M51 NGC 5194 Galaxy ” Whirlpool Galaxy “

M51 NGC 5194 Galaxy
Whirlpool Galaxy M51 NGC 5194

Whirlpool Galaxy M51 NGC 5194

Telescope / Lens TEC 140mm f/7
Mount Type Astrophysics 1200
 Filters Astrodon LRGB
 Film  CCD
 Exposure 185 minutes (3 hours 5 min); LRGB (L=125,RGB=60) 5 min. exposures
 Processing CCDSoft, CCDStack, AIP, Photoshop CS2
 Date  04/20/2009
 Location North Eugene, Oregon (backyard)

Galaxy M51 NGC 5195 “Whirlpool Galaxy”
The Whirlpool Galaxy M51, is located within the constellation Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs), just down 3.5° from the last star of the handle of the Big Dipper (URSA Major).

M51 lies 23 million light years from earth and is viewed by amateurs and professionals alike. Several background galaxies are also visible in the image. The Whirlpool Galaxy M51 (14.2 x 9.5 arc minutes) is interacting with it’s companion Galaxy NGC5195 (8.9 x 7.4 arc minutes). Both galaxies have a magnitude of 8.35 & 9.49 respectfully and are not visible to the unaided eye. The Whirlpool Galaxy is approximately 60,000 light year across. They do show up in good quality binoculars.

Charles Messier discovered M51 on October 13,1773. William Parsons, in 1845, using a 72″ reflecting telescope in Ireland, discovered the Whirlpool Galaxy had a spiral structure.  It was considered a nebula until Edwin Hubble established that these so called nebula were really separate and distinct galaxies by observing Cepheid variables in the early to mid-twentieth century.

Today a good 150mm (6″) telescope can reveal the spiral structure of M51 the Whirlpool Galaxy. Good quality binoculars will show the Whirlpool Galaxy M51a a fussy spot.


The edge-on galaxy lower right is IC 4263 (UGC8470), magnitude 15.7 and 1.8 x 0.4 arcminutes in size, it lies 18 arc minutes South of M51.



M101 NGC 5457 Galaxy

Galaxy M101 NGC 5457
Galaxy M101 (NGC 5457) Pinwheel Galaxy 21 million light years 4 hours 20 min. exposure CCD

M101 Galaxy NGC 5457 Pinwheel Galaxy in Ursa Major

Telescope / Lens TEC 140mm f/7
Mount Type Astro-Physics 1200
Camera ST10XME
 Filters Astro-Don LRGB
 Film  CCD
 Exposure LRGB of 4 hours 20 minutes (L=10x20min.; color 5min. sub-frames) -20° C
 Processing CCDSoft, AIP4Win, CCDStack & Photoshop CS2
 Date 7-25-2009
 Location  Snow Peak, 30 miles SE of Cottage Grove, Oregon
122° 52′ 35″ W 43° 31′ 21″ N
 Conditions 4670′ magnitude 6.0 Skies; Clear & Steady

Galaxy M101 (NGC 5457) is located in the constellation Ursa Major (The Great Bear). This spiral galaxy, also called “The Pinwheel Galaxy”, is magnitude 7.86 and is 28.6′ x 26.5′ in size. This shows up well in medium sized scopes at a dark sky site. Galaxy M101 is 21 million lights years distant & 170,000 light years across with 1 Trillion stars.  Discovered by Charles Messier March 27, 1781.

The longer you image this galaxy, more details continue to surface while arms continue to grow in size.  The hundreds of background galaxies that are visible is astounding.  This is because we are looking out and up from the central region of our own Milky Way Galaxy which obscures our view of space.  I have estimated that some of these background galaxies are 20-50 times more distant.

M 101 is one of the best face-on spirals visible through amateur telescopes.  This galaxy is comparable to the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy.  M101 has 5 prominent companion galaxies: NGC 5204, NGC 5474, NGC 5477, NGC 5585 & Holmberg IV.  The gravitational interaction of these have shaped M101


Comet IkeaZang March 2002

Comet IkeaZang March 1, 2002 South of Veneta, Oregon Dark Sky Site
Canon F1, Tokina 300mm F/2.8,  Piggyback, Takahashi FS78 Guide Guide scope
Losmandy G11, E200 pushed 2 -3
Andromeda Galaxy (M31) to the right, just above trees.



Comet McNaught January 11, 2007

Comet McNaught
Comet McNaught January 11, 2007 (Sunset)
Canon EOS 20D  1/60 sec.  Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8  1600 ISO  Tripod
Snow on the ground +10 degrees Fahrenheit  Hundreds of Canadian Geese in the air
Fern Ridge Reservoir, 7 miles from Eugene, Oregon




Aurora, Leo, Jupiter and Iridium Flare

                                 Aurora, Leo, Jupiter,   Iridium Flare and Meteor ; June19,2004
Telescope / Lens 35mm  f/2 Canon at f/2.8
Mount Type Piggyback on Losmandy G11
Camera Canon F-1 with Bright Screen & Angle B magnifier
 Filters  UV
 Film  Kodak ED200 (Slide Film) Slide #05
 Exposure 120 seconds; manual guiding FS/78
 Processing Pushed, Scanned – 2400 dpi, Photoshop
 Date June 19, 2004
 Location Eagles Rest, south of Dexter, Oregon
 Conditions 2500′ magnitude 6 Skies; Clear, steady