Wouter's Astro-photography

Messier 81 - NGC3031


M81 is without doubt one of the more impressive galaxies seen from the northern hemisphere. I has a very bright core and then gets considerably fainter. In long exposure images it shows two large delicate spiral arms. In which one can see plenty of dustlanes and blotches.


This system was discovered by Johan elert Bode in 1774 and as such is often called Bode's galaxy. Five years later it was added in Messier's list of objects to be avoided.


Just North of M81 one can also find M82. The couple makes an impressive sight in wide field images or when observed through the telescope.


The image above was made at my home location in Belgium under heavily light polluted skies. (click the image for a larger view.)

Image data

Exposure: 48x300s

Filters: Baader UHC-S

Camera temperature: -30°C

Date: October 30th 2013

Location: Zele, Belgium




Camera: SBIG ST2000XM

Telescope: Skywatcher MN190

Mount: Software Bisque Paramount MX



Image aquisition: The Sky X

Preprocessing: Deep sky stacker

Fitsconversion: Fitsliberator

image processing: Adobe Photoshop CS5



Object data



Messier 81


Constellation: Ursa major



RA: 9h 55.6m

Dec: +69° 04'


Dimensions: 26.9' x 14.1'


Magnitude: 6.9


Surface brigtness: 13.0


Distance: 11.8 million lightyears


Discovered by Johan Elert Bode in 1774


© Wouter D'hoye 2016 - Last update February 1st 2015