M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy - 5.27.2006
Image Capture Details

Optics:  Meade LX200 14 Inch
Mount: Meade
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel
Filters: none
Exposure:  55X 2 minutes+ 110 minutes
Time: 12:22 AM  EDT - 2:47AM EDT
Location: Waldwick, NJ
M51, the 'Whirlpool Galaxy' in Canes Venatici is famous for its beautiful spiral structure, first noted by Lord Rosse in 1845. It was
discovered by Charles Messier in October 1773 and catalogued by him in January 1774.  The M51 system is a spectacular example of
interacting galaxies - in this case NGC 5195 at top in this image, is being "ripped apart" by the huge gravitational disturbance of M51, while
M51 has in turn undergone huge structural alteration from the gravitational effects of NGC 5195. The distance of M51 is estimated to be
about 37 million light years. The diameter is approximately 100,000 light years and the total mass is estimated to be the equivalent of 160
billion suns.
© 2008 David A. Trapani
All Rights Reserved