Saturday, March 16, 2013

Space interactions

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy and its companion - NGC5195 (click to enlarge)
Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) was one of my birthday night targets. It it placed in Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs) constellation about 23 mln light years from Earth (or Sun, whatever :). It is large interacting spiral galaxy discovered by Charles Messier in 1773. 
Recent simulations bear out, that its companion (NGC5195) caused M51's spiral structure due to passing through the main disk of M51 galaxy about 500 to 600 mln years ago. The picture has been made using standard setup with luminance filter only. Total exposure was 90 minutes while single exposure time was set to 5 minutes. 
When you enlarge the picture you will notice some other very faint galaxies in the field. One of them is above the 'bridge' that connects M51 and its companion. Its symbol is IC4278 and no red shift was yet determined for this galaxy, so no exact distance was yet calculated. However quite probable value can be around 650 mln light years away. So that long the light travelled from IC4278 galaxy to be finally captured in my device. Nice catch :)

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