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The Whirlpool Galaxy, 


            Matt Harbison

The Whirlpool Galaxy

Imaging telescopes or lenses: William Optics FLT 132 Triplet APO WOFLT132

Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI178MM-Cool

Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach 1 GTO

Guiding telescopes or lenses: Willam Optics 50mm Guidescope

Guiding cameras: Starlight Xpress Lodestar

Focal reducers: Sky-Watcher Skywatcher 0.85x focal reducer

Software: PixInsight  ·  Adobe Photoshop photoshop PS  ·  Sequence Generator Pro

Filters: Baader Filter LRGB 36mm unmounted

Accessory: ATIK Filter Wheel EFW2  ·  Moonlite Crayford Focuser with motor

Dates:May 5, 2016

Frames:Baader Filter LRGB 36mm unmounted: 100x60" -15C bin 1x1

Integration: 1.7 hours

Darks: ~100

Bias: ~100

Avg. Moon age: 28.00 days

Avg. Moon phase: 2.61%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 2.00

Mean FWHM: 2.50

Temperature: 10.00

Basic astrometry details job: 1071719

Resolution: 620x923

Locations: Cloudland Canyon, Trenton, Georgia, United States


The Whirlpool Galaxy


Shot during the new moon of May, M51 resides in the constellation Canes Venatici. The term "Galactic Interaction" seems a bit subtle for the power and energy displayed for all to see. It's two prominent galaxies swirl around each other as two predators circle before entanglement. Billions of years from now, our own Galaxy will suffer the same confrontation with Andromeda.

from wiki:

The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194, is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way, but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million light-years. Messier 51 is one of the best known 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.

Integration Details:

100 x 1min L
100 x 1 min R
100 x 1 min G
100 x 1 min B

100 darks
100 bias
no flat frames acquired

Equipment used:

William Optics 132 FLT
ZWO 178 Mono
ATIK EFW2 Filter wheel
Baader LRGB filters
Lodestar Guidescope
Astro Physics Mach 1 GTO


Captured in Sequence Generator Pro, guided with PHD2, calibrated in Pixinsight with levels adjusted and exported in Photoshop.



The Whirlpool Galaxy, 


            Matt Harbison