M51, The Whirlpool Galaxy Pictures
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The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) - Close-up

I shot this in 2014 during my Davis Mountains trip.  There are two interacting galaxies here, along with a skinny galaxy on the lower left.   The Wikipedia entry for M51 has lots of good information.

The Whirlpool Galaxy 2014: In Context

There are small galaxies scattered throughout the frame.


Per SEDS, "M51 is the dominating member of a small group of galaxies. As it is about 37 million light years distant and so conspicuous, it is actually a big and luminous galaxy. The value of M51's (and the whole group's) distance is still not very well known.." 

Image info: The image of M51, above is from the "Starry Nights" Bed and Breakfast near Wimberley, TX, taken May 20.  16x4=64 minutes total exposure.  Camera:  Canon EOS 20Da; prime focus using my Takahashi TOA 130 (a 5" APO refractor), and a Losmandy G-11 mount.

M51 Galaxy, preliminary result, wide view of top picture

M51, The Whirlpool Galaxy
Above: Prime focus 5/17/04, Tak FS-102 telescope @f5.9,  cropped, combination of 2 images of 70 minutes and 32 minutes, tracking with Sbig STV autoguider.  Kodak LE 400 print film, Nikon  Coolscan IV ED film scanner.  Is there more detail here or on the 300mm f2.8 shot?

Now, compare the above with a single Nikon D100 shot with my 300mm f2.8 lens for 120 seconds, no noise reduction in camera:

The D100/300mm lens image (cropped) shows more faint galaxies than the 100 minute plus shot through the scope on film...


Crop from D100 image, full camera resolution (not resized).
Below: Galaxies from 03/02 Starry Nights Trip. 

Above: M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy
Two images, each exposed for about 70 minutes, combined with Images Plus.

Left photos note: Nikon 300mm f2.8 EDIF lens at f2.8.  Lens was mounted on my Losmandy G11 mount using the Losmandy "dual saddle" plate & 125mm rings.  Tracking with Sbig STV autoguider.  Kodak LE 400 print film, Nikon  Coolscan IV ED film scanner.  The frames above are extreme crops, with the usual processing in Photoshop 6.0.

Old M51 Images


Messier Pictures, Images by Dick Locke

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