M51 Whirlpool galaxy

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This is a nice target for small telescopes. The surface luminosity is rather high which makes it comparatively easy to image. It is located in Canes Venatici at a distance of about 30 million light years. It is interacting with the close companion NGC 5195. It is believed that the two galaxies have passed through each other. M51 has a highly active nucleus and is classified as a Seyfert II galaxy. It has a mass that is about 10% of the milky way and a diameter of 76 000 ly.

This galaxy was the first object ever to be seen having a spiral structure, as discovered by Lord Rosse in 1845. It has been extensively studied, and another first for this is galaxy is the discovery of the first known extragalactic exoplanet, which occured in September 2020.

My image was taken with 2 hours exposure time, divided in 25 exposures of 5 min each.

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