M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy
 
Date:
 
November 29, 2013
 
Location:
 
Deerlick Astronomy Village
Sharon, Georgia USA
Telescope:
 
Orion ED80 Apo
 
Camera:
 
Canon 450D DSLR
 
Mount:
 
Orion Atlas EQ-G
 
Acquisition:
 
Nebulosity
 
Filters:
 
None
 
Total Integration:
 
1.33 hours
 
Subexposures:
 
16 x 300s @ ISO 1600
 
Calibration:
 
None
 
The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194, is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. Estimated to be 23 million light-years from the Milky Way, different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million light-years. Messier 51 is one of the best known galaxies in the sky. The galaxy and its companion, NGC 5195, are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.