M81 and M82 bathed in Integrated Flux Nebula
Most images of M81 and M82 will show the two galaxies, the surrounding stars and a few smaller galaxies here and there.
But a deeper exposure and a much more careful processing will reveal that these galaxies, far from being visualized against a nearly dark, empty background, they are surrounded by huge clouds of dust.
The truth is that the galaxies are not surrounded by this dust - the dust is much closer to us than the galaxies - it just happens to look that way. Kind of like looking at the moon on a partially cloudy night.
This dust, unlike classic reflection nebulas - that are usually illuminated by neighboring stars - is actually illuminated by the glow of our own Milky Way galaxy. And yes, it is very very faint. Steve Mandel named this nebulosity Integrated Flux Nebula, or IFN.
Hope you like it!
This fits liberator image is not available for sale.
Rogelio Bernal Andreo & the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator