The difference a dark sky makes.

The Whirlpool Galaxy I took last month compared to one I took from this month. The only real difference is location. The one I took from home is in Bortle 8 or 9 skies here in Allen, Texas. Surrounded by 440 acres of 24×7 illuminated concrete inside a 2 mile radius doesn’t help one tiny bit. Fort Griffin State Historic Site is in Bortle 2 skies.

I’ve done very, very little processing on this but the difference between the two is striking.

If you care to look in more detail. Click to open in a new tab.

M51 from Ft. Griffin near Albany, TX

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

These two galaxies are believed to have “collided” about 100 million years ago. It’s one of the brightest galactic groups visible from here and was cataloged by Charles Messier from his observatory in Paris on October 13, 1773. The smaller companion galaxy was discovered in 1781 by Pierre Mechain and is recorded today as NGC 5194. Wikipedia

This was captured from my very heavily light polluted back yard north of Dallas, TX on March 31 and April 1, 2021 with my 8″ Celestron EdgeHD and QHY 168C camera. I had the software select the best 110 of 120 images to integrate and did a few tweaks in GIMP to get the image seen here. A very surprising result for me given the light pollution we have.