M51, Whirlpool Galaxy in Canes Venatici

 

(Click on image for full size version)

 

Description: The Whirlpool Galaxy is the brighter member of this pair with NGC5195 being the galaxy to the right (north).  At a distance of 37 million light years, M51 is thought to have acquired its pronounced spiral shape from its current interaction with its neighbor, NGC5195.
  
Exposure Data: 5/6/2003.  LRGB: 18x10m, 3x10m, 3x10m, 3x10m. RGB binned 2x2. 
-10C, 0.49 arc-sec./pixel.
 
Processing: Acquired via Sequencer in Maxim, reduced and aligned in Mira. double size, Sigma Reject combine, gradient removal and RGB combine in Maxim. Lum 20 iterations of RL in AIP4WIN. LRGB assembly and other adjustments in Photoshop.
 
Optical System: 12.5 Ritchey-Chretien @ F/9, ST-10XME NABG/CFW-8A CCD camera, Paramount ME.  Luminance AO7 guided, RGB autoguided.
 
Comments: Didn't get enough color date before the clouds rolled in.  Compare to this version at 1.0 arc-sec/pixel taken a year ago.