M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy


Here is M51 in Canes Venatici, imaged in April 2005. This large face-on spiral galaxy is interacting with a companion galaxy, NGC5195, which is passing behind it. These galaxies are about 35 million light years away.

M51 Whirpool Galaxy
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Celestron 9¼" at f/10 on a Celestron CGE equatorial mount
SBIG ST-8XM camera
SBIG AO-7 adaptive optics unit
Optec IFW filter wheel with Astrodon TruBalance LRGB filters
Optec TCF-S focuser
Optec Pyxis camera rotator
Imaging and autoguiding with MaxIm DL 4
Luminance   6.7 hours (40 x 10 min.), unbinned (22 @ -20°C and 18 @ -10°C)
Red   2.9 hours (35 x 5 min.), binned 2x2 @ -20°C
Green   2.7 hours (32 x 5 min.), binned 2x2 @ -20°C
Blue   2.5 hours (30 x 5 min.), binned 2x2 @ -20°C
Processing Dark and flat processing in CCDSoft
Images sigma-reject combined
Levels, curves, highpass filter, unsharp mask in Photoshop CS
Date and Location 6, 9, & 16 April, 2005    Montpelier, VA    N 37° 49' 12", W 77° 42' 06"