Focal Pointe Observatory
Astrophotography by Bob Franke

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M74 Galaxy

      Click the full screen zoom button           ^
Click the image to Zoom and Pan               


Click here to view the image without Zoomify (2700 x 1800)  


Roll the cursor in and out of the above image to see the HII areas with and without the added 240 minutes of Ha data.



12.5" RCOS @  ~f/9 (2880 mm fl) at 0.64 arcsec / pixel.  Zoomify image scale is 0.85 to 3.07 arcsec / pixel.


Paramount ME


SBIG STL-11000 w/ internal filter wheel, AstroDon Gen-1 Filters

Acquisition Data

12/8/2009 to 12/18/2009 Chino Valley, AZ... with CCDAutoPilot3 & CCDSoft.


Lum  405 min. (27 x 15 min. bin 1x1)

Ha    240min. (  8 x 30 min. bin 1x1)

RGB  225 min. (  5 x 15 min. bin 2x2, each)

Software & Processing Notes

CCDSoft, CCDStack, Photoshop CS w/ the Fits Liberator plugin, Noel Carboni's actions and Russell Croman's GradientXTerminator.

PixFix32 (pre-beta) to repair hot/cold pixels and column defects.

eXcalibrator for (b-v) color calibration, using 5 stars from the NOMAD1 database.

CCDStack to calibrate, register, normalize, data reject, combine sub exposures & color combine for the LRGB.

PhotoShop CS3 for non-linear stretching and LLRGB combine

240 minutes of Ha filtered data was overlayed onto the Red channel to highlight the HII star forming regions.


North is to the top.

M74 (also known as NGC 628) is a perfect example of a face on grand design galaxy. Discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780, the galaxy is located in the constellation Pisces, at a distance of about 30 million light-years. With its low surface brightness, M74 is the most difficult Messier object to observe visually. However, long photographic exposures reveal beautiful spiral arms with blue star clusters and red HII star forming regions.