The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)
in Canes Venatici

The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a, M51a, and NGC5194, is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus. It lies in the constellation Canes Venatici, and was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. Its distance is estimated to be 23 million light-years away from Earth. The galaxy and its companion, NGC5195, are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy has been extensively observed by professional astronomers, who study it to understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.

Photographer: Lieven Persoons

Telescope: TMB 152 @ f/8
Mount: 10micron GM2000 HPS II MONOLITH
Camera: SBig STL11000
Exposure: HaLRGB 720:1050:260:240:310min