M51 in Esprit 120

This is an image of M51 taken from my favorite dark sky site. It is the first real shot with a Canon 60Da and a new SkyWatcher Esprit 120 after weeks of cloudy skies. After reshooting flats to correct a gradient at the bottom of the image. This allowed a more aggressive stretch, producing a darker background than my initial attempt. Click on the image to see a tighter crop of the galaxy.

Object M51 RA 13:29.9 Dec 47:12
Exposure 77 minutes (11 X 7 minutes)
ISO 1600
Camera Canon 60Da DSLR
Optics SkyWatcher f/7 Esprit 120 APO refractor

SCO, St. Croix, Nova Scotia

Processing Calibration, stacking, split star processing with masked stretching was used to bring the galaxies out from the background. Masked noise reduction using a frequency domain filter was used to smooth the background. The noise reduction was applied with an inverse luminance mask to the galaxy image before it was recombined with the stars.