A sweet wide-field Whirlpool Galaxy you won’t forget

Posted by David Eicher
on Thursday, December 20, 2012

The one-of-a-kind Whirlpool Galaxy imaged with a Skywatcher Black Diamond ED 120/765 scope from Austria. // Credit: Patrick Hochleitner and Dieter Beer
The very talented astroimaging team of Patrick Hochleitner and Dieter Beer, who photograph deep-sky objects from their wonderful site in Austria, have produced a stunning image. We’ve all observed the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) in Canes Venatici, one of the sky’s great face-on spirals and a fabulous example of an interacting galaxy pair. The little guy, NGC 5195, is speeding past the Whirlpool and drawing material away from the big galaxy’s main spiral arm.

Patrick and Dieter have produced one of the prettiest wide-field shots I’ve ever seen of the Whirlpool, which lies about 30 million light-years distant. They used a Skywatcher Black Diamond ED 120/765 scope, a Moravian G2 8300 FW+ Alccd6 Pro CCD camera, and stacked exposures through various filters.

What a fantastic shot, and such pictures make me think of seeing old friends in new ways.

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