M 51 from a distance

M 51, in constellation Canes Venatici, is one of the best known galaxies, 30 million light-years away. It interacts with its smaller companion, NGC 5195. 

Not particularly exotic of a target, to me this photo is an important achievement, being my remotely controlled observatory's "first light". Much work has still to be done on the optical side, because my raw frames were plagued by so-called "pupil ghost" artifacts, most likely caused by some internal reflections I still have to investigate. Anyway in the end I manage to process out reflections, but it was really a pain; additionally, it was my first time ever taking sky flat frames. 

Considering the short exposure time (barely more than two hours in total) I'd say it's not so bad. But a lot of optimization work on the imaging train still awaits me. I will write a detailed report on my remote observatory once I consider it fully operational.



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