M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Object Messier 51, is a classic spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici (hunting dog). It is one of the best-known spiral galaxies in the sky. The famous “Whirlpool galaxy” or Messier 51 is one of the most conspicuous and well-known spiral galaxies in the sky.

This galaxy of dazzling beauty was one of Charles Messier’s original discoveries; since, he found it during the night of October 13, 1773, while observing a comet, and described it as “a very faint nebula without stars that is difficult to see.” However, here it must be mentioned that the “companion” galaxy of “Messier 51” known as “Messier 51B”, was discovered several years after Charles Messier’s observation, and to be more precise during the night of March 21, 1781, by his friend and disciple Pierre Méchain, so it is mentioned in Messier’s catalog of 1781, and not before that date, as follows: “it is double, and each has a bright center, but they are separated. The two “atmospheres” touch each other, one being even more tenuous than the other.

Image obtained from the Anunaki Observatory

According to our current knowledge, the pronounced spiral structure is the result of M51’s current encounter with its neighboring galaxy, M51B. Due to this double interaction of galaxies, the galaxy’s gas was altered and compressed in some regions, which favored the formation of new young stars. And as is common in galactic encounters, the spiral structure is preferentially induced in the most massive galaxy. M51 is easy to distinguish, and it is perceived if the sky is dark towards the stars of the constellation of “Los Perros de Caza” or “Lebreles”,5 but because it is a very distant galaxy, it is quite sensitive to light pollution that makes it easily fade into the background.

Acquisition details:

Baader Blue (CMOS-Optimized) 36 mm: 20×300,″(1h 40′)
Baader Green (CMOS-Optimized) 36 mm: 20×300,″(1h 40′)
Baader H-alpha 6.5nm (CMOS-Optimized) 36 mm: 30×900,″(7h 30′)
Baader Red (CMOS-Optimized) 36 mm: 20×300,″(1h 40′)
Baader UV/IR CUT Luminance (CMOS Optimized) 36 mm: 120×300,″(10h)
Time integration:
22h 30′