Messier 51 – Whirlpool Galaxy

Shot through massive light pollution over staggeringly huge The Village At Fairview outdoor mall complex.

This started as an add-on session to my first attempt at narrowband imaging and turned out much better than I hoped for.  Of course this would be much more grand out in the country but that’s not what this site is really about.  It’s more focused on what I can accomplish from my back yard.


Messier 51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

Depending on who did the study and when, estimates for distance vary widely from 15 million light years to 35 million light years.  These two galaxies are gravitationally interacting which is a highly science nerdy way of saying “crashing into each other)”.  Galactic collisions aren’t collisions at all, really.   There’s so much empty space between stars in the systems that it is highly unlikely that any of the stars in either galaxy will actually collide.  The law of averages says that some will but the percentage is beyond miniscule.

52 images of 5 minutes each.

Telescope: Celestron EdgeHD 8″ + 0.7x Focal Reducer
Camera: QHY 8L Cooled CCD @ -15C
Mount: iOptron CEM60