Whirlpool galaxy now and two centuries ago

2013-05-05-m51

Whirlpool Galaxy already has been presented in my blog (see Space interactions) but it was B&W image of luminance only exposed for 90 minutes. Last night I spent some more time on this object and gathered some more photons. The picture above is LRGB composition image (click for larger view). Luminance has total exposure time of 160 minutes unbinned. Each of RGB channels was exposed for 30 minutes with binning set to 2. The sky was not perfect – some haze and high clouds were present, but seeing conditions were decent, so the picture is quite detailed.
Whirlpool galaxy and its companion NGC5195 are placed in Canes Venatici constellation and are about 23 million light years away and this distance increases with 463km every second. This duet can be spotted using binoculars under dark sky. It has been discovered in 1773 by Charles Messier and then in 1845 has been observed by Lord Rosse using his 72 inches diameter telescope. Here is his original drawing of this object:

rosseg-44-drawing

You can see this drawing is quite detailed, however has been made using twelve times larger instrument than my pictures 🙂

Clear skies!

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