M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy

Field centered on R.A. 13h 30' & Dec. +47° 10'

Follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the dipper's bowl, until you get to the handle's last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you might find this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194 and named Whirlpool Galaxy. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (right), NGC 5195. At only 30 million light years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51 is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies on the sky. Anyone with a good pair of binoculars can see this Whirlpool toward the constellation of Canes Venatici. M51 is a spiral galaxy of type Sc and is the dominant member of a whole group of galaxies (text adapted from APOD)


Vixen VC200L @ f/9 + AP 900GTO SBIG STL 11K C2, binning 1x1, T=-20°C

L(180m) Ha (170m) RGB (40:50:80m)


Gambugliano (VI) Italy






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