The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) and it's companion (M51A) are a beautiful example of interacting galaxies.  In fact, the
spiral structure of M51 is the direct result of their gravitational encounter.  The Whirlpool galaxy is a distance of 23
million LY from our solar system and approximately 1/2 the size of our Milky Way Galaxy.  It is the first galaxy in
which spiral structure was identified.  Located in the constellation Canes Venatici, it is the largest member of a small
group of galaxies which includes M63, the Sunflower Galaxy.

January 17, 2010
14" Meade LX200 f/6.3
Canon Digital Rebel 500D / Modified (Hutech)
80 Minutes / 16x300s @ 800ASA
Orion StarShoot AutoGuider
Skyhawk Observatory, West Bend, WI
Rick Kazmierski

Messier 51

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