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Dates & Location

16th December 2009 using the SMAP site at Weed, New Mexico. Elevation 7269 ft. Lat 32.8°N Long 195.5W  

Catalogue identification

IC 342 spiral galaxy.

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 Monoceros. Circumpolar (does not set at this latitude). It has a surface brightness of 14.9 and integrated magnitude of 8.4 and is about 21.4 x20.9 arc minutes in apparent size. In this image, North is down and East is to the Right. This equates to 2/3 of the apparent diameter of the Moon.
Acquisition

Remote session using RADMIN PC control from Ravenshead, UK.
LRGB exposures:- 200:80:80:100 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

IC 342 is about 10 million light years away,It is not a memeber of the local group to which our Milky Way galaxy belongs, but it does form part of the galaxy group Maffei 2, many of its constituent galaxies being dwarfs. As the Maffei 1 group lies very close to the Galactic plane (the equatorial plane of our Galaxy), it is highly obscured by the dark dusty matter of our Milky Way.Even though IC 342's light is dimmed by intervening cosmic clouds, this image traces the galaxy's own obscuring dust, blue star clusters and glowing pink star forming regions along spiral arms that wind far from the galaxy's core. IC 342 may have undergone a recent burst of star formation activity and is close enoughto have gravitationally influenced the evolution of our local group of galaxies and the Milky Way.

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.