Messier 51--The Whirlpool Galaxy!

This image is a 56 minute exposure, all combined together. It has been dark-subtracted, flat-fielded, translated to account for clock drive errors, and processed in Iris with a final modified equalization to bring both bright and faint details together. Take a look just below the companion galaxy. See those three faint tendrils? They are plumes of stars and dust thrown out of the galaxy during its interaction with M51. There is also a more distant galaxy visible to the far lower left as a fuzzy dot.

M51, 56minutes.

These images are a combination of 14 images of thirty seconds each. It was moderately hazy in Chicago that night, so there is room for improvement of the signal to noise ratio! I've processed the images in different ways, to highlight various parts of the galaxy pair.

This is a high-contrast version, so fainter detail stands out.

This is an attempt to show both the bright nuclear region and the outlying spiral arms.

Dean W. Armstrong, 29 March 2000

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