M74, the Phantom

The second dimmest galaxy in the Messier catalogue, the Phantom galaxy turned out quite well for me. Guiding was mostly behaving pretty well, although I did get some bloat in the right ascension dimension in some of my images. It was too cold to mess around with things too much that night, so I kept what I had. Ten images at five minute exposures resolved plenty of detail.

Phantom Galaxy

I’m also learning some better tricks at reducing the background glow and noise coming from beautiful Akron and Fairlawn. With no moon and decent transparency, the light pollution still really drowns out my images. The background extraction in Siril is decent, but I usually have to finish the images off in the Gimp with the despeckle tool and some hand manipulation. For example, here is a raw image stretched a bit to show what I have to deal with: