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M101

This galaxy was discovered by Pierre Méchain on March 27, 1781. It is almost twice the size of our galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy. A galaxy is considered to be a collection of stars, gas, dust, and dark matter amongst many other things. The distance from our galaxy is 27000 (kly) with a visual brightness of 7.9 magnitude. The constellation that it is found in is Ursa Major. It is considered to be a pinwheel galaxy because the galaxy has arms that spirals out to look like a pinwheel. It is considered to be one of the most prominent "Grand Design spirals in the sky."

M101 also includes a supernova. The suprnova is located toward the bottom of the galaxy. It is a faint blue dot right below a yellow and white dot. They are all in a straight line going up and down. A supernova is a stellar explosion that illuminates the sky. Compare this image to one taken when the supernova was at its maximum. Alternatively, compare with one taken before the supernova outburst (in which the faint blue star is missing).

The picture above is a face on view of the galaxy. This galaxy consists of millions of stars which have formed "arms" which gives it the spiral look. In this galaxy there is a supernova that was found on August 24, 2011. We have been able to see how different it is today compared to when it first exploded over a year ago. The brightness has decreased significantly from when it first exploded, and it will continue to decrease until it is very faint. The supernova brightened to magnitutde 9.9 on September 10, 2011.

References:

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space

Wikipedia - Galaxy

Wikipedia - Pinwheel Galaxy

Wikipedia - Supernova

Right Ascension (J2000) 14:03:07
Declination (J2000) 54:18:25
Filters used B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green)
Exposure time per filter B, V, and R (300s); C (60s x 5)
Date observed October 14, 2012

 

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