M51 imaged from home with the QHY9C one shot color CCD camera. 15 x 300 sec or 1 hour 15 minutes of raw data.
Scope used: Celestron C9.25 with 0.63x reducer
Focal length is 1480mm
Field of view is 31.8 x 42.1 arcminutes
The Whirlpool Galaxy
(also known as Messier 51a
, or NGC 5194
) is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy
in the constellation Canes Venatici
. Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years
from the Milky Way Galaxy
but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million ly. 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.