I took additional luminance data from M106 in Ursa Major on the night of 15-16/5/2020 and added it to my data earlier in the month to produce this greyscale image – I am very pleased – it is my best photo of a galaxy yet!
Stacked with flats, darks, and flat darks – 60 second exposures x 218 (total 3 hours and 38 minutes) in Nebulosity 4.
This led to my best dark and flat corrected image since I started astrophotography 1 year ago.
Image stretched in Photoshop CS6 and I removed a last bit of remaining light pollution gradient using Astroflat Pro plug-in for CS6.
I particularly like the detail in the central bar of the galaxy, and its very faint periphery. In addition, there is quite a lot of detail in the smaller galaxies.
It is obvious that tracking is not perfect (stars slightly elongated, which is more obvious when you blow up the image).
Combined data from 5-6/5/2020 and 15-16/5/2020, stacked in Nebulosity 4, stretched in Photoshop CS6, Astroflat Pro plug-in for CS6:
M106 Combined Data DeepSkyTracker stacked file stretched in Photoshop CS6:
Applying Astroflat Pro to above photo:
M106 with StarNet applied in PixInsight (cleaned little afterwards in Photoshop CS6 using Clone Stamp to remove some residual marks):
Below is the star mask image created by PixInsight for above image:
I also tried processing just data 15-16/5/2020 on its own – I made greater effort on that night to get focus right (I found the magnifier in APT which allowed me to magnify the Bahnitov mask diffraction pattern and ensure it was symmetrical about the star) – below are results of stacking in Nebulosity and processing in Photoshop CS6 of images from 15-16/5/2020 only:
M106 Data from 15-160520 stacked in DeepSkyTracker & then processed in Photoshop CS6/Astroflat Pro:
M106 stacked in Nebulosity and stretched in PixInsight using MaskedStretch, then processed a little in Photoshop CS6 and residual gradient cleaned with Astroflat Pro plug-in for CS6:
My personal favourite version: Pre-processed with dark frames and flat frames in Nebulosity 4, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker 64 bit version, processed including using Astro Flat Pro plug-in in Photoshop CS6 and small amount sharpening and noise reduction – I have deliberately not cropped off the mark left lower border as I wanted to keep adjacent galaxy in shot and in this version I have not darkened the background so that mark disappears in order to keep as much detail in the galaxies visible, including in M106:
FInally, I always wanted to be able to take close-up of a galaxy, so here is my first serious attempt: