The imaging object of the month for May 2011 is a Messier object, Spiral Galaxy M106 in Canes Venatici. I particularly like this galaxy and have imaged it several times – it looks to me like a piece of celestial “Mother-of-Pearl” – quite beautiful colouring if you manage to get deep images of this one on a clear (good seeing) night. M106 is about 22 million light years away and shines at magnitude 8.3 with dimensions 18.6 x 7.2 minutes of arc – so reasonably large. Even so – this one is better imaged with much longer focal lengths than my 405mm using the Sky 90 with reducer-corrector. I would recommend focal lengths in excess of 1000mm and sub-exposure times of around 10-minutes with the usual minimum of around 50-60 subs.
The evenings are now getting shorter and this is the last month of imaging (for me at least) for a few weeks now. Make the most of any clear Moonless nights we get this month – we’ve got a while before we can grab some deep-sky photons again.
Until June – clear skies!!