M51 Whirlpool Galaxy

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy


Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)


May 3, 2013 (RGB) and June 15, 2013 (Luminance)


Telescope: Takahashi Sky 90II with F/4.5 reducer/flattener

Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM w/ CFW9v2 (Astronomik HaLRGB)

Autoguider: Orion Starshoot

Guidescope: Orion 80mm Shorty

Mount: Celestron CG-5 Mount

Exposure Info:

L: 7 x 5 min

R: 3 x 3 min (2×2 binned)

G: 3 x 3 min (2×2 binned)

B: 3 x 3 min (2×2 binned)

Total Exposure Time: 1 hour 2 minutes


Maxim DL 5.23, Photoshop CS6

Notes: It was a very nice night to shoot M51 on May 3rd 2013. I was set up for a much longer exposure but my tracking failed about 1/4 of the way into the session but I did not catch it. I ended up with only 9 usable RGB images. I shot the Luminance filter on June 15th and combined the images from both nights. I still think this is a cool Galaxy to shoot so I will try again some day when I can get more data.

Object Info

The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194) is an interactinggrand-design spiral galaxy that is estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way Galaxyin the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous 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.

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