M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy

M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy: M51 is the "classic" spiral galaxy. In the spiral arms, you can easily see the pink regions showing the H-alpha emission of star formation, and the blue regions of the newly formed O and B type stars. These regions are among the "dust lanes" that show up as dark bands. These dust lanes are really clouds of mostly hydrogen gas that will eventually lead to more star forming regions (pink), and then more new open clusters (blue). The neighbor to the right in this picture is NGC 5195.

Messier: 51
NGC: 5194
Other Catalogs: IC 5
Right Ascension: 13h 29.9m
Declination: 47° 12'
Apparent Magnitude: 8.1

Date: May 2009
Equipment:
Telescope: Meade 16" Schmidt Cassegrain with f6.3 reducer
Camera: SBIG ST-10XE
Guiding: Meade 5" refractor/DSI Pro/PHD
Exposure:
L: 12x5 minutes
R: 7x5 minutes
G: 7x5 minutes
B: 7x5 minutes

Scale: 1.01"/pixel

Links to images of this object on other sites:
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap060219.html
http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/observers/m51rolfe.jpg

Additional Comments: This is one of the objects we have photographed almost every year. This is the 2009 version, and the first shot with the telescope on the equatorial wedge. Exposures were longer than previous years, but there were still some autoguiding issues with many of the sub-frames. The 2008 version can be seen here. http://www.fortlewis.edu/observatory/image_detail.asp?ID=95 The 2009 Luminance can be seen here. http://www.fortlewis.edu/observatory/image_detail.asp?ID=40

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