Messier Object 51 - Whirlpool Galaxy
Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier Object 51)
Taken on 6/4/2010
Scope: Stellarvue SV105T
Mount: Takahashi EM-200 Temma 2
Guide: 80mm Orion ST80 (w/ PHD)
Camera: QHY8 Pro (offset 1; gain 125)
Filters: IDAS LPS P2
Field Flattener: Stellarvue SFF7-21
Sub Time: 40m x 1
Exposure Time: 40 minutes
Captured with: Nebulosity
Pre Processed with: Nebulosity
Post Processed with: PixInsight 1.6
Location: Georgetown, TX
This image depicts the larger spiral galaxy (M51) and its smaller companion galaxy (NGC 5195). These galaxies are of particular interest because they are interacting with one another due to an actual collision approximately 600 million years ago. You can see the elongated "tail" of the spiral galaxy as its smaller companion distorts the outermost parts of the structure. Of interest here is that this is a likely fate for our own Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. These two galaxies are expected to collide in about 3 billion years. Our Sun will still be alive by then, but much nearer to the end of its life (and the inevitable red-giant phase).
These galaxies are located in the constellation Canes Venatici some 27 million light years distant. Despite its official location, this galaxy pair is very close the the "crook" of the Big Dipper (Mizar) in the north.
Also of note here is that this image was originally intended as a test of the new EM-200, but this single frame turned out ok, I think.