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Messier 106 (M106 Galaxy), also known as NGC 4258, is a beautiful spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. It is one of the brightest and largest galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy and it lies in a distance of approximately 23.7 million light years from us.
After 5 months of bad weather and no chance to image at all, I had an opportunity of just one night in March, so decided to go for a classic, bright object, which doesn't require very long exposure times to show it's beauty. Interestingly, but this galaxy is very similar in size and luminosity to Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and can be seen as blurred white smudge even with pair of binoculars.
What is really amazing to me, is that even with 8" scope, it is possible to reveal such a great amount of details around the core of the galaxy. Of course, there is very careful steps of Deconvolution and Dynamic range compression steps have to be applied in order to show the core in such detail, so processing is definitely can make a difference. That why it's always an intriguing hobby with every image holding up it's secrets.
That bright white blob in the center of the bottom image, is a supermassive black hole and particularly this one, is not resting at all. Comparing to our Milky Way's black hole, which slowly pulling the dust wisps inside, this one is a fast food junkie and very active. Further studies of this galaxy are pointing out to another intriguing feature of the galaxy, instead of two spiral arms, it have four, while the second pair, instead of stars, made of gas emissions.
To show more detailed core of the M106 galaxy's wisps, it is very advisable to shoot it with Ha filter, to catch rarely seen wisps of the emissions. But, unfortunately, i didn't had time for it. Well, maybe next time....
Galaxy's Core with super massive black hole
Optics : GSO 8" RC + CCDT67 @ F5.3 @ 1062 mm
Camera : QSI 660 - WSG8
Filters : Astrodon Gen 2 E-Series - RGB Filter Set - 1.25"
Mount : NEQ-6 Pro (Self Hypertuned/Belt Mod)
Guiding: QSI OAG + SX Lodestar 2 + PHD 2.6.4. dev9
Acquisition : Sequence Generator Pro (188.8.131.52)
Exposure : L (1x1) - 29 x 300 2 Hours 25 Minutes
R (2x2) - 14 x 300 1 Hour 10 Minutes
G (2x2) - 14 x 300 1 Hour 10 Minutes
B (2x2) - 14 x 300 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Total Exp: - 5 Hours 55 Minutes
Calibration: Bias, Flats, Darks
Processing : PixInsight 1.8.05 (1353)