Name: Whirlpool Galaxy, Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194
Date: 25 & 26 february 2014
Exposure: Total 8 Hr, 21x 10min luminance, 5x 10min RGB, 8x 15min Ha 7nm
Telescope: 8" Newton f/3.8 800mm with GPU f/4 coma corrector
Mount: NEQ6-pro, controled by EQmod/CdC, guided by QHY5/OAG
Camera: SBIG CCD ST8300M
Location: Prinsenbeek, The Netherlands
The Whirlpool Galaxy is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 nucleus in the constellation Canes Venatici. Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way Galaxy, but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million ly. Messier 51 is one of the best known galaxies in the sky. The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.