Whirlpool Galaxy, M51
Copyright © 2011
M51, Whirlpool Galaxy, in the constellation Canes Venatici
A Spiral Galaxy also cataloged as NGC 5194
This galaxy was the first one where spiral structure was discovered, in 1845 by Lord Rosse. Therefore, M51 is sometimes referenced as Rosse's Galaxy or Lord Rosse's "Question Mark". The pronounced spiral structure is a result of M51's current encounter with its neighbor, NGC 5195. Due to this interaction, the gas in the galaxy was disturbed and compressed in some regions, resulting in the formation of new young stars.
NOTE: This is a reprocessed version of another image where I used the LAB color mode in Photoshop to bring out the blue in the galaxy.
Distance: 37 million light years.
Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Telescope: Astrophysics Starfire 140 EDT F7.5
Mount: Astro-Physics Mach1 GTO with Advanced Telescope Systems portable pier
Images: Exposure was 92 sub images @ 10 minutes each of 21 clear, 24 red, 24 green, and 22 blue for a
total exposure of 15 hours and 20 minutes.
Date: March 2009
Software: Camera, mount, and guider control - CCD Commander & MaximDL, calibration and stacking- CCDStack, further processing in Photoshop CS4.