Messier 51, Whirlpool Galaxy

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Messier 51, is a stunning pair of interacting galaxies. The larger galaxy is also known as NGC 5194.  Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (top), NGC 5195.  The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular boundaries of the small constellation Canis Venatici. Although M51 looks faint and fuzzy to the eye, deep images like this one reveal striking colors and the faint tidal debris around the smaller galaxy. The tidal pull from the smaller galaxy can be seen to have elongated the larger galaxy. This image was taken through the 20″ Planewave CDK20 telescope and the Finger Lakes Instruments PL16803 camera and is a combination of  260 images taken over 47 hours.

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Optics: 20″ Planewave CDK20
Mount: Software Bisque Paramount MEII
Camera: FLI PL16803
Filters: FLI LRGB
Dates/Times: Feb, March, April 2015
Location: Adler Earth and Sky Observatory, Jackson Hole WY
Exposure Details: L=61x10min,1:1, R,G,B=60x10min, 2:2, Ha=20x20min 4:4, total 260 images, 47 hr
Acquisition: MaxImDl, SkyX, Guiding Astrodon MOAG, SBIG STi
Processing: MaximDl, Photoshop CC