M51 – When two galaxies collide

M51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, is a grand design spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Canes Venatici. It’s one of the most famous galaxies in the sky, appearing face-on when viewed from Earth. At magnitude +8.4, it’s relatively bright and visible in binoculars, especially from dark sites. M51 has a much smaller dwarf companion, known as NGC5195, and together they form the finest and most studied example of an interacting galaxy pair in the sky. Though M51 looks faint and fuzzy to the eye, deep images like this one can reveal the faint tidal debris around the smaller galaxy.

Close up of M51

Telescope: 16″ f3.75 Dream Scope
Camera: FLI ML16803
Mount: ASA DDM85
Exposure: 12 hours (52x300s L + 3x30x300s RGB)
Date: December 2017 and February 2018
Location: Southern Alps, France

 

M51 and surroundings

 

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