8 and is about 7.5 x 4.4 arc minutes in apparent size. In this image, North is up and East is to the left. It is visually located just 38 arc minutes to the east south east of Gamma Ursa Majoris.

Remote session using RADMIN PC control from Ravenshead, UK.
LRGB exposures:- 240:100:100:120 mins total, using 20 min sub-exposures for Luminance and 10 min for RGB at
-30°C. Lum images binned 1x1, RGB images binned 2x2. AllC

  What it is

M109 is around 40 to 50 million light-years away in a loose galaxy grouping which includes the galaxies M108 and possibly M106. The type I supernova 1956A occured in this galaxy on March 17, 1956 and reached around magnitude 12.3 at its maximum. It is an excellent example of this type of spiral galaxy with a very strongly defined central bar within which there is still some star creation activity.

Processing Methods

Image acquisition and telescope control with CCDSoft V5/ TheSky6.  
  Data reduction and Luminence De-convolution with CCDStack. RGB colour channels prepared in CCDStack.  

Master RGB image and Master Lum Image finished with Photoshop CS2.Final LRGB image using PhotoShop CS2.