EAA – 04/23/2022 – A Few Wide Field Galaxy Groups

Another warm, lower 70s, dry, and clear night. I decided to change out the Celestron C6 SCT for the Astro-Tech 66mm Refractor and hunt out some wide field galaxy groups. Enjoyed EAA observing of the Leo Triplet, a piece of the Virgo Cluster, a few of the M81 Group, and the M101 Group.

I switched out the C6 SCT for the AT66ED earlier in the day and balanced the mount. Just after dark I did a visual polar alignment, focused, and shot my flats and darks for the evening. Had an issue with GOTOs at first but I think that was my fault. After connecting up the gear to INDI and aligning the mount you need to disconnect and reconnect the mount in INDI, I think I forgot to do this so the first GOTOs were kind of wild. Reset the mount to the indexes, realigned, disconnected and reconnected, and all was right. I did remember to turn on the dew heater, but it was pretty dry so I don’t think it was needed.

All these EAA images were capture with my ZWO ASI294MC Pro through my Astro-Tech AT66ED F/6 Refractor and live stacked using SharpCap Pro. The mount and cameras are remotely controlled with KStars/Ekos/INDI running on an Astroberry Raspberry Pi. For this session I was guiding using the Orion StarShooter Autoguider (OSSAG) attached to the SV106 guide scope. The images have been resized and cropped for size but otherwise appear just as I observed them.

Leo Triplet or the M66 Group which consists of the spiral galaxies M65, M66, and NGC 3628 in the constellation of Leo. This is a guided live stack of 120 x 15 seconds at 121 gain, bin 2×2.
The Leo Triplet - M65, M66, and NGC 3628 - EAA Capture 04/23/2022
M65 is in the center of the FOV, M66 is just up and slightly left of M65, and NGC 3628 is to the right of the two. Couple of satellites photobombed the frame in the upper left.

The Virgo Cluster – M86, M84, and a bunch of their friends in the constellation Virgo. This is a guided live stack of 60 x 15 second exposures at 121 gain, bin 2×2.
M86, M84, and other galaxies in the Virgo cluster - EAA Capture 04/23/2022
There are a bunch of galaxies which are easily resolvable in the FOV. Here is the SharpCap Annotation from the capture to help ID them.
M86, M84 - Virgo Cluster Galaxies with SharpCap Annotations - 04/23/2022

A few from the M81 Group – M81, M82, NGC3077, and NGC2976. This is a guided live stack of 60 x 15 second exposures at 121 gain, bin 2×2.
M81, M82 and M81 Group Galaxies - EAA Capture 04/23/2022
There are 4 visible galaxies from the M81 Group in the FOV. M81, Bode’s Galaxy, is in the center, M82, the Cigar galaxy, is to the left of M81. NGC 2976 is to the upper right, and NGC 3077 is toward the bottom and right of center.

M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy, is a face-on spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. This is a guided live stack of 60 x 15 second exposures at 121 gain, bin 2×2.
M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy - EAA Capture 04/23/2022
NGC 5474 is visible to the left and just up from M101. There are several other interesting galaxies in the FOV, here is the SharpCap Deep Sky Annotation of the stack.
M101 - SharpCap Deep Sky Annotation - EAA 04/23/2022
Many of these are part of the M101 Group.

Turned out to be a really nice night for EAA. I probably could have observed for a few more hours, but I was pretty worn out from the yard work earlier in the day so I packed things in just before midnight.

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